ICYMI St. Albans Messenger says Democrat's 'pettiness took full flower' last week
"The following editorial recently appeared in the St. Albans Messenger. It is a stark reminder of how much petty political resistance, and old government thinking, Governor Scott and Vermont's Republican legislators face in their work to modernize state government and put the economic progress and affordability of our state ahead of partisan politics. We have confidence, however, that Governor Scott's positive and forward looking leadership, his laser focus on the economy and affordability and his common sense approach to making state government more efficient and productive will carry the day." -- Jeff Bartley, Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party
Why would Dems allow themselves to look so petty?
By the St. Albans Messenger
The Democratically-controlled Legislature hasn’t learned to pick its battles with “affordability” governor Phil Scott. They keep giving him political gifts and, in so doing, make themselves look petty.
The pettiness took full flower on Wednesday. The House voted 82-63 to rescind the governor’s executive order to merge the Lottery Commission with the Department of Liquor Control. The merger, putting both operations under the same roof, would have saved $500,000 annually. The vote to oppose the governor was a straight party line vote. And the reason for their opposition?
The merger wasn’t their idea.
It was suggested that the governor hadn’t really provided all the necessary details as to exactly how the merger would work, and how the savings would materialize, and who would do what, and when, and to whom, and for how much. It’s such a complicated thought process that the Democrats are considering the need for a summer study committee.
If that happens, it would be the second summer study committee dealing with the state’s liquor control department.
Here’s what the public hears: The governor wants to merge two very small departments into one because the efficiencies of working out of one building instead of two saves Vermont’s taxpayers $500,000. The Democrats are opposed to saving $500,000 and don’t have a suggestion as to move forward, other than to repeat another summer study.
That’s a lousy message for Democrats to leave with their constituents. It’s not something that can be explained away because most Vermonters have little to no contact with either department. All they know is that the Democrats turned down a proposal that would have saved the taxpayers $500,000 each year. Is a half million dollars in annual savings inconsequential to Democrats?
If the Democrats think they have ideas that would save more, or ideas that would save more and improve operations beyond what the governor proposed, they should have said so. They did not. The message they left was purely partisan: If it’s not our idea, it won’t be considered.
It’s such an odd issue for House Democrats to use to define themselves or their legislative record. They’ve just passed the state budget by avote of 143-1. They figured out how to maintain services, bridge a $70 million shortfall, and, in so doing, not raise taxes. It was their defining moment, one of the best we’ve seen in years. Why allow the pettiness of opposing the governor’s proposed merger sully the good work they’ve accomplished?
Perception, as Marshall McLuhan told us, is the biggest part of reality. When people perceive legislators to be small-minded and partisan that perception clouds the complete image, and cannot be segregated according to topic.
The Democratic leadership should not have allowed that to happen. If they have a better way, share it. They know as well as anyone that if the need is there, ways can be found to make an idea work.
But for the Democrats to pick up their ball and run home, just because the game isn’t completely under their control, shows them to be less than what they are. That’s an image that needs correcting.(Note: This editorial by Emerson Lynn first appeared in the St. Albans Messenger on April 13th; www.samessenger.com)