2012 State of the State Address

Here is the text of Governor Shumlin’s State of the State Address to the Legislature:

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests, fellow Vermonters:

Thank you. It’s been such a privilege to serve as Vermont’s governor over the past year. Our partnership of community, courage, and common purpose that has empowered us through the unprecedented challenges dumped upon us by Mother Nature, combined with our willingness to make the tough choices necessary to grow jobs and economic opportunities for all Vermonters, has made us stronger.

I want to recognize a few of the thousands of Vermonters who have made us so proud in the last year, and serve as symbols of Vermont at its best.

We are so grateful to the dedicated women and men of our armed forces, whose service both overseas and during the Irene recovery has been exemplary. Please join me in honoring our Vermont troops, led by Gen. Michael Dubie.

The magnitude of devastation from Tropical Storm Irene astounded General Dubie and me as we landed in community after community in the days after the storm. I knew that we needed effective, experienced leaders to help us cut through bureaucracy and rebuild at breakneck speed as we raced winter weather. I am so grateful to our Irene Recovery Officer Neale Lunderville, who took a leave from his job to join our team in Vermont’s time of need. Neale, all Vermonters join me in thanking you for your selfless service to the state you love.

This has been an especially tough year for Vermont’s local government leaders. I want to acknowledge four of our storm-tested, hard-working mayors: Thom Lauzon, Barre; Marty Manahan, St. Albans; Chris Louras, Rutland; Mary Hooper, Montpelier: please stand so we can acknowledge your service to Vermont.

I also want to acknowledge an outstanding legal mind and a pioneer in civil rights who made history this year by joining the Vermont Supreme Court. Justice Robinson, thank you for your service to justice in Vermont.  


Today I report to you on the state of the greatest state in the nation, one that has demonstrated over the course of the past year what it means to be united as one community to overcome tragedy. In the wake of a deep recession, two spring storms, and a tropical storm that devastated our infrastructure and exacted an unimaginable toll on the lives of thousands of Vermonters, I can tell you without reservation or exaggeration: the state of our state is strong. Vermont strong!

From Halifax to Hartford, Wilmington to Waterbury, Roxbury to Richmond, the hundreds of individual actions of bravery and courage in the days and months after Irene will be forever etched in my memory. I want to share one of them.

Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, who like most local leaders was working long days without sleep after Irene, called me every few hours with progress updates on the unfolding tragedy – the search for Mike Garofano and his son, who went missing during the storm. With Route 4 nothing but a streambed in sections where roadway once ran, I came in by National Guard helicopter to join Mayor Louras and give son Tommy Garofano a bear hug from all Vermonters.

Tommy’s dad, Mike Sr., grew up in Rutland and went to work for the city for over 30 years, rising to become the manager of the water plant, a job to which he dedicated his life. Mike and his wife Sally had two sons – Mike Jr., known also as Little Mike, and Tommy; Mike also had a son Robby. Robby lost his life in a tragic accident in 2010, and Little Mike and Tommy’s tight bond with their mom and dad helped them all in the face of such adversity.

On the evening of Irene, with Mendon Brook raging, Mike and Little Mike braved through the storm to the water plant to check on the inlet valve that Mike had closed the previous day to make sure polluted water would not enter the city’s reservoir. It was a risk, but they were determined to protect Rutland’s water supply. With Mendon Brook carving craters where solid soil once stood, the banks gave way, sweeping them both away. Mike’s body was retrieved the next day, but the search for Little Mike went on for weeks.

While Sally was comforted by family and friends, Tommy heroically joined the search and rescue effort, digging through mountains of Irene’s debris looking for his brother.

Today on behalf of our state, we honor two Vermont heroes, Michael Garofano and Michael Garofano, Jr. with a promise that we will never forget. Joining us in the chamber are Sally and Tommy Garofano.

To Sally and Tommy — and the families of the six other Vermonters who lost their lives as a result of Tropical Storm Irene — our admiration and support will never cease. Thank you.

