Scott: storm clouds loom in 2023 Legislature

Big tax bills will burden Vermonters

by Gov. Phil Scott

Town Meeting week is not only a good time to get involved in local politics, but also check in on what’s going on in State government.

In January, I presented my budget to the Legislature and my priorities haven’t changed. In fact, they haven’t changed much at all since I first ran for governor. I still believe it’s important to focus on the fundamentals, work together to find practical solutions, and follow through to finish what we started.

One thing that has changed over the last three years, is the billions in federal recovery aid we’re receiving. This – coupled with historic state surpluses due to responsible budgeting – has given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fund our obligations and invest in addressing challenges we’ve faced for decades. If we do this right, we’ll restore the vitality of left-behind communities, help people get ahead and let them keep more of what they earn.

But we know the federal money won’t last forever – and when it does dry up, even the Legislature’s economist predicts a downturn. So instead of spending on programs we won’t be able to afford in the years ahead, we must invest in initiatives that put us in a stronger economic and fiscal position to generate more dollars in the future, rather than raise taxes.

After last year’s election, there was a lot of talk about a super majority of Democrats and Progressives in the Legislature, but this is nothing new. What’s been overlooked is the real majority: More than half the Legislature serves towns with less than 1,000 people – small, underserved communities who desperately need our help. And as Governor, I represent all of them. So regardless of party, they should be our priority.

Real transformation requires us to lift up the regions that have been left behind. That’s why the budget I proposed would expand economic growth to more areas of the state and strengthen our very foundation. We’re focused on the basics – housing; water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure; high-speed internet; small businesses; the workforce; and health and safety – because these are the sparks that ignite revitalization. We’ve invested historic amounts in these areas, and the budget I proposed this year follows through on this strategic approach.

Right now, there’s still a lot of common ground, like housing. But there are also storm clouds on the horizon.

Before leaving for Town Meeting break, the Legislature passed the Budget Adjustment Act, which is supposed to take care of things that can’t wait until the next fiscal year. In this one bill, they spent about $50 million more than I proposed. This is concerning because they haven’t told us what they’ll cut in the full budget to pay for it.

The Legislature is also considering bills – many cited as top priorities – that could add hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for everyday Vermonters. This includes adding a payroll tax for paid leave that may cost workers and employers about $100 million a year. They’re also considering increasing a whole host of taxes to pay for a childcare proposal advocates say requires $279 million a year. Then there’s the so-called “Affordable Heat Act,” which just passed the Senate, and we estimate could cost $2 billion dollars in total with Vermonters seeing heating bills rise by at least 70 cents per gallon and/or needing to pay thousands in upfront costs to transition to cleaner heat.

I’ve proposed alternatives to each of these priorities without raising taxes and fees, including a voluntary family leave programtripling the State’s annual investment in childcare to help thousands more families; and a more effective way to plan for a transition to cleaner heat. We can do all of this without asking those who can least afford it to pay more.

Elected officials need to remember that the decisions we make during these volatile and inflationary times have real life consequences on people who can’t carry more financial burden. And because the silent majority are at work, trying to make ends meet, they’re counting on us to protect them and their pocketbooks. Town Meeting week is a chance for Vermonters to remind us of that, so we can finish this legislative session with a clear focus on the needs of our communities, not our political parties.

Phil Scott is Governor of Vermont and resides in Berlin.

Categories: Commentary

13 replies »

  1. Yeah Federal money is tax dollars from us as well. You and your insanity under COVID and vaccine loving anti science. Your closet Democrat. Can’t wait till the day your gone. At least if they vote in a Democrat that says that’s what he is everyon will know up front.
    We will never forget you seeling is down the river on gun control and begging Biden for more federal gun control. The problem is politicians that are brain dead not guns.

    Funny us property tax players got so screwed during COVID with our towns raising prices on services and we get not one PENNY of help. Lyndon got a bunch of money instead of giving the town back 67k they lost during coid and reducing our rates back $40, no there looking at a snow making machine for a place that doesn’t hold snow. I highly recommend to all the young people I know to get out of little California. You and Newsome are twins.

  2. If we simply returned to being an independent Republic we wouldn’t have to deal with this pitting US empire against the people.

