Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.
As if the tax-and-spend desires of Democrats under the Golden Dome weren’t apparent enough, now these same lawmakers have introduced two bills to raise their own pay. Yes, you heard that right. Even though we’re one of the highest taxed states in the nation. Even though many Vermonters are struggling to make ends meet. And even though we’re facing a more than $70 million budget gap, Vermont’s Democrat legislators want their own pay raised, and for you to foot the bill.
The first bill, H.614, introduced by Rep. Jim McCullough (D-Williston) would boost the pay of the Speaker, the Senate President Pro Tem, and committee chairs by 20 percent! At a time when Vermonters’ paychecks are barely keeping up with inflation, it is morally and economically outrageous for liberal leadership to get a 20 percent raise.
The second bill introduced by Rep. Lucy Rogers (D-Waterville) would pay all 180 legislators another $5,000 a year each — or a 37 percent raise. These proposals are insulting to everyday Vermonters struggling with the cost of living. Mind you that the pay the legislators do receive does not include the per diem payments they receive for housing, food and mileage — amounts which are not insubstantial.
This isn’t the first time Vermont Democrats have played these games. In 2015, then-Representative (and now senator) Allison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) proposed allowing legislators to bill the state for the amount of time they spent meeting with constituents, including answering their phone calls, emails and letters. The name “public servants” suggests that legislators should not be motivated for money, but apparently Vermont Democrats are.
There are things you can do get in touch with your legislators and tell them that you are dead-set against such increases. The next thing to do is to pass this message on to like minded people. Plan to run for office as a Republican in the House or Senate from your district, and, at a minimum, be sure to vote for fiscally minded Republicans in November and support those candidates that do run. It really is time for a change in Montpelier. We cannot afford these big spenders any longer.