Last Friday night’s usual Budget Bill debate took a dramatic turn when twenty-something Republican freshman Rep. Joey Conforth of Shriftsbury took the House Floor. His dramatic, impassioned speech rocked the body of older legislators and sent the Appropriations committee back upstairs to draft an entirely new budget.
“I just had no idea what we were doing to the young people of Vermont.” said House Appropriations Chair Rep. Mitzi Johnson.
The speech was a stirring vision of a tax-free utopia in which “not a single penny of state money would be spent on freebie, giveaway programs to help greedy seniors, farmers, poor people, or children” and businesses would be free to “harness the natural resources of our great state for the attainment of maximized profit”. It moved some on the House floor to tears.
“I’m really rethinking my priorities after that speech.” said Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown. “Maybe if we cut programs and taxes, the wealthiest Vermonters will have more money and will share it with the rest of us. It’s a powerful idea. This kid (Conforth) is gonna be the next Ronald Reagan.”
Appropriations committee members stopped by Conforth’s seat on their way back to committee to kneel down and beg forgiveness for their budget sins. The Speaker accepted a motion to recess so they could go back to the drawing board on the Budget.