Friday, February 01, 2019

Vermont, losing too many residents, wants to pay out-of-staters $5,000 each to move there and take a local job

Vermont's governor recently announced a straightforward plan to bring in more residents to the state, the third-most rural in the nation: pay them cold, hard cash.

Gov. Phil Scott told state lawmakers at his annual budget address last week that Vermont is losing too many residents, and that he plans to pay out-of-staters $5,000 to move to Vermont and take any local job, regardless of the industry. "Mike Schirling, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, told the committee Friday that the agency wants to expand funding for recruiting out-of-staters to $1 million for Fiscal Year 2020, and a million in Fiscal Year 2021," Anne Allen reports for VTDigger.

The plan is a step up from the one that made international headlines last summer, when the state government announced a plan to reimburse out-of-staters $1,000 to move to Vermont and work remotely, Allen reports.

But some state lawmakers complained that that plan only helped out-of-state businesses. Thus, the new plan. In addition to the $2 million earmarked for targeted marketing and recruitment, the plan budgets $500,000 for "relocation agents" at the state Department of Labor to help out-of-staters find jobs, housing and more, Allen reports.

"The decline of Vermont’s working-age population is a pressing concern for the administration," Allen reports. "According to Scott’s office, there are 23,000 fewer people in Vermont under age 20 now than there were in 2000, and nearly 30,000 more Vermonters who are over 65 than there were in 2000. The unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in December. Economists have said the shortage is suppressing economic growth."

"We simply need more people helping to pay the bills," Scott said in his budget address.

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