Contact: David Sunderland, VT Republican Chair
Date: October 20, 2014


Montpelier, VT – Along with thousands of hardworking Vermonters, their families and hundreds of small business owners who depend on a vibrant workplace at the Essex Jct., VT facility, Vermont Republicans today breathe a sigh of relief that the immediate loss of jobs at the former IBM plant appears to have been avoided.

We are pleased that in purchasing the division GlobalFoundaries recognized the quality of the workers at the site and has indicated it will operate this plant “for the foreseeable future.”

What Peter Shumlin didn’t mention is that GlobalFoundaries will seek to make its new acquisition profitable — something IBM had struggled to do for several years. That’s why there will be much work to do to make Vermont a more affordable place to do business and assure that these, and other, jobs remain in Vermont for the long term.

Without a significant change in state policy, the uncertainty that has plagued IBM employees in Essex Jct. and surrounding communities for the past few years will remain and will continue to jeopardize the long term viability of the region.

Vermont needs a real and comprehensive statewide economic development plan that addresses the challenges current and potential job creators face in our state. After 6-years of one-party Democrat rule in the legislature and 4-years of Governor Shumlin’s administration, we still have no economic development plan that will offer hope and additional opportunities for Vermont’s working families. There has been no shortage of rhetoric, however.

We also must address the underlying issues that contributed to the uncertainty around the former IBM jobs in the first place. Vermont needs a renewed and dedicated commitment to improving its transportation infrastructure — include the Circ Highway.

An efficient and effective transportation system is critical for job creators to import raw materials to their operations and to export their goods to the state’s marketplace and beyond.

Reasonable and affordable energy is also central to a cost effective operation that depends heavily on electricity. Vermont needs to balance its renewable energy goals with costs that Vermont employers — and our working families — can afford. So far, our renewable energy policy has resulted in less competitive electric rates and higher costs for working families. This is particularly concerning when you consider that the vast majority of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and livestock — not electric generation — and our trees consume more carbon than our state produces.

Vermont must also renew its investment in young people by making in-state tuition more affordable at our state’s university and its state college system. By keeping our young people in our state for college, we can keep a greater number of them here as they start their careers. A growing and well trained workforce is paramount to facilitating growth in our existing businesses and is a major consideration among those who may look to grow their businesses into Vermont.

Without prejudice, we need to review our mandates and regulations with a critical but reasoned eye. We must keep those guidelines that preserve the traditional values that make Vermont such a special place, but revise those that create unnecessary bureaucracy and unpredictability without adding value.

It is disappointing that none of these important factors to job growth — and job preservation — have occurred over the past four years under the watch of Governor Shumlin or the last six years under the Democrat supermajority in the legislature.

We are relieved — as are all Vermonters — that the thousands of jobs at the former IBM plant in Essex Jct. appear to have been preserved in the site’s sale to GlobalFoundaries, for now.

However, Vermonters want and deserve strong and clear pro-growth leadership that will not only help keep these jobs viable for the long term, but will also usher in an era of new and better job opportunities for Vermonters across the state.

With the support of voters on November 4th, we will deliver on our promise of a strong economic development plan that preserves existing jobs, enables the growth of new jobs and offers new and expanded opportunities for Vermonters. It’s what they want and deserve.

It’s time for a change.