Dame: Progressive Dems threaten shutdown

Without Prog support, Dem leadership may lack time to pass acceptable budget by July 1

by Paul Dame, Vermont GOP Chair

Democrats may find that the defining moment of their super majority may be the first government shutdown Vermont has seen in generations.  Despite passing the largest budget in the history of the state, weighing in at over $8.5 Million, the Progressive wing of Vermont’s Democratic party are suddenly asking for even more. Governor Scott vetoed that budget, citing a budget surplus, and a poor economic outlook for the next year as reasons Vermonter cannot afford new taxes and higher fees.  In addition, the Governor and his Republican allies thought it more prudent to take advantage of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage Vermont dollars at a 3-to-1 or even 12-to-1 ratio to improve our aging public infrastructure for roads and wastewater treatment.

“If Democrats let the Progressive wing push them around into letting their own unilateral budget fail less than a month after it was passed, it would require the House & Senate to draft a new multi-billion dollar budget in one week.  But even if a new budget is turned around in just a few days, the Governor gets another 5 days to review it.  And if the new budget goes even further to the left of the last unsustainable budget that Gov. Scott vetoed, a second veto would be on its way, which could very easily get us to June 30 with two vetoed budgets. – Paul Dame, GOP chair

Just over a month ago there was a consensus that the hotel voucher program was not the best use of the state’s resources, and the House & Senate leaders agreed to end.  Spending nearly $8 Million dollars per month on just 1800 households with no exit plan just simply wasn’t sustainable.  At least that’s what Democrats thought last month.  But now Vermont Democrats appear all too ready to allow the tail to wag the dog in their super majority and do an about face. 

In surprising contrast, Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy also working with a divided government, was willing to go against the extreme of his party, to put our nation on a path that took into account the fiscal realities that we are facing, and worked out a deal to work with the opposing party, despite their differences in vision.  Meanwhile back in Vermont, Democrats have taken the exact opposite approach, not only refusing to work with a usually cooperative and overwhelmingly popular Republican Governor, but instead moving the goal posts even further away from compromise, cooperation and common sense.  And now the fickle and unstable super majority is putting the creditworthiness of the state of Vermont in danger to appease their far left activist base. 

If Democrats let the Progressive wing push them around into letting their own unilateral budget fail less than a month after it was passed, it would require the House & Senate to draft a new multi-billion dollar budget in one week.  But even if a new budget is turned around in just a few days, the Governor gets another 5 days to review it.  And if the new budget goes even further to the left of the last unsustainable budget that Gov. Scott vetoed, a second veto would be on its way, which could very easily get us to June 30 with two vetoed budgets because Democrats care more about their base than governing responsibly towards the middle.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Democrat leaders can take a different path by doing things the way that Vermonters want to see them get accomplished: through cooperation, not compulsion.  House Democrats could work with Governor Scott, and House Republicans to pass a budget that Vermonters can afford.  If Democrats would be willing to scale back their untimely and unprecedented experiments in new government programs, remove the new taxes and fee increases that none of their voters asked for, and make one or two concessions to major Republican policy goals, like repealing the tax on military pensions, or more importantly including the needed Act 250 reforms that were stripped from the housing bill, there might be enough support to pass the budget without the votes from the far-left Progressives.  This would put forward a budget that the Governor could sign confidently before the July 1st fiscal year starts avoiding the Progressive path to brinkmanship.  It would also put our state on a more fiscally responsible path for this year, but also the Act 250 reforms would begin to address the housing supply problems that are the underlying cause for so many of our problems with homelessness.

The Democrat party of twenty years ago might have considered such a path forward.  But many worry that the Vermont Democrat party of today left that orbit a long time ago.  Everything they have showed thus far is that their fundraising strategy requires them to alienate Governor Scott, and refuse to work with him.  Since they have routinely issued press releases calling Republicans fascists, they have painted themselves into a corner where they can’t govern in a way that includes perspectives outside their party’s own.  And the sad reality is that their go-it-alone approach to fixing the homeless issue will simply be to throw more money at it, without addressing this underlying cause, or making the structural changes.  Many have already forgotten that we are repeating history from 2013 when the Democrats in control of the House, Senate & Governor’s office all bungled the last transition off of an expanded and unsustainable hotel voucher program.  If Democrats go their own way we may see history repeat itself again and again before the next 10 years.

