Stagnant Peter Shumlin and Shap Smith Economy Continues to Weigh on Vermonters

Montpelier, VT – When Governor Peter Shumlin was first inaugurated in January of 2011 — and when Democrats took complete control of state government — Vermont had 338,550 workers employed and our overall workforce was 359,500 strong. Though we had struggled through the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Vermont was poised and ready for economic recovery.

Since then, however, Governor Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith and the Democrat majority in the State House, have presided over an economy that has forced 2,900 Vermonters to the unemployment line — resulting in only 335,650 employed in April.

As of the April jobs report released today by the Department of Labor, Vermont’s workforce has also contracted to 348,300 workers — an alarming drop of 11,200 Vermonters!

This declining workforce number isn’t just a number — it represents real people. The 11,200 Vermonters who have left our workforce are casualties of a stagnant state economy. These are neighbors who have been forced to leave Vermont to look for jobs elsewhere, stopped looking for work, or who have retired and have not been replaced by younger workers.

The April 2015 jobs report displays what Vermonters have experienced everyday for the last 5 years: Vermont’s economy is not growing; jobs are not growing; and wages are not growing.

While Vermont’s economy remains hopelessly stagnant, the one thing that is growing is the cost of living.

These costs are driven substantially by expensive, frequently experimental, public policy and an outdated state government that is no longer efficiently meeting the needs of the people it serves.

In the meantime, Governor Shumlin and Speaker Smith continue to insist that the solution to our challenges will be legislation that makes living, working and raising a family in Vermont more difficult and costly. In the recently concluded legislative year, they raised taxes on Vermonters by another $30-million dollars. They passed a state budget that increased much faster than Vermonters paychecks and set Vermont up for yet another budget deficit next year — to the tune of $70-million dollars.

Vermonters deserve better.

Vermont Republicans are dedicated to removing the obstacles to job creation in our state, promoting new and expanded opportunities for Vermonters to earn more money and letting Vermonters keep more of what they earn.

We continue our laser-like focus on making state government more efficient and effective and boldly taking on the tough challenges to make our state more affordable for our young people, seniors, working families and small businesses.

The April jobs report shows just how badly Vermont needs leadership that listens.