Phil Scott goes on the offensive for S.5 veto

Gov. Phil Scott Facebook

Gov. Phil Scott: “It could substantially raise home heating costs on Vermonters who can least afford it.”

By Rob Roper

Gov. Phil Scott put some of his political capital on the line over his veto of the clean heat standard bill, S.5.

Scott released a video Saturday morning on social media, where he has 43,000 followers on Facebook alone, urging Vermonters to contact their legislators to ask them to vote to sustain his veto of the bill.

This push comes as Democrat Party leadership appears to be rushing the override vote to take place sometime during the week of May 8, despite there being a special veto session on the calendar for late June.

In his short message, Scott explained his main reason for the veto: “Because it could substantially raise home heating costs on Vermonters who can least afford it.” Estimates of the impact S.5 could have on home heating fuel prices range from $0.70 to $4.00 per gallon. And because low income Vermonters tend to spend a higher percentage of their incomes on heat, the clean heat standard is considered regressive.

Although the language in the bill pays lip service to assisting low-income Vermonters with transitioning to other heating technologies, it contains no substantive instructions for how to do so. For this reason Vermont’s Office of Racial Equity testified that S.5 “doesn’t make the mark” for living up to its “just transition” requirements.

Scott goes on, “I also have a problem with how it’s being done. Punting responsibility to an unelected commission to design the system and begin implementation before it is returned to the legislature.”

This latter point refers to the so-called “check back” amendment inserted into the bill by the Senate Appropriations Committee. While the amendment does require the Legislature to take a new and separate vote to approve the final rules that would govern the clean heat standard in 2025, the Public Utilities Commission would have broad authority to build the program — hiring bureaucrats and subcontractors to set up the all of for the program manage — before that vote would take place. It is like building a house in order to determine once it is completed if you can afford to move in. Scott asked for a true check back in which the operational details and costs of the program would studied and brought before the Legislature in blueprint form for a vote on whether or not to implement the program.

As Scott explained, “If this were truly a study as [supporters of the bill] said it was, it would explicitly say that in the bill. And then we could debate that study in full view of Vermonters.” But this kind of transparency and accountability is what supporters of the bill have been arduously trying to avoid since passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2020.

Scott asserts that we can achieve our climate goals “without punishing Vermonters,” and concludes, “If you agree, I need you to call your representatives and senators today, and ask them to sustain this veto.”

In his post, the governor provides the instructions, “Find and contact your legislator here [at this link].”

The questions now are, will Vermonters respond to this call to action from the nation’s most popular governor? And if they do, will any of their representatives and senators listen?

The votes to pass the clean heat standard were 20-10 in the Senate and, accounting for absent members in the House, 103-47. Eleven votes in the Senate or 51 votes in the House (assuming all members are present) will be necessary to sustain Scott’s veto.

It will be close. We will soon see what a 78 percent approval rating of the governor buys in terms of active popular support.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. © Copyright True North Reports 2023. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Gov. Phil Scott Facebook

14 thoughts on “Phil Scott goes on the offensive for S.5 veto

  1. For the first time in a long time I am proud of you. You are finally acting like a REPUBLICAN governor should act. Keep it up.

  2. Good luck Governor Scott. I hope you are having one on one meetings with the Senators you served with like Dick Sears and others and with a few of the logical House democrats if there are any.

  3. Governor Scott, thanks for standing up for ” Real ” Vermonters and your Veto of S.5,
    this progressive boondoggle, is just that……………….

    If Vermonters don’t wake up over this, then nothing will wake them up, if your legislator
    is anything but a progressive liberal, call them, email them, and tell them to wake up
    and save the state and their jobs,

    Scott may be the Governor, but he’s only one man,

    • As a progressive liberal, I stand with our governor. What he is saying is good advice to the legislature. We can’t afford to go off half cocked without careful study by INFORMED legislators. More time spent in a non- partisan evaluation cannot go amiss. We all want a clean world.

  4. Hi Phil: I am counting on your success in doing this. Just sitting here wondering what other costs I can cut to pay for fuel (bird-feeders and pet cats are already gone as unaffordable; the “silver lining” of Bidenflation and groceries is that I’ve lost 30 pounds). Vermonters: support your local fuel dealer, cancel your cable TV account, and start reading! Why not begin with this book written in honor of my cousin David, a truly Progressive Governor and U.S. Senator (created the U.S. minimum wage, Massachusetts workmen’s comp, Harvard University extension programs and more) who was crucified for putting Americans first. “Don’t let this happen to you.”

