Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.
Last week I had mentioned the Democratic supermajority was deciding whether or not to override the governor’s veto of the latest gun control bill. And within just one week the governor vetoed another piece of terrible legislation, and the supermajority had already taken up the vote to override him.
What was at stake was a nearly $30 million new payroll tax that was to be placed on hardworking employees across Vermont. At a time when Vermont has lagged behind the rest of the country in wage growth, Democratic Progressives want to extract even those modest gains in order to create a new taxpayer-funded benefit program for paid family leave.
If Sue Minter, or Christine Hallquist had been in office, it would have already been signed into law, and businesses would have been preparing to calculate how much they would need to reduce their loyal employee’s paycheck in the coming year. But one man sitting in the governor’s office had the ability to put a stop to it, and use the power of the veto pen to save Vermonters from a brand new tax on workers. Standing up for Vermont workers and Vermont taxpayers is something we can all thank Governor Scott for.
But unfortunately the governor doesn’t always get final say. His veto went back to the VT House where they took up the measure immediately in order to override the governor’s veto. This served as the first test of the new supermajority’s strength since they gained seats historically held by Republicans in the 2018 election.
Everyone knew it was going to be a tight vote. And the House Democratic Progressive leadership was working people hard, including holding one member in their office for an extended time trying to get them to flip their vote. In the end every vote mattered, and the governor’s veto was sustained by a vote of 99-51.
One vote. That’s what separated Vermonters from a $30 million new payroll tax this week. One single, vote. Every single Republican stood together with the governor to protect Vermonters and provide a united front that stood up to an out-of-control supermajority, and “No more!”
One of the remarkable stories that should make every Republican proud was the fact that Rep. Lynn Dickinson of St. Albans had literally just had eye surgery. But instead of taking it easy and getting some rest, she showed up at the State House with an eye patch, fulfilled the duty to her constituents and got to Montpelier to cast one of the deciding votes. If she had failed to make it in time Vermonters would be spending another $30 million to the state in taxes, instead of spending on what they need and want to provide for their families.
And while we can celebrate this win, despite our current minority, I want every one of you to realize that we cannot leave matter of this weight, and this kind of fiscal impact up to chance. Vermonters cannot afford to have such razor thin margins separating them from such massive tax burdens. In another vote, we might not be so lucky. That’s why I am asking you to consider running for the House. We need to give our governor better margins, and protect the people of Vermont — people like you — and the best way to do that is to recruit and elect more Republicans to the state house.
Many people think they can’t make a difference down there. This week proved them wrong. Every single Republican vote counted for something — and it made a difference. A $30 million difference. The more people that join us in the fight there, the more victories we can have to help our fellow Vermonters.
Maybe you’ve never thought about running. Well I’m asking you to think about it now. If you are interested, take a moment and complete the form on our website and we’ll have someone get in touch with you to answer any questions you have. If nothing else, contacting us will help you get plugged in and better informed about what’s happening. Who knows, it could be you that gets to be that one, single vote that is part of the Republican team working to stop the next big carbon tax, or the next restriction on our freedoms.
Join the team. Make a difference.