Deb Billado: Gov. Scott’s veto highlights Montpelier’s imbalance

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.

On September 13, Governor Phil Scott vetoed the Global Warming Solutions Act because it is unconstitutional in that it usurps executive and legislative authority and accountability, it recklessly opens up Vermont taxpayers to potentially millions of dollars in legal fees and more millions to fund a new bureaucracy when we can least afford it, and, despite the name, actually offers no solutions to the problem it is supposed to solve.

Deborah Billado, chair of the Vermont GOP

In the House, all forty-two Republican House members and five Democrats and Independents sided with Governor Scott to sustain the veto — out of 150 total members. In the Senate, all six Republicans and two Democrats voted to sustain — out of 30 total members. In neither case enough votes to sustain the veto, and the Global Warming Solutions Act, with all its glaring flaws, is now the law of the land.

Setting aside the issue itself, the veto override highlights a big problem in Vermont’s governance today, and that is the partisan imbalance in the legislature. It also highlights the importance of who you vote for in state legislative races.

While top of the ticket contests understandably draw the most attention from voters and the media, the down ticket races are in many ways more important in actually influencing the kinds of laws and policies we have to live with every day as we go about our business. Your property taxes, your income taxes, your personal freedoms are mostly decided by state legislators.

I often hear from angry Vermonters that their property taxes are too high; their health insurance costs are crushing them…. “Why doesn’t the governor do something?” Simple answer, without more Republicans in the House and Senate, he can’t.

Without at least fifty-one Republicans in the House, Governor Scott cannot reliably expect his vetoes of bad bills to be sustained. We only have forty-two. Without at least seventy-six Republicans in the House, a majority, Governor Scott cannot expect his proposed policies for moving Vermont forward to become law. For the Senate, those numbers are eleven and sixteen respectively, but we only have six.

The current Democratic/Progressive supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature means that they can do pretty much what they want with no checks and balances and no reason to compromise. This is a bad dynamic for a couple of reasons.

First is meaningful debate leads to better law. When one side has to listen to the arguments presented by the other, problems with bad legislation are more likely to be identified and worked out. In the debate over the Global Warming Solutions Act, for example, Republicans pointed out many serious flaws with the bill, but the Democrats ignored them because they could. On mail-in-voting, when the Governor raised concerns about the plan proposed by the Democratic Secretary of State, the Democratically controlled legislature simply voted to remove the Governor from the process. Now we’re seeing some of the Governor’s concerns materialize where they otherwise could have been prevented.

Second is accountability to you, the voter. When one party or ideology has total control over the agenda and feels that it can act with impunity, it’s not just their colleagues across the aisle who get ignored, it’s also you the citizen. What we have now is a situation where political activism has replaced good governance.

A stark example of this came in the debate over whether or not to double the tax on your home heating fuel. Democrat Rep. Mike Yantachka was brazen, “If our constituents say, don’t do this, we should be able to tell them we have to do it.” So much for representative government! The House majority listened to him and went on to pass the bill.

So, when you’re filling out your ballot this year, please be sure to take the time to learn about the candidates further down the page and consider what kinds of policies you want our Governor to be able to either move forward or block. If you would like to see more policies coming out of Montpelier that lower your taxes, make it easier for you to get a job or create one, and otherwise make Vermont more affordable, vote for the Republican(s) running for the State House and Senate.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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2 thoughts on “Deb Billado: Gov. Scott’s veto highlights Montpelier’s imbalance

  1. Thank you Dano for your comments and thank you Deborah Billado for a great article stating the unfortunate condition of our once great and amazing state, Vermont. Although I am not native to Vermont I’ve been here for 33 years which has been enough time for me to see these drastic changes that you so clearly pointed out.

    I came here to leave the rat race behind and live what I had hoped would be a more idillic and peaceful life. People were kind and gracious, the chruches full, the environment clean, neighbors came to my door to introduce themselves to me, and within 3 months time I had made more friends than I could have imagined. Politics was relatively conservative compared to where I had just come from, but all was well and I still voted mostly along the lines of the democratic party.