  5. These so-called representatives once rational democrats, have been hijacked by out of state progressives bent on pushing their national agenda. They are sucking us dry, steeling what little money we have left after life expenses and destroying our individual rights.

    They have violated their oaths of office by harming our constitution, our parental rights to our children, the right of self defense and more. They have pushed racism that didn’t exist, created committees around the state for equity and inclusion, they have appointed boards and committees to do their work so as to not be blamed for the outcome. They want to enter our homes to see where our firearms are and they want you to get a license to exercise your 2nd amendment right but only after they mandate that you have insurance first. I could go on.

    Here’s the kicker, because these people have a D or a P behind their name on the ballot, the majority of voters has given these implants from other states a majority to rule over you and us while giving themselves a raise and benefits that you don’t have. This is only some of what your votes have done to destroy life in Vermont. I hope you are all proud of how ignorant your thought pattern is. We can see the damage, we can feel the damage and we can expect more damage. Thank you, Vermont voters for killing off the once great and independent Republic of Vermont. The 14th state of the union is on it’s death bed due to the ignorance of the voting public. Shame on all of you!

  6. Phil Scott deserves out support on this one. Time to stop complaing about what might have been and concentrate on the pressing issue on hand. Time to get on the phone or email and contact our legislators. Time to do our part.

    • I was complimenting Phil. This is a side of Phil no one has seen before, in all his years. He changed his playbook, FINALLY.. My analogy is that Phil just got “woked up” and is fighting back…..This is his “Bud Light” moment. VT desperately needs a “Bud Light Moment”…to wake up and realize what “The Cult” is really doing to VT..

      • Jeffrey,

        Some of us who have been paying attention have noticed that Phil Scott has consistently pushed back against the overreach of the legislature since being elected. Scott has issued more vetos than any governor in the histroy of Vermont.

        It is partly that his style is not as aggressive, as has unfortunately become the norm, that some may have missed this. He is a bit old school when it comes to civility.

        At the same time,Scott continues to be shrllly vilified by the Democratic and Progressive party structure in Vermont. Why those who would like a further to the right Republican as Governor, have and can in the future run against him in the primary, currently Scott has been and continues to be the only bulkwark standing against an aspirational but a totally impractical legislative agenda.

    • Exactly, Mr Freitag; Unfortunately, when I reached out to my (I voted for her!) “representative”, concerned how this would affect older poor Vermonters, she replied that it was “complicated”, and the bill would, in fact, help that demographic first. Even as a lifelong Democrat, I felt this response demeaning and similar to negative stereotypes of the Dems (let the Ivory Tower decide what’s good for the ignorants) that allowed the vile Trump to gain entry into politics. . .

      • Heather, not trying to point fingers but it is you and others like you that have caused this calamity in this state. For 107 years this state was conservative with rigged individuals, farmers and blue collar workers. The influx of the back to nature hippie types in the 60s and 70s started turning this state into the welfare mess it is now. Two thirds of our current legislature is not from Vermont. Wherever they came from they were little fish in a big pond. Now they want to be big fish in a little pond. If you don’t agree, perhaps you could list for me all the things that you can do in Vermont that don’t require a tax or a fee to be paid to the state. We no longer have representatives of the people, we have rulers and overlords. Every person who votes democrat and progressive is responsible for the downfall of Vermont. I hope you and others are starting to see the light. We need to step away from the darkness that Vermont has befallen too. There is nothing good to come from keeping this legilative body in place.

      • Heather you’ve come here to read at “The other side of Vermont’s news”.
        You don’t like being demeaned but yet you are apparently oblivious to the fact that most people here voted for “The Vile Trump”.

        You’ve just done what you are complaining about.

  7. Wow…Phil Scott actually went on offense & raised his voice. He’s never done that in all his years….and he is VT’s CEO…He should have been fighting back like this from the start. Phil Scott thought that being Gov. was a political popularity contest. But management of any large entity, company or State…is not just a popularity contest – along Phil’s wimpy penchant for being “non confrontational”…..”non confrontational” is a losers way out of responsibility….maybe Phil just “woke up”.

  8. Scott, and others, including some rational Democrats, are finally realizing, S5 will be the start of breaking Vermont’s economic, financial and social viability, causing an inexorable downward slide into inefficiency and dysfunction.

    The more viable folks, especially young college graduates, will flee to other states.

    Left behind will be the mostly retired well off, and the infrastructure that serves them, plus the tax-revenue-sucking, Dem/Prog-controlled, government dependencies

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