Politically Bruised Governor Avoids Issues Most Important to Vermonters

Montpelier, VT – After barely surviving his re-election bid, Governor Shumlin chose to deliver an inaugural address Thursday that ignored the issues that most concerned Vermonters — strengthening the economy and reducing the cost of living.

Governor Shumlin had the opportunity to demonstrate that he was listening, that he heard the voice of Vermonters and that he was ready to respond with definitive action to help grow our state’s economy, create jobs and ease Vermont’s crisis of affordability that is crushing working Vermonters.

Unfortunately, Governor Shumlin disappointed Vermonters, again and the incompetent management of state government continues.

Also absent from his inaugural address was any reference to the ongoing $100-million budget structural deficit that he, House Speaker Shap Smith and the rest of the Democrats in the Legislature have knowingly created. He also did not mention any plans to finally fix Vermont’s disastrous health care exchange — Vermont Health Connect — which has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and still does not function properly, nearly a year and a half after it’s bungled launch.

There was no talk of reducing the crushing tax burden — including the property tax burden — that hit’s every working Vermonter’s pocketbook.

Governor Shumlin did, however, address one area of affordability — energy policy and electricity costs. Unfortunately, he went all in on a host of policies that will add additional — and highly regressive — costs to already overburden rate payers.

The inaugural speech was a chance for Governor Shumlin to show that he listened and heard the voice of Vermonters. He had the opportunity to demonstrate that he was willing to turn away from the failed policies and practices of his first two terms — and many years in the state senate — and finally begin to address the chronic problems those policies have created over the last six years of one party rule. Unfortunately, he failed to provide the necessary leadership.

Instead, his “solutions” for excessive spending in state government are to “double down” on the very policies and practices that have created our state’s fiscal mess in the first place.

Vermont’s working families, struggling small businesses, seniors and young people were all hoping to hear of a new direction, and find a new hope in the inaugural address from Governor Shumlin. Instead, they heard a message that promised more of the same.

Vermonters deserve better.

Vermont Republicans, through our legislative leadership, have promised Vermonters that starting to fix the stagnant Shumlin economy will be our top priority. Removing the obstacles to job creation, providing new opportunities for Vermonters to earn a better wage and getting our state’s skyrocketing cost-of-living under control are the issues that Vermonters are most concerned about — and they will be the focus of Republican efforts in this legislative session.

That is the kind of focus and leadership Vermonters demand and it is what Vermont Republicans have pledged to deliver.