April 14, 2014



Action is Too Late for Hundreds of Laid-Off Vermont Workers


Montpelier, Vt. — After over 700 Vermonters have lost their jobs and Vermont’s workforce has shrunk by thousands, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin Thursday finally decided that it was time to appoint a full time Secretary for the Agency of Commerce. This comes, of course, months after Governor Shumlin found it necessary to reposition his former Commerce Secretary to the Agency of Human Services in a desperate attempt to salvage the disastrous rollout of Vermont’s healthcare exchange — Vermont Health Connect. Unfortunately, Governor Shumlin’s actions yesterday are too late for those workers already impacted by the plant closures, downsizing, and company out-of-state relocations that have taken place in Vermont over the past several months.


While it is encouraging that Governor Shumlin finally sees the importance of having someone at the helm of the state’s agency in charge of jobs and economic development, it continues to be discouraging that he has offered no clear, tangible, and fully supported economic development plan for our state. His token attempt to show some initiative on the subject recently — by reciting the words contained in a House Republican economic development plan — fell short when he offered no plan to fund the very initiatives he was promoting. That’s a common theme for this Governor.


Vermonters need more than administrators and hollow economic development plans. The hundreds of newly unemployed Vermonters — and the thousands more whose jobs may be threatened in the future — need real action and a strong commitment from the Governor to growing jobs, reducing the cost of living and doing business in our state, and reviving our stagnate economy. The thousands of Vermonters who have left the state to look for work elsewhere or have given up looking for a job deserve more than this.


Aggressive plans to reduce Vermont’s tax burden — including the property tax burden, a balanced energy policy that reduces costs on families and job creators while preserving our environment, and full transparency about Governor Shumlin’s projected $2.2-billion government run healthcare tax are positive steps that could help facilitate job growth and ease the economic crisis our state is experiencing. Unfortunately, this type of courageous economic development action seems as distant as the lost jobs of hundreds of Vermonters.


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