The survey of 1200 businesses found that overregulation and an increase in minimum wage also are hindering economic growth.
"Sixty-nine percent of the respondents reported that difficulty in finding qualified employees is a "top three" problem for them, compared to 57.2% who said so in 2016. Thirty-seven percent placed high Vermont taxes on their top three list compared to 57.2% in the 2016 survey. High property taxes is a major concern for 27.3% of the 140 respondents and 14.3% said a proposed increase in the minimum wage is a major problem for them.
Vermont lawmakers have passed legislation that would increase the current $10.78 minimum wage to $12.55 by 2022. Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the legislation; the Senate has voted to override, but the House had not yet voted at press time. Also on the 2020 problem list are sources of financing (5.7% of the respondents); overtime compensation changes (1.4%); federal taxes (12.9%); property taxes/education funding (5.7%) and housing (11.5%). The number of business owners concerned about succession planning increased significantly from 16.6% in 2016 to 20.8% in 2020.
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