As Mayor Louras and I gave what comfort we could to Tommy on that day at Mendon Brook, something else happened that characterizes Vermont strong. With Route 4 shut down, and community after community isolated islands where roads and bridges once served, brothers John and Doug Casella had an idea. Doug said, “Governor, you get the Department of Motor Vehicles to lift the ban on hauling heavy equipment across what’s left of our roads and get us permission to retrieve some of the rock and gravel that Irene washed from our roads into our streams, and we’ll partner with other private contractors like Belden Company, Markowski Excavating, Mosher Excavating, Wilk Paving, the Agency of Transportation and the National Guard. We can have Route 4 open in three weeks.”

As soon as I got high enough in the chopper to actually have cell service in Vermont, I called Secretary Searles, Secretary Markowitz and Commissioner Ide, and within hours, our team applied Doug’s request, not just to Rutland, but to the whole state of Vermont. And guess what? Nine days later, Route 9 from Brattleboro to Wilmington to Bennington: Open. 18 days later, Route 4 from Woodstock to Rutland: Open. And today, all the roads destroyed by Irene: Open!

Team Casella, Belden, Wilk, Mosher, Markowski are here today, and I would ask you to please stand. You represent the many Vermont construction companies who, along with AOT, the Vermont National Guard and Guard troops from around the country rebuilt us Vermont Strong, and Vermont honors you today.

In this public/private partnership, with winter looming, we did it right, with Vermont ingenuity, fiscal prudence, and common sense. We rebuilt, for 35 cents on the dollar, bringing total estimated damage down to $250 million for state roads and infrastructure, and $140 million for town roads. Thanks to the skill of the best Congressional delegation in America, Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch, the Leahy amendment became law, ensuring that Vermont will get the federal aid we need in our time of need, reducing our projected cost to the General Fund to under $30 million. Please join me in recognizing the great work of Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Peter Welch as well as our partners at FEMA.


There are two Irene lessons that we must seize from our experience over the past four months.

The first lesson is clear: if after Irene we can rebuild over 500 miles of damaged roads and 34 bridges in four months for a fraction of normal cost, with dwindling federal funds in our future, we must apply those lessons to maintaining and rebuilding Vermont’s aging transportation infrastructure from this point forward. We will build faster, smarter, and more economically.

Instead of having state workers bunkered in their individual agencies, processing paper, we broke down the silos, forming a partnership between AOT, ANR, private contractors, and municipalities. Contracting procedures were modified; access to stone and gravel was expedited; dangerous debris was removed from brooks and streams as engineers worked together with environmental experts to get the job done. Projects that pre-Irene would have taken years got done in months; environmental quality was preserved; taxpayer dollars were saved; and roads and bridges were built to withstand the assault of extreme weather that looms even larger in our future.

The second lesson comes from the remarkable tenacity of the hundreds of small businesses that were drowned in water and mud, putting hard working Vermonters out of work overnight. A year ago at this podium, I pledged the following: My jobs agenda will expand the ability of emerging entrepreneurs and businesses to get access to capital when they need it most.

When Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and I traveled the state together, reaching out to the hundreds of small businesses shuttered by triple storms, our message to job creators was: We stand by you, we stand with you, and the state of Vermont will do its part in helping you get back on your feet.

Partnering with the Vermont Economic Development Authority, we created an emergency low interest loan program that, with minimal bureaucracy and maximum effectiveness, got credit of up to $100,000 to crippled job creators within days. More than 340 businesses and farms were granted loans, totaling $15.3 million. With liquidity, Vermont ingenuity and hard work, miracle after miracle happened as business after business reopened.

· Bartleby’s Bookstore in Wilmington: Open

· Leader Home Center in Brattleboro: Open

· Simon Pierce in Windsor: Open

· The Red Wagon Toy Company in Woodstock: Open

· Winhall Market in Bondville: Open

· Sunrise General Store in Bridgewater Corners: Open

· Wall-Goldfinger in Northfield: Open

· Nelson Hardware in Barre: Open

· The Rochester Café: Open

· American Flatbread in Waitsfield: Open

· Positive Pie in Montpelier: Open

And the list goes on and on. The lesson for Vermont government in helping to grow jobs in Vermont is simple: Getting credit to entrepreneurs when they need it most grows prosperity and grows jobs. In fact, there is nothing standing in the way of Vermont’s job creators that cannot be made right by a partnership with state government that is built on a foundation of common sense, trust, and expedited risk credit for businesses when others won’t lend.

