Deb Billado: Zuckerman is the problem, not the solution

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

David Zuckerman’s latest fundraising letter seeking to capitalize on the minimum wage veto fight is jaw dropping in its deception.

He opens lamenting the high cost of living in Vermont, high rents, and a lack of good paying local jobs — every one of which can be traced back to Progressive policies Zuckerman has supported. High rents? Thank Progressive “green” policies that make it difficult to build new housing stock at all, and when you are allowed to build, make it more expensive to do so. As we speak, Zuckerman and his Progressive colleagues in the senate (of which he is president) are making “reforms” to Act 250 that will require any new construction to be “carbon neutral,” as well as steering any new housing projects away from the countryside and into urban centers where real estate is most expensive. What do you think this will do to already high housing costs? High electricity costs? Thank Zuckerman-supported renewable energy mandates. High childcare costs? Thank Zuckerman-supported policies kowtowing to the NEA. We could go on and on.

Deborah Billado, chair of the Vermont GOP

He and his colleagues are now advocating for an interstate carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel called TCI that will drive up the cost of getting around and doing your job. They have a plan to make Vermont use 100% renewable energy that comes with a price tag of $1.2 billion just for the infrastructure, not including the increased cost of energy. From big ticket items like this to small nickel and dime inconveniences like forcing stores to charge you 10¢ for a shopping bag, is how Zuckerman goes about making Vermont “more affordable.”

With similar nonchalance, Zuckerman calls the minimum wage bill Governor Scott just thankfully vetoed “modest,” “gradual,” and “scaled back.” It is none of these things. Modest? How is a 15% increase modest? Gradual? Doing this over just two years is not gradual. (For comparison, Vermonters are looking at a 4-6 percent property tax increase to pay for public schools this year. Ask yourself if you think that increase to your tax bill is modest and gradual. Because it’s nothing compared to how this minimum wage increase will impact our small employers.) And scaled back? This is the biggest fraud of all. The original plan backed by Zuckerman and company called for $15 an hour in four years. Their idea of “scaled back” is to go half the distance in half the time. Then they’ll take the other half. They have said as much on the House floor! It’s no compromise at all, just accounting and political smoke and mirrors. Don’t be fooled.

What Zuckerman and his colleagues don’t understand, or don’t care about, is the fact that government cannot give to anyone without taking away from someone else first. So, for example, by mandating a higher wage for minimum wage earning childcare workers, giving them a roughly $5,000 a year raise, Zuckerman is taking that money away from young parents who need childcare. By giving a raise to minimum wage healthcare workers, Zuckerman is taking $87 million away from senior citizens who require healthcare services through Medicaid. And, not to mention that after you factor in the increased taxes these low wage workers would pay on a higher income and the loss of benefits due to pricing out of qualifying for things like childcare subsidies, the workers Zuckerman ostensibly wants to help, wouldn’t end up with much more, and in many cases will wind up with less. Given the economic shockwave this would create, it becomes a lose/lose proposition.

Vermont Republicans want people to earn more money too. The best way to do this is to grow the economy, generating more wealth and opportunity for everybody, and to let people keep more of what they earn rather than taxing us all to death. And, if we really need to get more dollars into the pockets of low income workers in the short term, a better way to do so than the minimum wage would be to simply increase the earned income tax credit. This would put more money in pockets without triggering a loss of benefits due to the “benefits cliff” or creating perverse incentives for employers to cut workers hours, benefits, or jobs to meet budgets. The 43 Republicans in the House made this recommendation, but it sadly fell on the deaf ears of over one hundred Democrats/Progressives.

Zuckerman finishes his appeal by noting: “I have been fighting for legislation that would lift up working families since I was first elected in 1997.” Over that time he has had large majorities, even super-majorities, of Democrats and Progressives in the legislature to make that happen, as well as Democratic governors, and currently every statewide and federal office holder. So, big question for the voters: how’s this working out? Are you feeling lifted up? Or are you feeling beaten down by what David Zuckerman and his colleagues have done to you over the past 23 years?

