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 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 Georgia-born and Georgia-bred. And you sure don’t have to pay me to live here. Being a Georgian is priceless.
Dick Yarbrough is a syndicated humor columnist from Georgia. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.