Paul Dame: More meddling from Democrats

This commentary is by Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont GOP.

Both nationally and in Vermont, the Democrats appear to be changing things for change’s sake and meddling in ways that don’t make any sense, causing unnecessary confusion and division.

Here in Vermont Gov. Phil Scott proposed a simple, straightforward Budget Adjustment. Half way through our fiscal year we take a look at revenues and expenditures and make a mid-budget tweak to reflect how the projected needs have matched up to the actual needs. Last year the legislature spent months making policy decisions that the Governor agreed to in order to get us the budget that was approved.

Paul Dame, chairman of the Vermont GOP

But now Democrats, emboldened by their supermajority want to go back and re-write last year’s budget with some significant changes.

House Republicans have sounded the alarm that Democrats are trying to squeeze in an additional $90 million in spending for the current budget as a major policy re-write. Republicans believe that a budget adjustments should be just that; an adjustment — not a massive spending increase.

The largest increase of the BAA comes from giving an additional $40 Million to housing. And while increased housing stock is a top priority for Republican leadership, the problem is that simply throwing money at organizations, especially ones like VHCB which haven’t even finished spending the $138 Million they received last year seems like a premature and unnecessary way to tie up funds that are stuck in a bottle neck without having a broader policy debate.  We might need the funds there eventually — but that’s a policy that should be set with the new budget, not shoehorned into the current adjustment.

Democrats are also trying to jam through a $9 Million bailout to less than 200 organic dairy farms (traditional dairy farmers need not apply) as well as an automatic extension of $21 million in hotel vouchers for the homeless population after spending almost $400 million already over the past two years.

These are major policy suggestions that have not been fully vetted, and Republicans believe the better approach is to just make the more modest technical corrections proposed by our Governor and come back to these issues with more testimony, more public input and a deeper understanding of the value they provide.

But Democrats can’t help but cave in to padding the already lush bankrolls of some of their favorite pet projects. Doing so is making what is normally a quick and simple process come under much greater scrutiny as it heads over to the senate before going back to the Governor. Making massive policy changes like this deprive stakeholders the more deliberate process of a full budget workup and dramatically reduce the opportunity for public input.

Meanwhile on the national level the DNC met this weekend and have put their presidential primary process in complete turmoil causing division among their own ranks. Foolishly, Democrats have chosen to punish or cancel both the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primaries. Despite both of these states being purple (though trending red recently, especially in Iowa) Democrats are looking to make another change for change’s sake and assert their authority without much justification which also is dramatically reducing the opportunity for public input.

New Hampshire Democrats are caught in a bind because the DNC surreptitiously is forcing them to change state law when Republicans control the House, the Governor’s office and even the Secretary of State’s office. Once again Democrats are creating policy that will penalize people for not doing something that is impossible. Whether it’s getting Democrats to change the law in a state held by Republicans — or forcing people to buy a number of electric cars that won’t exist on their timeline, Democrats have been so ideologically driven, that the reality of their policy implications have always been secondary to the virtue signaling and the narrative they are trying to push.

As independent voters look at the moves of the DNC we see that their party cares more about protecting their incumbent than the traditions and livelihoods of the people of the Midwest and the Northeast. Meanwhile Republicans have kept a steady hand on the process by securing the traditional order of presidential primaries and even begun to lock in the order for 2028.

In a world where people are looking for a return to normalcy and some basic competence after our experience with COIVD, the Democrat Party seems to be bent on further tumult beyond justification. But that’s part of their brand; you can always count on Democrat lawmakers to meddle and complicate something that used to be so simple. Look at how convoluted our Education Formula funding has become. The joke in the Statehouse is that there are probably less than 5 people in the building who truly understand it.

But Republicans from the RNC to Gov. Phil Scott to House Republican Leader Pattie McCoy are working hard to bring a sense of stability, transparency and predictability back to people’s lives as we evaluate public policy and putting people ahead of partisan preferences

Image courtesy of Public domain