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR
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14 thoughts on “Deb Billado: Zuckerman is the problem, not the solution

  1. To a person earning minimum,wage Zuckerman is a hero, they will see a wage increase due to him, this is how they win, despite us tellint the truth.

    This minimum wage increase will not lift them from poverty. Despite having the highest minimum wage in the nation For decades Vermont is always the most unaffordable and the poverty keeps growing.

    Why? Because their is always “shrink”‘when money goes through the hands of government. Vermont has created the perfect poverty trap, politicians, lobbyists and well connected people are getting rich by keeping Vermonters poor and dependent.

    We’ll raise your minimum wage,,,,,,,,,but what they leave out is,,,,,,you’ll never have a higher paying job, you’ll never own your own home, you’ll never get ahead…..some in government unwittingly, some knowingly foster the break down of families, women and children through government policy.

    This is Vermonts biggest problem.

    • More anti-employer shenanigans at work here, what happens when the cost of doing business goes up?? Raising the minimum wage is just that, raising the cost of doing business!!! The employer has to raise his prices to cover the wage increase, so in the end it may even out. They make more money, but may end up paying more in the end due to rising prices to cover increased wages!! So glad I went to rocket science school, it took all of my schooling to figure this one out!! The state says they want more business to move here!! So here is more of my rocket science training, I have a business, should I move it to VT where minimum wage will be over 12 dollars an hour or to N.H where it is 7.25 an hour!! Hmmm, Will someone help me figure this one out, I broke my rocket scientist calculator!!

  2. Great article.
    The only way anything will ever change is people need to stop voting the same people in.

  3. Dem/Progs want to take from those who DO NOT VOTE FOR THEM and give it to those who DO VOTE FOR THEM.

    That is a basic rule.

    Dem/Progs think grabbing some FEDERAL money, for what ever purpose, including EB-5, is EVEN BETTER.

    Dem/Progs make their careers in GOVERNMENT, not in the PRIVATE SECTOR, which they think is theirs for plucking as much as possible, even if the plucking is excessive and kills the golden goose.

  4. The raise in minimum raise, will only raise the cost of everything we buy, to to pay for the increase in the minimum wage. They really can’t see that one will have to offset the other?? God, Dem’s are just plain ignorant!

  5. WOW!!! “Zuckerman finishes his appeal by noting: “I have been fighting for legislation that would lift up working families since I was first elected in 1997”.

    THAT’S THE PROBLEM!!!! Move on, get to hell out. Get off the taxpayer payroll. produce something, anything on your own. Leave VT in your dust and go to Cuba as BS is hyping as a nice place to live. Sit on a beach and sip Pina Colada. See if you can survive on your own. Take your hair-do with yourself.

  6. With the Democrats and Progressives in power, I can see BANKRUPTCY ahead for the ONCE GREAT State of Vermont. Many Mom’s and Pop’s earn LESS than $15 per hr. after all the taxes and fees levied on them!! Why bother working yourself to death when you can let the State in all it’s infinite wisdom support you???

  7. Driving the economy into crisis, enlarging the number of unemployed government dependents and disincentivising the production of enough dwelling facilities for competition to force down the cost of occupancy – sounds like a deliberate attempt to create the problems that Socialists will use to falsely promote themselves and their Big Rock Candy Mountain solutions. Paradoxically, the further they march toward that shimmering illusion the further away it becomes. The psychologist’s label for a subject who creates problems in order to (falsely) promote himself as the solution is, unsurprisingly, The Hero Complex.

  8. Zuckerman, number two in the state, and can’t figure out why the state is in
    turmoil………… wow, and this clown wants to be in the Governors Seat, you
    can’t make this stuff up.

    All anyone needs to do is look at his record while in the Golden Dome !!

    Just one more in Montpelier that needs to go, Vermont deserves better.

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