ICYMI: Governor Scott Delivers 2018 State of the State Address

Yesterday, Governor Scott delivered his 2018 State of the State address highlighting the progress of the past year and strengthening his commitment to growing the economy and making Vermont more affordable, while protecting the most vulnerable.

 

Making Progress

Last session, Governor Scott presented, fought for and signed a budget that did not raise a single tax or fee for the first time in memory. He drew a line in the sand and said the state budget would not grow faster than wages, which means state government actually helped Vermonters keep more of what they earn. In addition, over the last 12 months, Governor Scott and his administration closed a budget gap of nearly $60 million. He also reduced education costs by $13 million in order to keep statewide property tax rates level for the first time in more than a decade.

His housing package (the most substantial investment in new housing in state history) will deliver 600 additional units of housing that working families can afford; employ 1,000 Vermonters; help attract new workers to the state, and generate $10 million in wages.

A few other key highlights from the past year include: the expansion of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts to help communities encourage private investment; the expansion of downtown tax credits; additional funding for the Vermont Small Business Development Center; investments in tourism and marketing; tax exemptions on forestry products; and alterations to the telecommunications permitting process...among others. These pro-growth investments are an important step toward a stronger economy and more opportunity to all four corners of Vermont.

The Governor provided leadership on the opiate crisis, by supporting the expansion of the “hub and spoke” treatment model that has substantially reduced, and in some areas eliminated, waiting lists for treatment. Also, over the course of the past year, the Governor’s PIVOT program worked to rethink and reform processes in state government to make them more efficient and effective. Just one example, one team streamlined construction permit applications, improving average turnaround time by 30%. There are currently 44 more of these projects underway.

 

And Governor Scott is just getting started!

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Gov. Phil Scott: Statement on Taxes & Fees

My top three priorities are growing the economy, making Vermont more affordable, and protecting the most vulnerable. Last year I insisted on a budget that did not raise a single tax or fee – for the first time in many years. Today, as understandable concerns around property taxes continue to grow, I wanted to confirm for Vermonters that ***my Administration is absolutely committed to preventing taxes and fees from increasing again this year, so families can keep more of what they earn***. This includes property taxes. Reports suggesting otherwise are incorrect. My Administration will not support putting more of a burden on already over-taxed Vermonters because we know that is not how to make Vermont more affordable for families and businesses.

The cost of state government, and the per pupil cost of education, should not grow faster than wages and underlying economic growth. That’s how we can ensure we’re helping families be more economically secure, move up the economic ladder and save for the future. If the costs of state government are rising faster than wages and economic growth Montpelier is, in effect, pushing people down the economic ladder. That is not acceptable to me, or to an overwhelming majority of Vermonters. That’s why, to be clear, my Administration is committed to preventing taxes and fees from increasing again this year, including property taxes.

- Phil

Caledonian Record: "Maybe Next Time"

The Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI) recently reported that educator health insurance premiums are anticipated to rise 7-16% in 2018, with official rate increases still subject to Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation.

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ICYMI: Thanks to Liberal Lawmakers & Union Bosses, VT Teachers Face Double-Digit Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Teachers & Taxpayers Would Have Saved Millions Under Gov. Scott’s Plan

Berlin, VT—The Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI) has announced that school employees will face monthly premium increases ranging from 6.4% to 17.2% — in large part due to far-left lawmakers and the NEA’s drastic efforts to kill Governor Scott’s education health care savings plan.

Under Governor Scott’s VEHI plan, health care contracts for educators would have been negotiated at the state level; leveraging a unique opportunity to, in part, avoid the“Cadillac” tax on insurance plans. Not only would this proposal have achieved savings, but would have simplified contract negotiations, avoided cuts to school programing, and protected collective bargaining rights.

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Delusional Democrats Take Credit for Affordable Housing They Threatened to Kill

Montpelier, VT— Facts are frequently ignored by Speaker Johnson and the far-left “government knows best” elitists within the Vermont Democratic Party.

In a recent interview with the Rutland Herald, Vermont’s Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson tried to take credit for a package to expand housing options working families can afford, stating that “a $35 million housing bond that will help construct new affordable housing is an area of success that will hopefully lead to more cooperation on other challenges facing the state.”

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Our Fellow Americans Need Us

Despite the destruction and despair caused by Hurricane Harvey, the world watched as Americans do what we do best -- help each other during the worst of circumstances.

