For Immediate Release
Date: July 28, 2014
Contact: Dave Sunderland, VT Republicans Chair
STATEMENT REGARDING VERMONT’S REVENUE SHORTFALL
Governor Shumlin Continues Economic Denial as Working Families Struggle to Make Ends Meet
Montpelier, VT – Vermont’s working families, young people, senior citizens and small businesses are feeling the pinch of Vermont’s stagnant economy.
State budgets that increase at twice the rate of Vermonters’ paychecks, out-of-balance energy policies that cause household electricity costs to increase and property taxes that are out of control all add to the difficulty working Vermonters have just making ends meet.
Making things worse, over the past several months we have seen hundreds of good jobs evaporate or move out of state — Plasan Composites in Bennington County, Kennemetal in Caledonia County, Energizer Battery in Franklin County, and hundreds more at IBM in Chittenden County. Add to that a state workforce that has declined by over 8,000 workers in the four years that Governor Shumlin has been in office and it is obvious that our economy is struggling.
The slowdown in our economic engine was further evidenced last week when state economists revised downward our state’s projected revenue for the current fiscal year by $31 million dollars. Revenues from personal income taxes and sales and use taxes saw the biggest shortfalls. These are ominous signs that Vermont’s economic engine is misfiring, yet there is still no plan for economic improvement from Governor Shumlin or the lopsided Democrat supermajority in the legislature.
According to Governor Shumlin there is no problem with the economy. In a videotaped interview by FOX44 on Thursday, Governor Shumlin — reacting to the revenue shortfall — continued his denial of any economic trouble, saying “Cheer up, we’re growing, our economy is in good shape.” (David Hodges, Vermont Tax Revenues Down from Projections, Cuts Needed – minute 1:04, myChamplainValley.com, July 24, 2014).
The hundreds of thousands of Vermonters who have seen their cost of living go up and their standard of living go down, the thousands who are now underemployed and working multiple part time jobs to make ends meet, the hundreds more who have lost their good jobs completely, and all working families who are having to work harder and keep less of their own pay would disagree with Governor Shumlin that all is well.
Vermont Republicans are listening to Vermonters and we hear their deep concerns for our state’s economic future.
An objective review of the data proves their concerns are real — jobs are being lost, our workforce is shrinking, our cost of living is rising — and the Shumlin administration and the Democrat Legislature are failing to address the needs of working families.
With the support of Vermont voters in November, Vermont Republicans will make growing the economy, creating jobs and making Vermont more affordable the top priorities in Montpelier. We will lead the effort to identify and remove the hurdles that prevent the growth of good jobs in our state. We will promote policies that reduce the tax burden — including the property tax burden — on working families. And we will work alongside existing employers to assure they are able to thrive, not just survive.
The impetus to change comes first from the realization that there is a problem to solve. Denial of our state’s fiscal crisis by the political elite in Montpelier — including Governor Shumlin and the Democrat supermajority in the legislature — assures that struggling Vermonters will continue to be trapped in the same crisis of affordability that has engulfed them over the past four years.
Vermont Republicans are listening and we are ready to lead our state in a new, more hopeful and more prosperous direction.
It’s time for a change.