McClaughry: My thoughts on Gov. Scott’s inaugural address

By John McClaughry

On January 4, fresh off a 70 percent reelection victory, Gov. Phil Scott gave his fourth inaugural address to the Legislature and the people.

As we have come to expect, it was a workmanlike address, emphasizing what is good about Vermont and what his administration has done in the past six years to restrain costly government while working to address real, continuing problems not of the governor’s making.

I was particularly interested in the governor’s comments on addressing climate change, especially because he is facing a Legislature firmly under control of the Vermont Climate Council super-government.

He cited nearly a quarter billion dollars —  much of it from the Federal Treasury —  in spending to reduce emissions, revitalize old homes, lower energy bills, improve health and protect communities from flooding. He cited cost-free weatherization investments and his favorite climate change weapon, subsidized electric vehicles using subsidized public charging stations — and paying no fuel tax to support the state’s highways and bridges.

Significantly, he pointed out that “we have some serious work to do to make sure our electric grid can accommodate (all that electrification).” Yes, we certainly do.

And then the governor said, “This isn’t the time to increase the burden on anyone. And we certainly can’t ask lower- and middle-income families to cover the costs for their wealthier neighbors.”

Hold that thought, Governor, for when the Legislature drops its affordable heating (sic) bill on your desk.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

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17 thoughts on “McClaughry: My thoughts on Gov. Scott’s inaugural address

  1. All I hear when a Vermont elected official or bureaucrat speaks is the distinct, unmistakable sound of a toilet flushing…that is the state of the State of Vermont.

  2. What exactly has Phil Scott “Restrained”???

    The deep Blue state of Vermont has gotten even more Blue with each election and he’s been around for a while- so what has he “Constrained”?

    It looks more to me like the Republican Governor has paved the road to widen and improve travel for the Democrats.
    This is hardly constraining anything.

    • *edit, not constrained, RESTRAINED- as the above article used.

      I can see one cuppa coffee on this dark snowy morning is not enough to fire up the brain fully.

  3. Thanks Mr. McClaughery for you your thoughts on Governor Scott’s inaguural address. The Governor has been indeed been consistent during his sic years in office trying to “restrain costly government while working to address real continued problems not of his making”.

    What Republicans have traditionally been known for is competence and it is Governor Scott’s competence, the quality of people he has drawn to his adiministraion and ability to communicate with the public that has made him both popular and effective in pushing back against the more extreme measures of the Democratic/Progressive legislature.

    Governor Scott’s job has been all the harder due to the reduced number of Repbulicans in the legislature. Here is where the real problem lies.

    • Very humorous John though not very accurate. He has created multiple new offices and hired many new directors and assistant directors and helped increase an already bloated government.
      One example is the assistant director position he created to help find a way to reduce the high cost of worker’s comp. One Phil supporter posted how great this was. I asked 1. why they didn’t just send someone(s) to NH to use their model which is very well done and 2. what happens to that position after the problem was resolved. No answer to either.
      Then a smaller example is the EV purchased to chauffer the gov around in. The cost is much higher than a conventional car and there is the issue of making sure the car can be charged where necessary.

      • Mr. Freitag….$9.1 billion spending for 640,000 people? Is that “responsible”? It’s fiscal suicide eventually. Then somewhere between $4.5 and $5 billion in unfunded Union pension and retiree healthcare liabilities? Is that “responsible”? Then, VT already has around $3 billion of State debt outstanding? And VT lost up to 20% of the pension assets/investments from stocks and bonds, last year? And ALL PHIL hypes about was his stupid one day long trip – to step his foot, in every county in VT? Gee, what a great CEO that makes him! Working hard at the office? WOW, doesn’t that hit the emotional & platitude buttons for the low IQ types – that Phil is actually working… and “he cares”?. Bunk….

  4. I’m afraid Phil has become delusional “….What his administration has done in the past six years to restrain costly government.”

    Mr. Gov…numbers don’t lie….ballpark 2005 the VT budget was around $5 billion?…ballpark 2014 $7 billion?…last year it was $9.1 billion?…and for all that time the VT population stagnated, flat lined… only to pop up a bit in the last couple covid years…but stagnant for 15 years before. So how can he hoist restraining spending, when the population is basically same, but spending increased by $5,000,000,000.00 ?

    And speaking of a $5,000,000,000.00 number…that is appox what the total unfunded deficit is for the Union Pension & Union Retiree health plans, is shy of. Add in around $3 bllion in State bonds VT has outstanding?. Does the Gov have a clue what will happen when the legislature increases “feel good” spending by another few hundred million this year? “The Green Agenda”… Just as the Federal money gravy train is gone? I’ll wager a VT credit review & possible downgrade, which makes all VT borrowing more $$$. The State pension assets probably LOST 20% of their value last year (stocks & bonds)…but all the Dems in power – in Montpelier – insist they will get the pension assets rate of return, of 7.5% annually – so NO WORRIES?