Vermont’s response to Irene perfectly illustrates the strong state of our state. Perhaps the greatest lesson that we can take from the challenge of the previous four months is that despite Irene’s devastation, despite our heartbreak and pain, we are bound by common purpose.

We are also bound by tragic loss. To the hundreds of Vermonters who lost so much – lost their house, lost their belongings, lost the land that their homes rested on or the land they tilled, we stand with you in the long recovery that lies ahead, to help you close the gap between your hopes and dreams that were washed away and the paltry $30,200 maximum reimbursement afforded you by our federal government. While we know that we can never make you whole, our resolve as your neighbors and friends to continue to help you rebuild your lives remains as strong as ever.

We are so grateful to everyone who has stepped up and contributed, from the students at Moretown Elementary School who passed a jar in class to the countless church groups, non-profits and private companies who have contributed millions of dollars. Vermont musicians like Phish and Grace Potter held concerts that raised well over $1 million, and Tony Pomerleau, who just recently pledged a very generous $1 million to the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. At a youthful 93, Tony is here today. Tony, we thank you for your generosity.  

Vermonters have been so generous, but we have many miles to travel before we rest and many dollars to raise before we sleep. In that spirit, we are pleased to introduce our new Vermont Strong license plates, which can be purchased at vtstrong.vermont.gov. If you purchase this plate for the front of your vehicle, the proceeds will go to the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund to help those who need us.


I could devote this entire speech to our recovery, because I do believe that Tropical Storm Irene represents a defining moment in Vermont’s history. But now is our moment to apply that same courage, strength and ingenuity to our most pressing need: growing jobs and prosperity for all Vermonters.

Having witnessed what Vermont can do together, I have never been more optimistic about our ability to keep getting tough things done to help us grow jobs in 2012.

If we can rebuild destroyed roads and bridges in less than four months, we can meet my promise of connecting every corner of Vermont to high speed internet and vastly improved cell service by the end of 2013. In the past year, we have connected 7,500 locations, and installed 1,600 miles of fiber in our ongoing effort to connect Vermont.  We are going to keep our promise of closing Vermont’s connectivity gap and we are going to grow jobs as we connect.

If we can rebuild our transportation infrastructure at 35 cents on the dollar, we can lead the nation in arresting the skyrocketing cost of health care that is hurting job growth and picking the pockets of our struggling middle class. Your Green Mountain Health Board is hard at work building that system now.

If we can reopen hundreds of flooded businesses in 14 weeks, we can transform Vermont into the innovative education leader, where from early childhood to higher education to continuing education, we train employees for the prosperous jobs of our future. In my budget address next week, in addition to addressing the challenges and opportunities of replacing our state hospital and state office complex, I will propose significant state investments in higher education and dual enrollment, all aimed at making Vermont students even more competitive and creating opportunities for employers to recruit the employees they are now seeking.

If we can turn the lights back on in just three days for over 70,000 utility customers, thanks to the heroic work of our utilities, we can create jobs by harnessing the sun, wind, water, forests and fields to produce community-generated renewable power. We have made progress this past year, but we need to keep building. This session, I will propose requiring an affordable and achievable Renewable Energy Portfolio standard that sets a goal to obtain 75 percent renewable electricity in 20 years. I will also recommend that Vermont build on our Standard Offer program so that we can build faster.

If we can reconnect hundreds of miles of washed out dirt roads in just days so that milk trucks can get to our dairy farmers who had to dump milk during the storm, we can create jobs by fueling the renaissance in locally grown Vermont food. This year we will continue to focus on farm to plate, farm to fork, buy local, and farmer’s markets, while addressing the challenge of producing enough Vermont-grown milk to meet the needs of our value-added dairy companies.

If we can build partnerships between state and municipal governments to keep our citizens safe and secure, we can work together to address two of the most serious problems we face: winning the war on recidivism, and stemming the epidemic abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opiates, that is driving crime and destroying the lives of too many of our neighbors.

