If you thought there was a chance that Governor Shumlin would tone down his insistence on last-minute spending cuts, well, think again. Earlier, he’d called two key Senate committee chairs on the ceremonial carpet to argue for tax reductions and spending cuts — in a spending bill that had already passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. This didn’t go over well with Democxratic lawmakers, per Paul Heintz:
Gov. Peter Shumlin’s erstwhile allies in the Democratic legislature lashed out at him Thursday for pushing new cuts after the Senate Appropriations Committee signed off on the budget.
“It’s insulting to the process,” complained one top Dem.
… “It’s been pretty lonely in there all winter,” Sen. Bobby Starr (D-Essex/Orleans) said, referring to the Appropriations Committee, on which he serves. “I woulda thought they would’ve been in at least a month ago, if not five, six weeks ago, offering some suggestions.”
House Majority Leader Sarah Copeland Hanzas noted that the House-passed tax and spending bills actually called for less spending than the Governor’s original budget plan. She called the gubernatorial disconnect “perplexing.”
Welp, the Governor is unbowed by all the pushback.
Apparently our humble & lovable Lieutenant Governor still has a bug up his butt about public financing of election campaigns. You may recall that Phil Scott had never uttered a word about public financing* until Dean Corren qualified for public funds last year, forcing Scott to actually put some effort into his campaign. The experience was traumatic enough that it birthed a “philosophical objection” to public financing in Scott’s mind.
*Correction: I’ve been informed that Scott has voiced objections on previous occasions. Sen. Joe Benning: ” I first heard him expressing his disagreement with public financing of campaigns when I met him back in 2010.” I thank the Senator for taking the time to write. I’d still like to know if Scott had ever expressed his disagreement on the public record, but clearly his concerns precede his 2014 campaign.
On Tuesday, Scott grabbed an opportunity to again state his “philosophical objection” to public financing, and raise a series of far-fetched questions about the law’s workings.
His testimony before the Senate Government Operations Committee drew no attention in the media because it was immediately followed by Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s appearance, in which he belatedly acquiesced to calls for an independent probe of his campaign finances. Yeah, that kinda overshadowed everything else.
Also, Scott’s remarks were immediately dismissed by the committee, which had convened to consider a single technical change in the law; there was no time for broader questions.
But before it vanishes into the mists of history, let’s recount some of Phil Scott’s testimony.