While Governor Vacations, Again…Health Care Reform and Economy Continue to Falter

Montpelier, VT – With continued reports of incompetence and mismanagement within Vermont’s $75 million healthcare exchange, more dismal news about Vermont’s stagnant economy and upheaval in the Agency of Human Services, Vermonters have every right to be concerned about the Shumlin administration’s basic administrative competency in Vermont’s most crucial areas.

A recently released 166 page review of Vermont’s health exchange — Vermont Health Connect – laid blame for the website rollout disaster clearly on the doorstep of the Shumlin administration. The state’s newly hired health exchange administrator, Optum, identified the Shumlin administration’s lack of effective management — and leadership — for the failures of the health exchange project. The report repeatedly pointed to a lack of leadership, a lack of ownership and a lack of management by the Shumlin administration on this $75-million dollar taxpayer funded project.

For an administration that is desperately trying to convince Vermonters that it is capable of managing and leading a taxpayer sponsored government takeover of the state’s entire healthcare system — through Governor Shumlin’s single payer health care proposal — this is terrible news.

For the thousands of Vermonters who have seen choices decline and premiums increase, while being forced into a malfunctioning and ineffective health exchange website, the news is even worse. Vermonters deserve better.

Signs that Vermont’s stagnant economy is still struggling continue to pour in — further confirming that Governor Shumlin’s strategy of denying Vermonters’ economic hardships isn’t working. New reports show that in the month of August Vermont’s revenues missed their targets again — this time by over $3.5 million dollars. These are the newly adjusted targets that were lowered just last month. Vermont’s income tax revenues continue to underperform projections and are clearly a symptom of our state’s struggling job growth and shrinking workforce.

Most shockingly, Governor Shumlin and the Democrat supermajority in the legislature — in an election year — continue their denial of the problem and still have not presented a comprehensive statewide economic development plan to get our economy moving again.

Instead, our Governor has spent nearly 25% of his time out of state since taking office. Whether it be vacations in Canada or the Caribbean, fundraisers with political bigwigs at various venues nationwide, or rubbing elbows with the Washington D.C. political elite, Governor Shumlin is often out of state and increasingly out of touch with the needs of those who elected him as their governor. Struggling Vermonters — our young people, seniors, working families and small business owners — need more than this from leaders.

It’s time for a new vision and new leadership in Montpelier. Vermonters deserve leaders that will thoughtfully listen and make policy decisions based on facts — not politics. They need an administration and legislature that will tackle the problems that Vermonters are facing head-on and offer clear and positive solutions to create jobs and get our economy moving, lower Vermont’s crushing affordability crisis and lead our state with clarity, accountability and transparency. They deserve leadership that is willing to roll up it’s sleeves and engage with Vermonters everyday — and stay within our state’s borders to do it.

This is exactly the type of leadership Vermont Republicans are offering. With clarity and courage we offer strong and positive alternatives to Vermont’s current path.

By removing the roadblocks to job creation, we will bring new hope to the thousands of Vermonters that have given up looking for a job or are struggling to make ends meet by working multiple part time jobs.

By reigning in unsustainable spending and tax increases, we can ease the oppressive tax burden on Vermonters and make Vermont a more affordable place to live, work and raise a family.

And by making decisions based on facts and evidence instead of partisan political ideology we will provide health care solutions for Vermonters that drive quality and access higher while increasing the number of choices available to Vermonters, all at a cost they can afford.

This is what Vermonters want and deserve. It’s time for a change.