Editor of the Reformer:
The end of the 2017 legislative session left many, in and outside the Statehouse, heaving a sigh of relief that we avoided a government shut down because of the Governor's Veto of the state budget.
It also left many observers of the political landscape wondering if Veto's and Government Shutdowns, were a nationwide Republican strategy. This year enough Republican Governors fostered state government shutdowns and vetoes, to raise that possibility .
Gov. LePage of Maine has himself, vetoed over 450 bills during his 6 years in office, while Illinois,Maine and New Jersey governments were shut down. NJ being the most infamous with the photo of the Republican Governor sunning on a state beach that was closed to all other people in New Jersey.)
Is this a part of self fulfilling Republican prophesies that "government doesn't work"... hence, "government is the problem"?
Here in Vermont, Gov. Scott took it right to the brink by vetoing the same budget he proclaimed approval for a couple of months earlier. A veto over approximate savings of $12 per year for each property tax payer. For that $12, the Governor's Veto was risking a government shutdown that could affect the whole state economy for years .
Talk about putting Politics before People. And, not with what I'd call sound fiscal leadership.
And, now we hear the spin put on this, by the Governor in his recent Op-Ed, that the Governor's Veto was needed to makes sure the budget didn't increase spending or taxes.
This from the same Governor who's first budget, if passed as proposed, would have raised statewide property taxes by $50 Million.
The same Governor who told his staff NOT to talk with Legislators about working together on the budget to cover the $50 Million hole in his proposal.
And, all this in regards to the budget that passed both the Vermont Senate and House of Representatives with only 1(one) dissenting vote. A budget, as noted above ,that he said he approved because it didn't raise spending or taxes.
And, now he wants to take credit by saying ,it was his Governor's Veto that kept the budget in line.
My concern now is this raises the specter of more Governor's Veto's to follow. That with so few Republican votes in the Vermont Senate and House, this self proclaimed, "moderate who knows how to work with the Democratic majorities", will turn his next campaign slogan into ,'Veni, Vidi, Veto".
We will see in the 2018 legislative session if the Governor was emboldened by this Veto. If this will be the default tactic, to try and govern by Veto, rather than actually work together to get things done that Vermonters need. Things that aren't happening in Washington because of the intransigence of the White House, like;
Health Care , A Clean/Green Economy that works for all and leaves a cleaner planet for our children, and equal treatment for all.
Those are part of the agenda needed to build a stronger, healthier Vermont. And, working together. Without Governor's veto's or threats of a shutdown. The big question will be, if politics will trump good policy ?
Lip service and spin won't get these things done.
And Veto's are not governance.
Looking ahead to 2018, time will tell.
Vermont State Representative
Windham4 District- Putney, Dummerston, Westminster, Aug. 3