    It’s lunacy in VT

    • Mr. Green,

      Besides issuing more vetoes than any other governor in Vermont history, Scott, against the odds, successfully worked to limit educational property and other taxes. He also was the only one in Montpelier with the guts enough to call out the less than adequate pension reform measures that will not address the issue that was passed over his vetoe.

      Scott was the overwhelming choice in the Repbulican primary and the general election. Perhaps if more in the Republican party focused more on dealing with the practical issues facing Vermonters rather continually being divisive and stoking outrage over cultural issues, there might be more electoral success.

      It is telling that John Klar, who was well financed and worked very hard to get elected failed in his bid to be Orange County Senator. This in a rural District that had been made more favorable to Repbulicans by dropping heavlily Democratic Thetford and adding more Republican Topsham and whose incumbunt Senator was unable to do his usual door to door campaiging after a stroke. Undermiing Klar’s campaign were his often past infammatory writings, that while speaking to the more exteme conservatives, did not go over well with the general public.

      • I don’t think it is “telling” for the reasons listed. If speaking the truth in Klar’s writings “did not go over well with the general public”, it is “telling” that the general public can’t handle the truth, does not want to know the truth, or knows the truth and does not give a care.

        • Telling the truth as you see it without resorting to name calling and tearing people down is often more effective. Those on the left and right who angerly demonize others, while it may be self-satisfying, tend to turn off rather than persuade people of the truth of their arguments.

          One of the reasons while Governor Scott is popular, even thought his politics du not align with the legisature and much of the media, is his consitstent taking of the high road. There may be a lesson here for those of us who feel the Democratic/Progressive leadership are on the wrong path.

          • The continuing irony, Mr. Freitag, is that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones – a definitive example of the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. Whenever someone disagrees with you, you accuse them (or someone with whom they agree – John Klar in this case) of name calling, tearing people down, demonizing others, and being self-satisfying. Is this the persuasive ‘high road’ rhetoric you have in mind? After all, you ran for election in 2014 and 2018. Did you win any of those campaigns? Or did you, too, use ‘inflammatory writings, that …, did not go over well with the general public’?

        • Jay,
          I would have to say that in my younger days I could be a bit of a hot head and indeed used infalmatory language that was counter-productive. This was particularly true in a decades long atttempt to counter with an inapportiate, oversized and expensive Superfund clean-up of an abandonded copper mine in Strafford. One can easky be outraged by much of what goes on these days and I understand whiy many say the things they do. I do indeed think that I might have been more effective in the past if I had toned it down.

          In regards to my runs for office, I live in one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the state. As the Republican Party did not offer candidates, I ran primarily because I believe nobody should have a free ride and to raise issues such as wrongly trying to find a Vermont solution to a national problems and the pension crisis, as well as to point out how I was feeling tha the Vermont Democratic party was going off the rails. While not successful, I have no regrets at having made these efforts.

          • A good deal of the poisoning of the Repbulican brand for many here in Vermont, I am afraid has come about due to the harsh rhetoric and insults slung so indiscrimatorily by those national figures like Alex Jones, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump.

            One of Ronald Reagan’s cardinal rules was speak no evil of one’s fellow Republicans. Donald Trump slams and ridicules all who oppose him; including Ron DeSantis. It makes it tough for all those running as Republicans. A good example was the recent defeat of the longtime highly regarded Orange Count Sheriff who lost the race mainly because he had an R next to his name.

            A vigorous principled opposition to the Democratic/Progressive super majority is desperately needed. How to best to achieve that is the question. Taking some lessons ( even if you disagree with him on some issues) from the approach of Phil Scott may have some merit.

          • I am but the messenger, Mr. Freitag. I didn’t accuse you of having regrets for your actions. I’m only pointing out your constant propensity to deflect attention away from your own ‘harsh rhetoric and insults, slung so indiscriminately’ on to others… as you are doing here, yet again.

  5. I wonder what the ‘Drive Electric’ crowd will do when the power goes out for days, as it did over Christmas. Please don’t call your neighbors with generators for a charge – we’ll help you out with food, firewood, trips to the store, but I refuse to help charge your car.

  6. Phil’s speech was nothing but lofty-feel-good-platitudes…..all to make him sound …ohhhh so caring & reasonable….non-confrontational, non-ideological. That is why the Dems voted Phil in as Gov….Republicans are a minority, so they didn’t do it. Phil is just a puppet waiting to be plucked (vetoed).

    I came across this quote….amazingly from 1905, and from a Frenchman !!! It describes Phil Scott to a “T”

    “… Charles Peguy’s observation, from a 1905 essay called “Notre Patrie”, was that: “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”

    ….best description of Gov. Scott I’ve seen….no action, no fight in him…all pablum & platitudes.

    • exactly. he is what you can call a blue dog democrat who more or less cares about cutting spending but is progressive in all other aspects from gun control to the fake climate crisis.
      the saddest part in part due to his own failed agenda is that he will likely be the last R elected statewide. we are moving to the left of even CA and NY on certain issues and there’s no stopping the progressive train now.

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