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The -Almost- End of Session Legislative Report: Another Midnight Surprise from the Governor

We haven’t seen a Governor act like this before . Once again, while remaining distant from the process through the legislative session, Gov.Scott, again came in with a last minute proposal to the budget process.

Not sure what to compare these actions to, but I’ll try…
At the Boston Marathon several years ago a woman in running garb, named Rosie Ruiz, snuck out of the sideline of onlookers a few miles from the finish line. She was ahead of any other woman in the pack and finished the race, with arms raised, as the winner. A short time later an easy investigation confirmed that she was an imposter who jumped in at the last minute.

That’s the best I can do to describe the Governor’s action on the Budget this year.
With the Legislative session almost over the Governor once again brought forth a last minute plan to “supposedly ” save $33m M in a $5.5 Billion dollar budget. Rightfully so Democrats are saying, “not so fast,” especially when it comes to the “fuzzy math” in his proposal,. That’s because the “savings” are actually the kind you get using a credit card to pay for your electric or food bill. You might save money today but you sure pay for it when that credit card bill coms due.

While the Governor has been sitting out most of this Legislative session (except for the Gun Safety bills), Democrats have been busy trying hard all session to off-set the chaos coming from Washington and Vermont.

As the White House increased the income gap between highest earners and everyone else, in Vermont we strove to build an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy few. The Legislature passed an increase to the Minimum Wage, Paid Family Leave and eliminating the tax for Social Security recipients who make less than $60k/ year. Democrats worked for an environment that addresses the global challenge of global warming. We passed a bill to address systemic racism in Vermont. And, we recognized our schools for doing great work for our kids – saying our schools don’t deserve to be the Governor’s scapegoat for blaming high taxes on.
More so, we trusted our local communities to make school decisions that are right for them, balancing fiscal responsibility with a quality education for our children. And, when they brought budgets in lower that than suggested by the Governor we said, good job.

The Governor’s reaction? Not good enough, as he tried to move the finish line after schools crossed the one established earlier.
Now, the Governor wants to dictate to local school boards a Forced Student -Staff Ratio plan on all schools, even though there is no evidence to support the numbers the Administration is insisting upon. Bottom line is, this is as bad an idea as the Governor’s private prison plan that we rejected.

We worked time after time to have a partner in Government, but time after time the Governor declined. Here’s just a few bills we passed and the Governor’s response:

Protecting children from Chemicals in consumer products.
Protecting families from falling further behind by increasing the minimum wage.
Protecting families from lost work or wages because of a sick child or parent.
Providing appropriations for running of Government.

The list is longer, but I think you get the point. Veni, Vidi , Veto is not a governance plan. It IS a formula for destroying government – which seems to be mirroring the chaos that’s coming out of the White House.

We will keep trying to work together, but it seems more and more like the policies we are seeing in Washington that cause concern, are showing up in Vermont. That’s not the way to run a government that people depend on to provide basics like roads, bridges, schools, and health care.

Vermonters deserve better. It’s our quality of life that defines Vermont, and putting people first is how we’ll maintain that quality of life.
People over profit.
People before Politics.
People first.

There’s more work to do, and Democrats will keep pushing to move Vermont ahead.
We want to keep our quality of life in Vermont, and move into a better future for us and generations to come; building a strong , healthy Vermont.