Pension vote spurs political threat from the left for Democrats

By Guy Page

The Vermont AFL-CIO is calling state employees and teacher unions to strike over the Vermont House’s March 26 rejection of a wealth tax to bail out the public pension deficit. 

Vermont’s largest and arguably most left-leaning union is making a political issue of the House vote against the unions’ plan to bail out the pension by taxing the wealthy. AFL-CIO president David Van Deusen said April 1: “this wealth tax (which would compel the richest 1.45% of Vermonters making more than half a million dollars a year to pay a modest 3% more in taxes)….. failed on the floor with only 21 in favor and 125 against.”

A House plan would reduce the growing, multi-billion dollar pension shortfall through pension plan requirements and benefits considered painful by the unions. Some House members said the proposed ‘wealth tax’ amendment to H436, a miscellaneous tax bill, was introduced at the proverbial last minute and had not undergone thorough scrutiny. Only Progressives and a handful of progressive Democrats voted in favor. 

In response, teachers and state employees unions have called a picket at the State House 11 am Saturday April 3. The legislators aren’t actually at the State House and therefore will not have to “cross the picket line” to get to work. 

The AFL-CIO says the Vermont NEA and the Vermont State Employees Association should take two steps further. First, refuse to support Democratic candidates who opposed the wealth tax.  Second, go on strike. 

Leave the Democratic Party: “Both these Unions have continuously provided them political cover as they [Democrats] again and again failed to adequately advance a pro-worker, pro-Union agenda.  And now those same politicians believe there is little to no price to be paid for screwing the very workers who’s Unions have time and again supported them.”  AFL-CIO urges backing Progressive Party candidates: “polite Statehouse lobbying and support for the liberal status quo is failing to deliver for workers and for unions.”

Strike: “Second, the VSEA and NEA would be wise to immediately coordinate a plan of mass public action aimed at tipping the scales in favor of workers on the pension issue.  And when and if such a plan is implemented, the Vermont AFL-CIO will be prepared to lend our full support and cooperation (as an attack on one is an attack on all)….Strikes and direct action work.”

Categories: Legislation

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8 replies »

  1. Vermonters are apparently quite ok with the legislature being owned by the democrat party and the Vermont democrat party being owned by the public-sector unions VTNEA and VSEA. There is no room for debate in such a political monopoly. We get what we vote for and what we have now is $10,000 owed to this failing pension system by EVERY VERMONTER. Jill Krowinski’s “reform” efforts were nothing more than window dressing. This former lobbyist for Planned parenthood has no intention of killing the golden goose of the public sector unions which take millions of dollars of taxpayer money of union member wages and launder them into their party in the form of campaign contributions. It’s a sick, disgusting system that a majority of Vermonters vote for every time. Elections have consequences.

    • Funny thing, as it is:

      Overall, the top 25 percent of taxpayers paid 86.1 percent of all individual income taxes.

      Overall, the top 50 percent of taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes.

      Meanwhile, total U.S. tax revenues increased by an average of $161 Billion every year for the last ten years, from $2.10 Trillion per year in 2010, to $3.71 Trillion per year in 2020.

      Could it be that the problem is spending, not taxing the wealthy more and more?

      The National debt was $27,974,542,476,000 when I began writing this sentence. By the time I post this comment, a few minutes from now, the debt will have increased about $40,000,000.

      If you confiscated everything (I repeat, everything) the top 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. own, folks like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk and the 395 other less wealthy people on the list, you’d get about $3.2 Trillion – enough to run the U.S. government for about 8 months.

      And some think taxing the wealthy even more will fix everything? Clearly, they can’t ‘Go Figure’.

      • Here’s another sample of financial relativity.

        If I borrowed one million dollars and agreed to pay it back, interest free, at a rate of $1 per second, 24/7, until the loan was paid, it would take 12 days to pay off the loan.

        If I borrowed one billion dollars under the same terms, it would take 31 years to pay the loan.

        If I borrowed one trillion dollars under the same terms, it would take 317 centuries to pay the loan.

  2. Yes, please strike. Show the legislature you mean business. Show all of Vermont how your system works, how union dues fund cooperative legislators campaign funds. Show us how the people you select to receive your union support have ignored the pension problem for decades, while legislators you oppose have warned of the very problem you cause, for decades.
    While your striking, why not also adopt strategies from California- No Union worker or teacher should return to work until there is a $15.00 minimum wage. Until there is increased taxes on all the “wealthy”. Demand Racial equity and a minimum income. Go for it all, now.
    Paralyze State government and public education. Show us how important you are.
    I’m sure we will get along just fine without you and your unions.

  3. If you strike, I hope the tool in the Governor’s Mansion has the testicular fortitude to do as President Reagan did with the air traffic controllers and toss them out on their butts.

  4. Vermont has the Best for THEM ,the Government that THEIR money can buy .IF they should strike, After 3 days off, Tell them they will have to have DOCTORS slip verifying their ILLNESS. IF no note, they will be considered having QUIT their position. Then Hire new staff. at a reduced salary.

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