Affordability is governor’s focus for veto session

By Brent Addleman | The Center Square

Affordability remains Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s most significant concern as the General Assembly returns next week for a veto session.

The Republican governor, who previously vetoed the state budget, said that keeping Vermont affordable for current and potential residents remains his highest priority as the legislative body returns to Montpelier to rehash the state budget.

Gov. Phil Scott Facebook

Gov. Phil Scott

“Again and again, Vermonters have been vocal about the affordability of our state,” Scott said during his weekly press conference. “At this time, our ranking is one of the highest tax states in the country … cost of housing, property taxes, home heating bills, and more. Too many Vermonters are struggling to get by and are faced with a tough reality that they may not be able to afford to stay in the state they love for much longer.”

Scott vetoed the $8.45 billion budget on May 26, citing payroll taxes to pay for child care, increased Department of Motor Vehicles fees, and the potential financial impact of the clean heat standard.

“Anecdotally, we hear people who have considered moving to Vermont, which would help our economy but have second thoughts after seeing how expensive it is and the severe lack of housing for the middle class in particular,” Scott said. “So, while we’ve made progress over the past six years, we have to stay focused on affordability.”

Scott said one of his priorities is providing Vermonters with “the tax relief they deserve.”

“We have been successful in preventing increases in taxes and fees,” Scott said, “which has allowed us to be more competitive with surrounding states. But this year, I’m worried the Legislature is reversing the clock on doing a lot of the good work of the past six years and sending us up for failure.

“Whether it’s $100 million payroll tax, $20 million and unnecessary DMV fee increases, hundreds of millions in additional costs that will come with the clean heat standard, spending $70 million more than I propose on base spending and more. When I’m outside the Montpelier bubble, I hear a lot of the spending of my peers is out of control. And they’re wondering how they’ll be able to afford it.”

Scott said he felt the “last thing we should be doing” is raising taxes, given the nature of “high inflation” combined with “record surpluses.”

“But what concerns me most about the approach that legislature has taken this year is that those who can least afford it,” Scott said.

Scott said the “financial harm” would affect “those lower on the economic ladder” who are struggling to get by and already qualify for free child care or free school means. That group, he said, “will now be forced” to pay more to help families making $170,000 a year get child care subsidies and free lunches.

Image courtesy of Gov. Phil Scott Facebook

3 thoughts on “Affordability is governor’s focus for veto session

  1. Re: Scott said the “financial harm” would affect “those lower on the economic ladder” who are struggling to get by and already qualify for free child care or free school means. That group, he said, “will now be forced” to pay more to help families making $170,000 a year get child care subsidies and free lunches.

    Paying for services is not the obstacle. The problem occurs when ‘the State’ provides the services, and those costs are exorbitantly high and ineffective compared to the alternatives. If ‘the State’ would simply butt-out of the equation, and pass the money back to taxpayers, the taxpayers, acting as individuals, will provide less expensive and more effective solutions.

    Housing is an excellent example. If Vermont taxes decrease when ‘the State’ stops wasting money, more people will be inclined to move here. Not only will they calculate that they will save more money, they’ll be able to spend those savings as they individually see fit, on the housing they need. And because the demand for that housing increases (including the money to pay for it), the market will increase the targeted supply accordingly.

    Of course, those who benefit from government oversight, folks employed by the Vermont State Housing Authority, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, the various municipal Housing Authorities across the State, and those who have established themselves with the VSHA, VHFA, and other housing agencies, as preferred developers in the Section 8 Housing arena, will have to compete in the free market. And those folks, along with the other 40% of the Vermont workforce, those employed by government, education and healthcare, make-up the largest and best organized voting block in the State.

    In other words, the problem is that the fox is guarding the chicken-coop. And when the chickens stop coming home to roost, the fox casts its gaze on whatever is left to exploit.

  2. Affordability, broadband, good paying jobs, attracting new businesses…how is it working out after decades of being fed the same plate of platitudes and pandering scripted lies? How many millions spent on the same issues with no tangible results and an economy swirling the toilet? Perhaps people don’t want to move here or even stay here anymore is because of the headlines featuring Vermont’s infatuation with death, dismemberment, covid mandated psyops, and crotches of all ages.

  3. Homes

    School Funding



    The latter three take the money. I don’t think on line betting is going to solve our affordability problem. Our economic house of cards is not stable. If we arrest Trump will all our problems go away?

    Perhaps we need another pandemic so the government can save us again and grift more money from the people? What is the plan?

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