Would it re­ally pay you to move to Ver­mont?

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE - Dick Yar­brough

My daddy used to say we were wast­ing money in Ge­or­gia paint­ing a cen­ter line down our high­ways. No­body ever went north. They all came down here to live so they could make fun of how we talk. Well, thanks to the state of Ver­mont, that may be chang­ing.

Ver­mont, which is lo­cated some­where up around Canada, re­cently passed a law that would pay folks up to $10,000 over two years to move there. They say there are too many old peo­ple in Ver­mont, their tax base is shrink­ing and they want to get younger peo­ple there be­fore all the old geezers die off.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Ver­mont Hous­ing Fi­nance Agency, pre­dic­tions are that one quar­ter of the state’s pop­u­la­tion will be 65 or older by 2030; a 13 per­cent jump from 2006.

“The only so­lu­tion is to bring more peo­ple here, be­cause through nat­u­ral child­birth we won’t get there,” says Adam Gri­nold, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Brat­tle­boro De­vel­op­ment Credit Cor­po­ra­tion.” It is a known fact that geezers are gen­er­ally past their prime when it comes to mak­ing ba­bies and I as­sume the cur­rent crop of Ver­mont pre-geezers would rather spend their time ski­ing.

The new law has $125,000 in the bud­get for 2019, in­creases to $250,000 in 2020 and then back to $125,000 in 2021.

There are strings at­tached, of course, beyond be­ing able to find the place on the map. Ver­mont is very tiny, about 9,600 square miles. By con­trast, the Great State of Ge­or­gia — the largest state east of the Mississippi River — is roughly 58,000 square miles. I don’t know this for a fact but I sus­pect we have farms in south Ge­or­gia that are larger than Ver­mont.

In or­der to qual­ify for the money, you must be a full-time em­ployee of an out-of-state com­pany and work from home or a co-lo­cated space in Ver­mont. You also must also be­come a full-time res­i­dent of the state af­ter Jan­uary 2019, and you must take Bernie San­ders se­ri­ously. (Not even for $10,000 could I do that.) Ac­cord­ing to Ver­mont of­fi­cials, no more than 25 peo­ple will be able to re­ceive the grant in 2019.

Look­ing at the pos­i­tive side, 25 peo­ple would be a nice uptick for Ver­mont. It is the sec­ond small­est pop­u­lated state in the coun­try with some 630,000 peo­ple. Even Rhode Is­land has more peo­ple than that. I would think it would be em­bar­rass­ing to get beaten by Rhode Is­land.

The Great State of Ge­or­gia is the na­tion’s eighth largest state with some 10.5 mil­lion res­i­dents. That is be­cause we have a lot of pre-geezers in Ge­or­gia who would rather make ba­bies than ski and we don’t have to pay peo­ple to move here. A lot come un­in­vited be­cause it doesn’t snow 10 months a year here and all of our build­ings aren’t rusted.

Be­fore you start get­ting ex­cited about mov­ing to Ver­mont, you need to know this: The Univer­sity of Ver­mont does not field a foot­ball team. Can you imag­ine not sit­ting with 100,000 of your clos­est friends on a cool, crisp Satur­day af­ter­noon in the Clas­sic City of the South, Athens, Ge­or­gia, home of the old­est state- char­tered univer­sity in the na­tion, cheer­ing on our beloved Red- and- Black? What are you go­ing to do in Ver­mont on a Satur­day af­ter­noon in the fall? Look at red and orange leaves all day? Gag me with a spoon.

While Ver­mont has so few souls that they are try­ing to pay peo­ple to live there, Ge­or­gia has a bunch we could give them for free. For ex­am­ple, if you can’t pro­nounce Tali­a­ferro County cor­rectly, you don’t be­long here. Same with Hous­ton County, Vi­enna and Cairo. If you don’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween a Sweet Vi­dalia onion and an or­di­nary Al­lium cepa, you are not one of us.

If you don’t get down­right teary- eyed when you hear Ray Charles Robin­son, of Al­bany, Ge­or­gia, sing our sa­cred state song, “Ge­or­gia on my Mind,” you came from some­place else and should go back there pronto.

If “y’all” sounds like a sailing ves­sel to you and you think “fix­ing to” means you are about to re­pair some­thing in­stead of pre­par­ing to do some­thing, you could go back where you came from and not be missed. Bless your heart.

I wish lit­tle Ver­mont much luck in their ef­forts to fi­nan­cially in­duce peo­ple to live there. As for me, I am Ge­or­giaborn and Ge­or­gia-bred. And you sure don’t have to pay me to live here. Be­ing a Ge­or­gian is price­less.

You can reach Dick Yar­brough at dick@ dick­yarbrough.com; at P. O. Box 725373, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, 31139 or on Face­book at www. face­book.com/dick­yarb.

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