Date: March 4, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VTGOP STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR SHUMLIN’S PICK FOR HEALTH CARE LOBBYIST
Nease is Anti-Business, Anti-Jobs
Montpelier, Vt. — Last week Governor Peter Shumlin announced that he has tapped former Representative Floyd Nease to be his new lobbyist for single payer health care. Outside of the obvious question of, “Why does a democrat Governor need a special lobbyist solely to persuade a democrat dominated legislature to vote in favor of a centerpiece of democrat legislation like government run, taxpayer financed healthcare?”, Vermonters are also asking, “Why is this the best person for the job?”
2015 will bring a legislative proposal — and likely a vote — on a financing mechanism for government run health care and this package of record breaking tax increases will need to pass in order to usher in single payer healthcare in 2017. (For a rundown of what some of these tax increases might look like, read the Art Woolf’s article in The Burlington Free Press (Art Woolf, February 27, 2014, How We’re Doing: Paying the tab for Vermont health care program, The Burlington Free Press). The package of tax hikes will most certainly include additional new taxes on businesses, which will likely be passed along to consumers and employees.
Given that, what is most concerning about the Governor’s hand picked appointment is his abysmal record on business issues in the legislature. In 2008, while a member of the Vermont House representing the town of Johnson, Rep. Nease received a rating of 28% on the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Report Card. In responding to questions about this failing grade, Rep. Nease said, “Last time someone asked me about it, and asked how I felt, I said, ‘I’m very disappointed — I was hoping for a zero,'” (Peter Hirschfeld, September 11, 2008, “Vermont Chamber report card hands out ‘F’s, ‘A’s”, The Rutland Herald).
“I believe many Vermonters will find this appointment odd and disturbing,” said Vermont Republican Party Chair David Sunderland, “with much of the financing for Governor Shumlin’s healthcare plan coming directly from Vermont’s businesses, why wouldn’t they be given more a voice in the legislature? This is yet another slap in the face to Vermont’s businesses and job creators by Governor Shumlin and we are asking him to rescind this appointment immediately.”
Interestingly, Vermont taxpayers are already paying two high level staffers to work with legislators on Governor Shumlin’s healthcare plans. Director of Health Care Reform Robin Lunge and Commissioner of Vermont Health Access Mark Larson have guided legislators through the frequently bungled rollout of Vermont’s healthcare exchange, Vermont Health Connect.