As your governor, I will:
• Change Vermont’s heavy-handed regulatory environment so businesses can create and keep jobs.
• Insist on the $21 million refund for Central Vermont Public Service Ratepayers.
• Replace Governor Shumlin’s government monopoly, single-payer health care plan with your choice of plans from many insurers.
• Simplify the tax code and even the load by making sure everyone pays at least something.
• Challenge the educational establishment that permits costs to increase every year while student enrollment falls and test scores stagnate at unimpressive levels.
• Stop subsidizing pie-in-the-sky wind and solar projects and embrace a mixed portfolio of natural gas, nuclear, hydro, biomass and, yes, wind and solar when they’re economically viable.
Reduce Government Regulations so Businesses Can Prosper and Hire More People
I started a business here in Vermont and grew it to maturity, employing hundreds. I know what entrepreneurs need from government: get out of the way! And I know reduced tax rates stimulate business, which creates more jobs…which generates more tax revenue. But Vermont government policies restrain existing businesses and kill job development. Those same policies fail to attract new businesses to our state that could bring new jobs. So, I’ll crack down on “No Growth” attitudes in our regulatory agencies, I’ll work to lower taxes and permit fees, and I’ll personally go hunting nationwide for businesses to relocate here. I’ll change the “business UN-friendly” environment in Vermont because I want the next generation of Vermonters to be able to achieve their dreams right here.
Return the $21 million to Central Vermont Public Service Ratepayers
Ratepayers deserve to be paid back. It is as simple as that. I will continue to challenge Governor Shumlin and the Public Service Board until they agree to return the $21 million that thousands of CVPS ratepayers are owed. Sign the petition today to tell Governor Shumlin to restrain his appetite for somebody else’s money and pay the ratepayers back. It’s their money, not the government’s.
Sign the petition today to tell the Governor to pay the ratepayers back.
Reconsider Every Tax
Can you explain how the property tax system works, especially the crucial “coefficient of dispersion” clause? Do you know how many Vermonters operate in the underground economy to evade all taxes and how many good jobs are moving out of state because we’ve forced well-paid workers to take up the slack? Vermont’s incredibly complex tax system is the product of years of special interest infighting, and the result is an impenetrable maze and one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. That has awful consequences, especially for retired people and businesses. But there are only two things certain in life: Democrats do not know how to cut taxes, and the Shumlin Administration never will. So you have my word that simplifying the tax system and lowering your taxes will be a real priority of my administration because you can stimulate the economy with your money much better than government can.
Bring Business Management Tools to Government
Vermont government is inefficient largely because every department sets next year’s budget simply by adding to the current budget. As your State Auditor, I found millions of dollars in fraud, waste, abuse and error in Medicaid alone. But as your governor, I will introduce “zero-based budgeting,” which forces every senior bureaucrat to prepare his or her next year’s budget by starting with a blank sheet of paper and justifying every expenditure anew every year to a cabinet officer I appoint. I will also institute for each agency of government a rigorous performance measurement system that will tell me, the agency management team and the public how well the agency is achieving its goals. All of this, of course, is standard operating procedure in the many lean and profitable businesses I’ve managed, but it is sadly missing in Vermont state government.
Institute Multiple Free Market Health Care Reforms
I continue to oppose Governor Shumlin’s single-payer, government monopoly health care plan because it will impose rationing, limit choice, and inevitably collapse under the weight of increased costs. Only two people should be in charge of your health care: you and your doctor, not a government bureaucrat.
Fortunately, great improvements are possible that don’t involve a government takeover of one sixth of our economy. Vermont insurance regulators should offer more advice and impose fewer mandates, invite new insurers to enter the Vermont market to give consumers more plans to choose from, allow generous health savings account rules and high deductible policies, permit lower premiums and/or premium rebates for healthy lifestyles, simplify common administrative procedures, institute tort reform that protects doctors who don’t order needless tests, and lets coverage follow people regardless of where they work. With the money saved by these and other actions, we can ensure that health insurance is available to everyone and no Vermonter is bankrupted by catastrophic illness.
Restrain the Education Establishment and Lower Property Taxes
Education costs have increased every year for decades while student enrollment has fallen and test scores have stagnated at unimpressive levels. That’s outrageous. And property owners and students are BIG losers in this system. We need to rationalize the education funding system to make it fairer and easier to understand. We need to eliminate duplication in administration and overhead. We need to better use technology to extend the reach of specialized educational services and curriculum to even our smallest schools. We should allow school boards the flexibility to come up with innovative ways to share resources across district lines. We know that a huge number of our teachers are nearing retirement age and that major changes in our teaching workforce are on the way. What better time to reinvent Vermont’s educational system for the future?
Remember People Are a Natural Resource
Vermont’s environment is well protected, and that’s as it should be. But our bewildering array of environmental rules and laws has created a widespread perception that government bureaucrats consider Vermont’s people the least important part of that environment. As your governor, I will ensure that we maintain America’s cleanest and most pristine environment. But I’ll also insist that permitting is made clear, transparent, timely and certain. Decisions on permits will take days or weeks, not months or years; and the rules will be clear enough to discourage endless appeals.
Restore Sound Energy Policy
Governor Shumlin has gambled Vermont’s entire energy future on a pie-in-the-sky fantasy that wind and sunlight can power a modern economy. His massive, taxpayer-funded subsidies to a small number of politically-connected solar/wind companies will force all Vermonters to pay up to 800% more for that portion of their electricity for years to come. Governor Shumlin’s 2012 expansion of these schemes will cost ratepayers more than $95 million over the next 20 years just to reduce Vermont’s carbon emissions by less than 1%. But we already have one of the cleanest electric generation portfolios in the nation. So I will continue to support a mixture of hydro, nuclear, natural gas, biomass and, yes, a little bit of wind and solar until that technology becomes cost-effective. Meanwhile, until we thoroughly study the potential environmental damage caused by large-scale, industrial wind development, my administration will demand a moratorium on it. I call this overall policy “realistic.”
As a Vietnam veteran, I know how important veterans are to the fabric of our state and the value they bring to our local economy. Veterans who have fought to defend our country should not have to fight to be treated with the respect that they deserve and to receive the benefits that they were promised. With the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vermonters have been called to serve our nation many times and it’s important that we stand by our veterans when they return home. Unemployment among veterans is too high in Vermont and we need to ensure that our heroes have help finding well-paying jobs right here in Vermont.