Next week, I will also propose changes to our Prescription Drug Monitoring System. Access to the system by law enforcement needs to recognize an individual’s right to privacy while giving law enforcement the tools they need to track down abusive access so we can fight our prescription drug epidemic. This growing problem is so frightening because while FDA-approved prescription opiates are easy to get, many are just as addicting and dangerous as street heroin and crack cocaine.


Since taking office a year ago, I have visited countless businesses throughout the state, and met with small business owners, from Bo Muller-Moore who had a simple idea to put the phrase “Eat More Kale” on t-shirts and now works 14 hour days to fill orders from across the country, to Briar and Adam Alpert of BioTek, a global leader in medical applications technology. I am so optimistic about our jobs future, and every day I see evidence of Vermont’s entrepreneurial success.

But we have a lot more work to do. Too many Vermonters continue to struggle to make ends meet for themselves and their families.

But to those who say that Vermont is a bad place to do business, that our bold policies for job growth aren’t getting results, that our optimism about Vermont’s jobs future is not matched by progress, I ask you to consider these facts: our unemployment rate at the peak of the recession was 7.3 percent; today it is among the lowest in America at 5.3 percent. Chittenden County now enjoys the fourth lowest unemployment rate in America. Over the past year, new jobs in Vermont grew by 62 percent over the prior year, more than any other state in the nation. Vermont ranked second in a recent study of how well states use tax breaks and economic development subsidies to actually create jobs.

If you don’t believe the data, I invite you to join me on the road, reaching out to Vermont’s job creators. Here are a few that I have visited this year.

In Newport, Bill Stenger is working on several projects in Orleans County in addition to building a world class four-season resort at Jay Peak that employs hundreds of Vermonters. Bill and his partners are bringing Anc/Bio and four other new projects that represent a $350 million investment and will produce 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in the heart of the Northeast Kingdom.

In Rutland, GE continues to expand one of the largest GE manufacturing plants of jet engines in the nation for both commercial and military aircraft.

In Castleton, Hubbardton Forge is on track to meet its goal of doubling its sales in five years.

In Barre, SB Electronics is up and running, with capacity to produce parts for 100,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles within three years.

In Essex, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is building a new plant that will employ hundreds of additional Vermonters and help fuel the exceptional growth of one of America’s most successful companies.

Next door in Essex Junction, IBM continues to innovate and create the jobs of the future. Vermont’s IBM plant is thriving and adding jobs, and is now one of the world’s largest producers of semiconductor technology, employing 6,000 people.

In Arlington, Mack Molding continues to hire and expand.

In Vergennes, Goodrich is hiring.

In Essex Junction, Revision Eyewear is thriving and has developed a new combat helmet that, if adopted by the U.S. military, will allow them to vastly expand manufacturing in Vermont.

In Newport, Louis Garneau will be building new facilities to expand manufacturing jobs.

From the Massachusetts line to the Canadian border, companies that opened this year include Commonwealth Yogurt in Brattleboro, Farmstead Cheese in Woodstock, Swan Valley Cheese in Swanton, and many other small value-added agricultural businesses are growing their customer base, creating jobs, and adding vitality to a dairy industry that is poised for revitalization.

My administration and I commit ourselves every day to attracting entrepreneurs and growing jobs, one job at a time, as we slowly but surely grow our way out of the most painful recession in our nation’s history.

Let me say one more word about staying competitive and creating jobs. Our tax policy has a direct impact on our jobs future. You may have heard me say this before: Vermont’s problem is not that our taxes are not high enough; it is that our taxes are too high.

I am a proud and strong supporter of Vermont’s progressive income tax structure – the most progressive in the country, where unlike the federal government, we require our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share of income tax. But, we cannot correct the tax failures of Washington from the State House in Montpelier, and we must be always mindful that every day, we compete with our neighboring states for jobs. Therefore, I remain determined not to increase broad-based taxes on Vermonters as we begin to see signs of modest economic growth.


Looking back on the last year, we have so much to be thankful for, and so many opportunities ahead.

