The Facts vs. Shumlin’s Rhetorical Fiction
1. “Our economic development policies have worked, our economy has recovered and we are creating jobs for Vermonters”
In fact, Governor Shumlin and the Democrat supermajority in the legislature have offered no comprehensive statewide economic development policy since taking office. Vermont’s economy remains stagnant and as recently as last week we learned that state revenues will again come in below expectations. Vermont’s workforce has shrunk by over 8,800 workers since Governor Shumlin first took office and layoffs have impacted hundreds of Vermonters in all corners of our state. Even today, thousands more Vermonters are living with the potential of further layoffs.
2. “Vermont is more affordable now than it was four years ago when I was first elected. Our cost of living has been reduced.”
Governor Shumlin and the Democrat supermajority in the legislature have driven costs higher in Vermont. Our state budgets have increased at twice the rate — or more — of most Vermonters’ paychecks. Their energy policies have taken Vermont from a state with relatively low energy costs to one with some of the highest energy costs in the country. Among the many tax increase imposed on Vermonters over the past two years by the Shumlin administration are; a new 5% statewide property tax increase (for a total 14% increase in residential property tax rates over the past four years), a doubling of Vermonters’ health care claims tax and a gas tax increase of 5.9 cents per gallon.
3. “We listened to Vermonters and understood that the drastic increases in property taxes across Vermont were unbearable to our working families and small businesses. We rolled up our sleeves and developed a new system that was fair, understandable, preserved the quality of our state’s education system and provided relief for all of Vermont’s property taxpayers.”
Governor Shumlin and the Democrat supermajority in the legislature have offered no solutions to Vermont’s oppressive property tax issue. In fact, they have blocked every attempt by Republicans to reform our state’s broken educational funding system. Meanwhile our working families, young people, seniors and small business owners continue to struggle to pay for a system that deprives them of local control and of any hope for a simpler and more affordable system in the future.
4. “Here is the financing plan that will detail for Vermonters all the tax and fee hikes that will be necessary to pay for my +$2.2-billion taxpayer funded, government run single payer healthcare plan.”
Governor Shumlin was required by law to provide Vermonters with the financing plan for his health care scheme in January 2013. Vermonters are still waiting and Governor Shumlin has now said he will not provide a plan until after the election. The Democrat supermajority in the legislature has failed to demand that Governor Shumlin comply with the law.
5. “I have worked tirelessly on behalf of all Vermonters — 24/7 — and made the resolution of the issues they are facing my top priority.”
Governor Shumlin has been out of state about 25% of the time since he first took office. His fundraising junkets have taken him to destinations across the country as he raised huge amounts of money for the politically partisan Democratic Governor’s Association — and his own re-election campaign — amassing over a million dollars for his own campaign war chest. In the midst of Vermont layoffs, economic hardships, health care exchange leadership crises and tragic human services failures, Governor Shumlin has taken frequent extended vacations in Canada and on his private beaches in the Caribbean.