  3. Hey Governor, maybe if you didn’t give millions of our Tax dollars to planned parenthood and crushed small businesses with your illegal and unconstitutional mandates the State would be better off.
    Maybe if you didn’t steal $2 Million form the program to protect VT Children at risk from domestic abuse and $3 Million from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to give to illegal aliens because they weren’t eligible for Stimulus checks more Vermonters could have been helped. Maybe even some lives saved.
    Maybe if you didn’t spend $800,000 to put up warning signs on our State Highways and Interstates warning people about the Plandemic and then another $800,000 to take them down Vermonts homeless population could have been helped.
    Maybe if you didn’t send Blackmail money to school districts with high jab rates while withholding money from school districts where Parents chose not to have their children injected with experimental and non effective poisons, Vermont families could have been helped.
    Maybe if you didn’t allow Donovan to use 19 State Employees and State Facilities to write illegal Laws for planned parenthood Vermont babies would have been saved.
    Maybe if you stood up to Baruth, Sears and the other marxist gun grabbers the State would save massive amounts of instead of allowing them to write redundant and unconstitutional Bills the State could actually use this money for something to help Vermonters.
    But you not only allow this things to happen, you are complicit.
    How much money and State resources were spent on responding to the called in threats to VT schools ?

    Maybe instead of patting yourself on the back you should put some money into actually protecting VT Students, Faculty and Staff.
    Our Schools need armed and trained Security, Metal Detectors and locked entrances and exits. But that would actually prevent a psycho from attacking defenseless people. Not on the agenda ‘eh ?
    And who could forget you asking school children to Rat out their Parents for having Grandma over for Thanksgiving and Christmas ?

    One more time, since you are not a Republican, pull a Jeffords and make it official.

    • Jim Sexton the keyboard warrior strikes again.
      Why don’t you do something instead of complaining? Are you still reeling over losing to Dame 2-1? Is it easier writing time wasting theses to this insular community than looking in the mirror and realizing your words and ideas are disliked by the vast majority of Vermonters? Maybe you relish in spreading ideas that will never be supported because it lets you be a permanent victim?

      I’m sure it’s all of the above. Scott doesn’t need to leave the VTGOP but people like you sure should.

      • Take your shots Chris, I left the VTGOP because they stand for nothing.
        How about instead of directing your comments to me, you dispute anything I write about.
        If you support Scott that is your choice. I don’t care if 99% of Vermonters don’t like my words. I will always fight for the unborn and the children.
        Anyone that looks at his record can see he isn’t a republican and he has betrayed every Pro Life Constitutional Conservative in Vt.
        I am not a victim of anything.
        I don’t remember seeing you in the Statehouse fighting against the illegal and unconstitutional Bills.
        I don’t remember seeing you at any of the school board meetings I went to all over Northern Vt on my Dime and my time to confront the illegal and unconstitutional jab and mask mandates.
        I don’t remember seeing you at any of the rallies to fight Prop 5/Article 22 or any of the Pro Life Rallies.
        Back to the point. Feel free to defend Scott on anything I wrote.

  4. The Panderer-in-Charge wants us to forget years of bad policy making, years of bureaucratic spending and waste, years of gaslighting the public, and years of increasing taxation and surcharging with dismal results. We should also forget his insults hurled at Vermonters for being racist, anti-science, homophobes, attackers of our “democracy” (a communist mantra as we now know), and his entertaining the CCP at the State House in February 2019. Phil Scott has spent 23 years of playing a role, playing a game, and pretending to be a leader. He is nothing more than a puppet of the regime and a carnival barker. As judgement day closes in, expect to see his house of cards crater in on itself. Phil is attempting to distance himself from culpability and be held to account for his actions. Too late!

  5. Phil Scott is a product of Vermont’s voters just as the legislature is. With a few exceptions, our elected officials are a sad reflection of the godless landscape Vermont clearly is.
    Unless the people of Vermont repent, our fall will surely come.

  6. I see some wisdom in Governor Scotts essay. Considering the cards we have on the table, I consider the direction he is proposing is in line with my value system and is something that might work. We can only hope the legislature shows some restraint and thinks ahead. Investments over short term self-gratification.

    This is unlike many of the commenters here, who seem to be one issue pariah’s or so self absorbed as to leave behind any sort of rationality. It’s good to vent once in a while, and times like these are not easy if you can see the writing on the wall. But really? Did any of you read this? You don’t see any common ground here?

  7. The fact that the opposition party has a super majority while our party has been bickering and name-calling is undoubtedly a challenging situation. However, it is still essential for elected officials to work and prioritize the needs of their constituents over political differences.
    It is commendable that the Governor is doing everything possible to strike a balance despite our party’s short sighted internal struggles. It is crucial for all elected officials to take responsibility for their actions and work towards the betterment of their communities, regardless of political affiliations.
    The Democratic party’s success in getting their message out and mobilizing voters is a lesson for our party to learn from. It is vital to communicate effectively with constituents and mobilize them to vote, regardless of the political climate.
    Overall, it is crucial for elected officials to rise above political differences and work together for the betterment of their communities. The Governor’s efforts, he basically is standing alone, to strike a balance despite your party’s struggles are commendable, and it is essential for all elected officials to prioritize their constituents’ needs.

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