As we enter this new year, partisanship continues to paralyze our democracy in Washington, DC. At a time when many of America’s cities and communities beyond Vermont’s borders often seem more divided than united, our little state has distinguished itself. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with America that could not be made right by the ingenuity and caring spirit of the people of the state of Vermont. By continuing to set aside what divides us and finding common ground to unite us, we will rebuild our state while making the bold decisions that will lead to continued job growth and a bright future for Vermont.

Let’s get back to work. Thank you.  

21 thoughts on “2012 State of the State Address

  1. Vermont’s problem is not that our taxes are not high enough; it is that our taxes are too high.

    And this little beauty:

    we require our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share of income tax. But, we cannot correct the tax failures of Washington from the State House in Montpelier, and we must be always mindful that every day, we compete with our neighboring states for jobs. Therefore, I remain determined not to increase broad-based taxes on Vermonters as we begin to see signs of modest economic growth.

    Now we know what our wealthy governor thinks is “fair.”  

    Couldn’t leave it alone, could you, Governor? Just had to pick the collective scab of growing income inequity by suggesting the arrangement is somehow “fair.”  By implication, that suggests that the poor somehow deserve to have less.

    So, we’ll pass over getting the rich to contribute a tiny bit more from their bonanza of profit to a population in need, but he’ll righteously raise taxes on the vices of the poor,

    like soda pop.

    In classic “have” fashion, His Lordship completely ignores the greater benefit derived by the rich from the system as a whole.

    Sorry if this seems disproportionately harsh.  

    It probably is; but what the hell does he expect when he makes ungracious statements like this?


  2. Montpelier isn’t going to change the way that multinationals and huge American companies and individuals have dodged paying their fair share. We don’t have enough of these folks to put that much of a dent in the problem. That job needs to be done in Washington, which is fubar until we lose some of these freshman congressmen and change leadership in the House.

    Also, the taxation issue is less of a huge deal when it looks like the budget gap is narrowing and we may get what we need in terms of Irene recovery funding, improved conditions for the mentally ill, etc. by leveraging federal funds better, finding innovative ways to use some of the resources we already have and cutting costs (like how many prisoners we have out of state) that won’t cost jobs in Vermont.

  3. Kudos to everyone the Governor acknowledged in his speech (minus the Lunderville gush) but I was disappointed he didn’t share the moment with Vermont State Hospital employees. The VSH employees certainly weren’t alone in their selfless efforts during Irene, but the fact that, in addition to protecting themselves, they had to ensure Vermont’s most vulnerable were safe, I think their efforts were worthy of a shout-out. Just think the axe could have come off the grinder for a day.

  4. to energy going forward. the energy plan may not be perfect, but it certainly is nice to have someone in montpelier thinking about this stuff in a systematic way.

    also like the nice nod to local agriculture; he seems to be finally helping state ag  make the pivot off of dairy and into the future.  

  5. The thing that struck me most was Gov. Shumlin holding up the new commemorative license plate: “I Am Vermont Strong.”

    Yes, I know it comes from a well-intentioned promotional campaign to raise funds for flood relief.  Yet, what disturbs me is that it bears such a resemblance to the Army’s recruiting slogan “I Am Army Strong.”  Perhaps it is just me, but I recoil at the thought of how thoroughly militarism has infiltrated our culture that we can easily adapt a military bumper sticker and apply it to a wholesome enterprise.  

    Additionally, it feeds that sense of Vermont exceptionalism Jon Margolis wrote about: http://vtdigger.org/2011/09/30…  The myth of American exceptionalism is something the right wing is now using to goad Pres. Obama.  To me, exceptionalism is something we should be careful in applying to ourselves lest it become merely a form of societal narcissism.  I think it is only in fictional Lake Wobegon “where the men are strong, the women are good looking, and the children are above average, every one of them.”

  6. There are many governors (and a recent President) whose administrations and reputations were left in tatters after natural disasters, some far less damaging than Irene.  Gov. Shumlin has earned the right to crow and to point out people who were effective in getting the roads open (yes, even Republicans).  I’d hate to see the level of anger if the recovery had been disastrous.  

    It’s not a good idea to raise taxes in a weak economy, even on those who can most afford it. If any of you who have better political memories than I can point to a first term governor who raised taxes, I’d be interested.

