A Vision for Vermont

Grandma Moses said it best: “There are no Vermonters in Heaven. No sir, once they get there and a get a look at the place they turn around and head back to Vermont.” Our state is truly a special place – we have our problems, but none that can’t be solved when we work together.  That’s why I’m running for Lt. Governor, to find solutions to the issues that too many Vermonters are facing.

 

Economically we’re falling behind. In 2010, there were roughly 359,000 people working in Vermont.  Today, there are slightly less than 334,000. We’ve seen our population plateau, while our workforce shrinks and fewer of our young people choose to start their adult lives here. As our working population declines, the cost of state government becomes more and more of a burden on the rest of us.

In this same time, the cost of that burden has grown – significantly. Over the last six years, state spending has gone up nearly $700 million, helped by new taxes and fees. Property taxes have continued to rise while we educate fewer students every year. Gas taxes have gone up, fees at the DMV have gone up and as baby boomers begin to retire, Vermont continues to be one of the few states that taxes social security and full military pension benefits.  And we wonder why so many of these Vermonters choose to spend just over half the year out of state.

As Lt. Governor, my focus will be on finding ways to improve our economy to help build a vibrant and prosperous future. I’ll work with businesses, small and large, to help create an environment that is attractive to business, that fosters job growth and builds on the strengths of our economy.

As I did while serving as State Auditor, I’ll continue to look under the hood to see what state government does well and what it does poorly. My opponent feels that efficiencies and savings would be hard to find. I know better – and I know where to look.  Every tax dollar we collect is important and should be serving the public good, and if it’s not we should send it back to taxpayers.

I also don’t believe more spending and higher taxes is the answer. My opponent’s view couldn’t be more different.

He’s proposed raising income taxes on higher income Vermonters to help cover the increased costs of education, despite the risks from relying on a funding source that fluctuates greatly, likely leaving gaps that would have to be made up by additional taxes on everyone. 

He wants to implement a carbon tax on everything from gasoline and diesel fuel to propane and home heating fuel. This policy would devastate rural Vermonters, some of whom travel great distances to work every day. It would leave our most vulnerable Vermonters out in the cold as winter heating costs would skyrocket.  

And he wants to expand the sales tax to include services on everything from getting your oil changed, your driveway plowed and your haircut.

I don’t believe Vermonters can afford these new taxes and I think that after six years of Peter Shumlin’s failed policies, doubling down on them would be a mistake.

I’ve spent the last year traveling around our great state listening to the voices of so many of you. From the mother in Danville who needs affordable childcare, to the returning veteran in Arlington looking for a new start; from the factory worker in Essex concerned about his company relocating, to the dairy farmer in Sheldon, wondering how to make the milk check stretch; from the family in Bennington still on hold with Vermont Health Connection, to the young woman in Castleton wondering how she’ll pay off her student loans after graduation, Vermonters are counting on us to solve real problems for real people.

And that’s what I’ll work every day to do if given the honor of serving as your Lt. Governor.