The current administration in Vermont continues to call out a demographic crisis saying that the state has an insufficient number of workers and that reality threatens our economic progress. The knee jerk response of the administration so far has been to pay people with our tax dollars to stimulate them to move here to work.
Of course, at the same time, the administration opposes increases in the minimum wage, a worker-funded paid leave program and acts tough at the bargaining table with the Vermont State Employees’ Association with regards to wages and benefits for state workers, even with our most highly skilled staff.
In all of this rhetoric being pumped out at us, there seems to be a point in the discussion missing. When economists - of all political stripes - talk about people relocating, they say things like, “Most often it's for jobs, higher pay or a desire to retire elsewhere,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
There seems to be a contradiction in the administrations positions. If higher wages move people toward those higher wages and Vermont needs workers, what is the problem with a higher minimum wage and a health and consumer safety provision like an employee-funded paid leave program so workers can take care of their families?
For all the heartburn people feel about political misrepresentations, one of the high acid intakes fanning my heartburn right now is hearing and presumably being expected to swallow contradictions like this one offered by the Scott administration: Let's pay a taxpayer-funded bounty to attract workers, but oh no we can't endorse higher wages and better working conditions.