    Years passed, and the pandemic hit. My eyes opened up wide as I knew something was wrong. I began to look into local Vermont politics and our country as a whole and what I saw after months of searching and investigation has altered my perception of life and my politics for the rest of my life. The masks that are worn to ward off this virus seems to be covering peoples eyes and ears too and not just their mouths. I have no idea how people are not seeing that they are being made into fools and used as tools by the very government and people they elected. The best interest of the people is not being served.

    Some of the injustices are so blatant and obvious that I would have thought everyone in Vermont would be up in arms. Mandatory masks which is unconstitutional is required in most stores, our school children are doing sports with masks on which is medically contraindicated, big stores are open and thriving, but the many small mom and pop stores going out of business. And let’s not forget about our US Constitution which has been all but torn apart. Our first amendment rights of free exercise of religion has been systematically taken from us as churches and temples have been shut down, relying on zoom. Free speech and free press has also flown the coup as the majority of Republicans stay quiet for fear of backlash. The press lies to us at every turn to control the masses and websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc do not allow my point of view or any alternative point of view to be posted because it is not to their liking. Our right to peaceful protesting has turned into ruthless mobs and rioting which the mayors and governors of these states are not condemning! Why is that? The Second Amendment is under constant attack by the Dems under the guise that it will make America safer. Really? We all know that any person sane or not sane can “get” a gun on the “black market”. I believe taking the guns from the citizens of this country is a way to disarm the people of the US and then take control.

    At the end of the day the bottom line for me is this: I will for the first time in my life be voting Republican and I couldn’t be prouder. It has been a long arduous road for me but I feel like I’ve come out on the right side (pun intended!). I hope that if you are questioning the mainstream narrative at all then please do some digging and look into it. Look deeply until you get answers. Real answers. And if you make the change like I did, I guarantee that you won’t be the most popular person on your block, but you will be the one that says I searched, I learned, I am making the change, and I am proud to be an American.

  2. Deb Billado just stated what needs to be said, but what I have noticed in this pandemic year from hell is that I see wide spread ignorance throughout the population of Vermont. Does anyone really believe that a state less than the size of a postage stamp on the surface of the earth can affect the climate by doing anything related to carbon or anything else? Are the voters of Vermont really that lacking in critical thinking skills? Are they brain washed, indoctrinated, bamboozled or just plain stupid?

    Maybe the other answer is virtue signaling, showing everyone how much of a good global person they are? The majority of progressive voters have been led to believe (by each other) that they are more intelligent than those who are not progressive in their thinking. Well maybe, but stupid people really don’t know they are stupid and that’s a fact of life.

    Examples of this can be seen everywhere in Vermont. Good global soldiers where their masks in their cars all alone, on the street in the open fresh air, running and riding bicycles. I’ve even seen them try to social distance in a line of cars sitting in traffic in their cars. They want to be seen as doing the job that needs to be done for us stupid Vermonters who actually have common sense and critical thinking skills. These are the people who are actually destroying Vermont from within.

    Our legislature is made up of people who are not natives of Vermont, have limited knowledge of our customs and life style. Only 8 of our current VT senators are from Vermont, 22 are implants. Similar ratios can be found in the house of representatives. In my opinion, these people represent themselves and an ideology that has been bought and paid for from lobbyists and out of state money. The media has turned on the average Vermonter also. They censor the news by only pushing stories that go along with the current talking points and omit the other side of story. What can be done about all of this?

    It’s actually simple! As voters you need to realize you have been lied to. Vermont is not a better place because of progressive politicians. I grew up in the real Vermont, it wasn’t perfect but it sure was a hell of a lot better place than it is now. We can’t get it back over night, but unless the voters are willing to try something new it is only going to get much worse. You need to heed this old Vermonters words or experience the continued destruction and eventual bankruptcy of this once great state. We need balance in the legislature, please vote as though your future here depends on it. Vote Republican to save the state and your future and vote in person if you can.

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