    I agree with the commentary about the treatment of public employees.  Gov. Shumlin has been unnecessarily confrontational and politically tone-deaf on this subject.  Almost anyone willing to vote for him actually likes and appreciates most of our public employees.  He heard from a lot of supporters to tone it down.

    The “Douglas lite” line is, in my opinion, not factual. It was Douglas and Dubie’s intent to turn over our school system to private companies, hand out tax bennies like candy, and bring Fox News style republicanism to Vermont. It’s just silly to look at Peter Shumlin, announce that he’s not a Progressive (gee, what a surprise) and then throw up your hands and say that he’s the same as Douglas. I just don’t buy the assertion.

  7. can anyone tell me why Mayor Manahan of St. Albans CITY was specifically mentioned as one of “our storm-tested mayors?”  So far as I know, it was the TOWN of St. Albans that suffered the damage, while the City (where I live) was largely spared.  Did I miss something?

    This has me completely stumped.

  8. No one should ever raise taxes on the obscenely rich, ever.  They must not be restricted in any way from buying their third solid-gold Roll Royce!

    All of recorded history proves beyond all doubt that the higher the tax rates are on the top bracket of disgustingly wealthy, the better the economy does overall.

    Everyone that advocates NOT having a large tax rate on the ludicrously rich is either tricked by the GOP lies or intentionally working to keep the economy in ruins and impoverish the middle class.

    When was America at it’s most powerful?  The 1950s, when the tax rates were 90%, corporate taxes were 38%, CEOs pay were normal, and union membership was at it’s greatest.  

    When was America at it’s weakest?  When the top tax rates are 14%, corporations pay no taxes, CEOs steal every penny from their workers and union membership is under constant attack.

    RAISE TAXES ON THE WEALTHY NOW!!!  It’s the ONLY way to prevent economic disaster, save the middle class and prevent the poor from starving or freezing to death.

  9. the fact that Vermont is small doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a fair tax system; our actions won’t solve global warming either but we need to do our best; it’s not our job to fix Washington; it’s our job to fashion an equitable and sustainable future for our state that maximizes our potential

    moreover, your reference to the somewhat reduced budget gap ignores the bigger picture; federal and (some) state policies have reduced revenues for many years (lower top marginal rates, tax credits, etc.); as a result, states have neglected infrastructure and avoided many opportunities to invest for the future; so the bar is not a single year budget but what we should be spending; the lost opportunities are legion and we pay the price in waste and inefficiencies

    this is the legacy of Reagan & Norquist; shrink revenues and force people to limit their vision of what government can and should do; I don’t buy it and neither should the governor

  10. Governor Shumlin has proven himself to be “Jim Douglas lite” and more of a republican than most Vermont republicans. He has continually put money before people and with a couple of notable exceptions (single payer healthcare and marriage equality) has continued the policies of the Douglas administration. Shumlin has ignored environmental regulations when it suited him to do so, engaged in public union bashing, drastically reduced funding to AHS and Vermonters who need it most, has repeatedly ignored experts and experienced personnel on the subject of the Vermont State Hospital, putting forth a plan that is totally inadequate. Governor Shumlin has continued to support policies designed to make himself and his donors richer on the backs of working Vermonters.

    Single Payer and marriage equality are hardly close to the Governor’s heart. He couldn’t really care less about either but sees both as a means to an end. Being the first state in the country to enact a single payer health care system would be a feather in his cap and be a springboard to national office. Anyone that doesn’t believe that Shumlin has ambitions beyond the Governor’s office hasen’t been paying attention.

    When I voted for Governor, I voted for a Democrat. What I got was a pale version of Douglas and not a whole lot different from what I would have gotten with a Dubie administration. Another opportunity lost for democrats, another shove pushing me from the Democratic camp to the Progs.

  11. The first lesson is clear: if after Irene we can rebuild over 500 miles of damaged roads and 34 bridges in four months for a fraction of normal cost, with dwindling federal funds in our future, we must apply those lessons to maintaining and rebuilding Vermont’s aging transportation infrastructure from this point forward. We will build faster, smarter, and more economically.

