For Immediate Release
Contact: Representative Don Turner
January 29, 2015
House Republicans seek for more transparency from the Shumlin Administration on Vermont Health Connect
MONTPELIER – Mary Morrissey R-Bennington offered an amendment to the annual budget adjustment act today which would have required the Shumlin Administration to deliver a full accounting of state and federal expenditures through 12/31/14 on the development and implementation of the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange as well as any projected remaining development and implementation costs through 12/31/15. Further, it proposed to require the administration to disclose the remaining balance of federal grants awarded to Vermont and projected expenditures for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 for the sustainable operations of the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange by funding source and by department, delineating the recurring and nonrecurring cost components for the operation. The amendment would have required that this information be conveyed to the legislature prior to releasing of the additional $9.3 million requested by the administration for FY15 in the budget adjustment act.
Unfortunately, the majority would not allow this important amendment which was offered to improve government transparency to be passed with a Republican as lead sponsor. As a result, they substituted a very similar amendment sponsored by the appropriations chairperson in place of Morrissey’s amendment. The substitute amendment ultimately passed on a roll call vote of 137-0. It is very ironic that this action occurred just one day after legislative leadership hosted a seminar focused on how members should treat one another in the course of their legislative work.
Vermont House Minority Leader, Rep. Don Turner (R-Milton) stated “that our caucus has been trying to obtain this information for well over a year. We reluctantly supported the substitute amendment because it moves us closer to receiving this very important information. This lack of transparency by the Shumlin Administration is bad for Vermont. Vermonters deserve better!”