Once again we are called to action to help our brothers and sisters in need. Hurricane Irma has devastated and continues to devastate many parts of the South including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

The Vermont Republican State Committee urges and encourages you to extend a helping hand to our fellow Americans in need by contributing to one of the following charities:

Samaritan’s Purse
Salvation Army
The Red Cross
Reach Out America
Catholic Charities
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Direct Relief
Habitat for Humanity
The Humane Society
Operation Blessing International
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Team Rubicon


Thank you for your generosity and may God bless everyone affected by these tragic hurricanes.
 
Vermont Republican Party

Bob Frenier: Ehlers’ portrayal of Republicans wrong

James Ehlers, the first Democratic candidate to challenge Phil Scott in the 2018 election, is quoted by VPR as saying voters in the next election will have grown tired of “that whole ideology of Republican thinking that says if people just work a little bit harder, then they’ll succeed, and everyone who isn’t succeeding, it’s because they’re lazy.”

Mr. Ehlers is not the only Democrat politician who imagines Republicans think like this, and I do hope they all continue saying such things; it is so 1950s. They will eventually learn today’s Vermont Republicans actually believe that if working Vermonters are not succeeding, in most cases it’s because Vermont’s very liberal government has planted a regulatory stranglehold on the economy and dug deep into everyone’s wallets with too many taxes. A few examples will suffice:

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Liberal Lawmakers Push AGAIN for Single Payer System

Democrats & Progressive Lawmakers More Out-Of-Touch Than Ever

Berlin, VT – In a bizarre demonstration of political tone-deafness, liberal lawmakers in the Vermont House and Senate are pushing, yet again, to create a taxpayer-financed health care system as a first step to single payer health care.

Yes, this is the same system that Peter Shumlin abandoned.

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Gov. Phil Scott: A foundation for growth

Phil-Scott-Photo-927x1024_(1).jpgOn my first day in office, I issued an executive order defining the top goals of my Administration: Growing the economy, making Vermont more affordable, and protecting the most vulnerable. We are laser-focused on these priorities and they guide us in everything we do.

That’s why we’ve concentrated on government modernization and efficiency, rethinking and revitalizing our approach to economic development, transitioning to a cradle-to-career education system that is the best in the nation, strengthening our response to the opioid epidemic, and making sure state spending isn’t growing faster than wages or the economy. 

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Bartley: It's time to change the culture in Montpelier

The following op-ed was penned by Jeff Bartley, Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party.

In bizarre moments of political posturing, Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson continues to downplay the opportunity to achieve up to $26 million annually in property tax savings, saying “I don’t believe that is worth the veto.”

The Speaker has gone on to suggest the savings could be “less than a tank of gas.” Unfortunately, the Speaker doesn’t understand families across the state continue to struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table. After six years and $300 million in increased taxes and fees (which Democrats have couched as “minor increases” but compound each year) Vermonters living paycheck-to-paycheck are looking for change. 

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Governor Scott and Republicans understand every dollar the state can save, or every dollar that isn’t spent, is a big deal. That’s why they’ve offered plans to create a statewide health care contract for teachers, saving taxpayers millions all while making sure teachers don’t have to pay more and school programs avoid cuts. These are the kind of ideas and policies Vermonters are looking for and expect from Montpelier.

Unfortunately, at the end of the session, Speaker Johnson, Pro Tempore Tim Ashe and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman helped force the budget through without these savings, a clear sign they are advocating against the interests of taxpayers and for their true allegiance -- the Vermont NEA and the lobbyists who helped bankroll their campaigns.

In his veto of the budget and property tax bill, Gov. Scott said, “Vermont faces an immediate and growing crisis of affordability, and recapturing the available savings – without asking school employees to pay more or cutting programs for kids – can only happen during the unique set of circumstances at this moment. Without a mechanism to ensure the savings are achieved, these bills currently create an environment that will eat away the available savings and, therefore, our ability to lower property tax rates.” 

Governor Scott deserves credit for bringing a new perspective to Montpelier; the message he is sending is loud and clear: $26 million in potential savings is a big deal and every dollar in savings makes a real difference for so many Vermonters who are trying to get by. 

Now is the time to join us in support of Governor Scott and his plan. Stand up and continue to elect more common-sense Vermont Republicans to the legislature. Together, we can and we must change the culture in Montpelier.  If we don’t, we’ll continue to watch the majority shrug off taxpayer savings as “less than a tank of gas” and Vermonters will fall victim to tax-and-spend approach to government, rather than living within our means and promoting opportunities and prosperity for all Vermonters.