    Sure, making agencies talk with one another was an improvement, and streamlining some processes was helpful, but there are three reasons for the money and time savings that we cannot turn into policy:

    1) Volunteer labor – unless the Governor is proposing we reinstate slavery, we must not expect to be able to save anywhere near as much on labor costs for projects that are implemented under ordinary circumstances.

    2) Circumventing certain processes means we have probably lost important ecosystem diversity. Let’s ignore the inherent value of healthy natural ecosystems and focus on the money side of things, since that’s where the Governor seems to be focused: if tourism is our biggest industry, destroying the ecosystem that makes VT attractive to tourists is a bad move. Doing so in the very areas tourists are most likely to see and experience is doubly short-sighted.

    3) Rushing the repairs through, without doing appropriate engineering studies to determine how to make the new roads stronger and more likely to withstand future storms means that we’ve just stood the dominoes back up, but have done nothing to keep the puppy out of the room – future storms will likely undermine and destroy all this good work.

    Now that the roads are open again, we need to take the time to study them, study regional water flows, and create plans NOW for the next round of replacements, designed specifically to handle the “new normal” weather. With global warming, Vermont is going to be a much wetter state with more violent storms than in the past. Rebuilding plans must be ready for implementation, because it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

  12. but will the Governor support projects or programs that require new revenue?

    for example, the all fuels efficiency program that Jim Douglas vetoed (S.94) would have saved 1.8 million tons of CO2 and 691 tons of methane, as well as $490 million over ten years for businesses and homeowners

    but efficiency requires an investment; just like the lines charge for Efficiency Vermont, S.94 would require a fee / tax on those that use heating oil, propane & kerosene

    to me, this is a no-brainer

    does the Governor agree?

  13. “we need to take the time to study them, study regional water flows, and create plans NOW for the next round of replacements, designed specifically to handle the “new normal” weather.”

    And we certainly can’t ask the obscenely wealthy to pay even one more dime for the betterment of all society.

  14. “It’s not a good idea to raise taxes in a weak economy, even on those who can most afford it.”

    What nonsense, there is no supporting facts to support the assertion of the far-far-far-right’s talking point that the rich shouldn’t pay taxes.  Your point seems to be that it is politically damaging to make the rich pay, whereas the economy can’t survive when the rich don’t pay – as we see all around us right now.  It is similar to Brock’s statements where we can’t try to save the earth so that our children will survive in the future because we here would have to pay more It’s not a good idea to raise taxes in a weak economy, even on those who can most afford it.

    Meanwhile, the Gov and Leg are talking about raising taxes on everyone except the rich.  There is talk of increasing the gas tax, which affects the poor far more than it does those that can afford it.  And at the same time the Gov and the Leg refuse to even discuss making the wealthy pay.

    Ironically, Brock is on the side of the poor and the Dems are siding with the ridiculously rich, even though their reasoning is on the wrong sides of the issues.

    The wealthy can afford to pay, why not make them?

  15. no one said we should raise taxes on everyone

    raising taxes on the top filers would have no adverse impact on the economy (they’re not spending that extra bit; just saving); if you now otherwise, please share

    besides, the top filers have received substantial tax cuts over the last decade; simply returning to a more sensible rate should not be characterized as a tax increase; that’s exactly what the Republicans planned when they passed the Bush tax cuts; sure, put in a sunset, but when you try to actually do it, they call it an increase

    not dissimilar to what happened in Vermont with the absurd 40% cap gains exclusion; the wealthy took home the better part of $150 million in six or seven years; when the calls went out to eliminate it, some called it a tax hike

  16. Is to free up the unproductive money that’s been hoarded (largely in offshore hedge funds and fraudulent “charitable trusts”), and create incentives to invest it productively.

    Demand is the primary generator of hiring, not big pools of unproductive trillions amassed in various speculative investment vehicles and tax shelters.

    Tax policy is an economic tool which, historically, has been used for exactly that purpose.

    A very high top marginal rate, combined with a very high capital gains tax on securities held for under 5 years, and very low marginal taxes on the bottom 50% of income is a recipe for creating demand in the economy.

    Businesses simply will not hire when they don’t think they can sell enough product to justify the additional payroll – no matter.  

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