The author is an Essex Junction resident and chair of the Vermont Republican Party.

Categories: Commentary

4 replies »

  1. First let me acknowledge that Paul Dame defeated me when I ran for VTGOP State Chair one and a half years ago by a two to one margin.
    Let me also clarify that I was the Chittenden County Platform Delegate, who along with others was responsible for writing the VTGOP Platform. One of my initiatives was to introduce an Amendment to the Platform which would have given the membership the vote to remove all endorsement and support from any candidate that did not adhere to the VTGOP Platform. This was defeated twice.
    One of the reasons Dame’s Big Tent brought in Liam Madden, who openly slandered the Republican Party. And the reason I left the VTGOP, they did not represent me.

    Phil Scott has violated the VTGOP Platform many times, none greater than his support for planned parenthood and much of the marxist agenda to slaughter babies in the womb, destroy children of every age sexually, chemically, physically and psychologically with his support of Prop 5, Article 22 and now H89.

    Phil Scott’s refusal to define the word Woman has had a profound affect on the VT Principals Association and caused great harm to girls in VT schools.
    Positions also supported by Benning, Parent, and the 24 VT transrepublican State Representatives who voted for H89.
    Just as I have called out every one of these people who have betrayed every Conservative Vermonter, I have specifically called out Dame, Rules Committee Chair Koch and National Committee Man Shepard.
    Each of them has chosen to support Scott, Benning and the 24 who betrayed the VTGOP Platform.
    In fact, they all supported Christina Nolan as well, who stated multiple times she supported abortion thru the 2nd Trimester and would have fought to codify Roe V Wade had she been elected.
    Approximately 1200 babies annually are aborted in VT. At this point less than 1% in the 3rd Trimester.
    Despite the fact that Nolan stated she would defend 12 babies a year, Dame, Koch, Shepard and many in the VTGOP supported her.
    The language in the VTGOP Platform is clear ; We respect life from the moment of conception to natural death.

    But that is simply an inconvenience to Dame, Koch, Shepard et all.

    Once again though, Dame champions Scott as being so incredibly popular. What he fails to mention, time after time, is that Scott receives between 60 – 70% support from the democrats.
    Why wouldn’t he ? He is their greatest asset. Gun grabbing, baby killing and signed into law the States Right to take your child regardless of your will. In fact criminalizing the parents and any health care worker who would fight to protect the child from the sexual predators. While protecting anyone who provides an abortion to the moment of birth. Anyone, with or without a Medical License.
    Gives a whole new meaning to Chop Shop doesn’t it ?

    Mr. Dame speaks up to protect your wallet from the marxist in the Legislature.
    Babies in the womb and children, ‘eh not so much.

  2. The reason the progressives are feeling their oats and trying leverage a budget crisis into more money for homeless (and all their other programs) is that by any measure, their tactics have worked on almost all of their other priorities. They got through all the big (radical) social issues because they knew Scott would not stand up for any conservative principle on social issues. And they’ve been successful in overriding Scott’s veto as necessary. Even if there’s a govt shutdown and they have to do some brinksmanship they know that the don’t need to convince any Republicans to help them, they just need to play hardball with their more moderate Dem colleagues who will surely cave before long. So why shouldn’t they play for the highest possible stakes? They will just need their friends in the local (socialist) media to publish a few hardship stories showing how heartless the government is being and they will get their way. And we will get to wonder why we bother electing a Republican governor if all we do is lose out on all major policy issues – either by surrender or by superior brinksmanship. If it were up to me I would prefer a smaller tent that stands on principle than a big tent that stands for nothing. If you stand for nothing no one wants to join you. If you stand for something maybe you can start to win peoples’ hearts and minds over time.

    • If you can’t stand up for something, you will surely fall for anything. We live in the idiot apocalypse times. The democrats let these progressives steel their party. This is not your grandfather’s or your father’s democrat party. JFK could not be elected as a democrat today.

  3. The VTGOP is suffering an identity crisis. The VT Dem/Progs are facing backlash and shame-faced because of The Biden regime, rising death rates and increasing poverty among their voter base. The left/right paradigm is shifting and shaking. The establishment vs. the People. RFK, Jr. and Trump throwing wrenches into the machine is exposing the agendas and corruption on both sides. No amount of chicken dancing and finger wagging will save any of them from the boomerang incoming full force.