Montpelier, VT – Governor Shumlin today delivered his sixth and final budget address. Regardless of his rosy rhetoric, exaggerated successes and distorted view of Vermont’s current economic status, Vermonters will not be fooled. They know the failed policies of the past — championed by Governor Shumlin and his Democrat majority — haven’t worked for the previous 5 years and they won’t work in the new year either.
Vermont Democrats have consistently passed state budgets that have grown at least twice as fast as most Vermonters’ paychecks. In fact, in the last six fiscal years Vermont Democrats have increased taxes and spending by over $300,000,000 dollars — that’s about $50 million each year, on average.
The economic burden of these Democrat policies is crushing people. In reality, during the same period Democrats were driving taxes and spending even higher, Vermont’s workforce shrunk by 15,400 people and the number of employed Vermonters dropped by 7,100. This has left already struggling working Vermonters to carry a larger and larger share of the ever increasing burden of the Old Government policies of Vermont’s Democrats. It’s not fair government and it’s certainly not good government.
But the problems go far beyond the Democrat’s failed and outdated policies, bloated line items and misleading revenue and job creation projections.
For the past 5-years, Vermont Democrats and Governor Shumlin have refused to acknowledge the financial struggles — and stagnant wages — that Vermonters deal with every day. They have failed to listen to those whom they serve. And they continue to deny Vermont’s growing Crisis of Affordability.
Year after year — despite controlling all of state government — Vermont’s Democrats have declined to acknowledge, much less meet, the budget challenges created by their failed policies. Instead, they have consistently and stubbornly pushed the same Old Government policies forward hoping to get a different result. And, sadly, this year will be no exception.
Making Vermont more affordable will require balance in Montpelier, the courage to acknowledge we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing, and the political will to take action. Vermont Republicans are ready to lead our state in a new, more affordable and more responsible direction. It’s time for a change — but Governor Shumlin’s budget is just much more of the same.