Daily Archives: April 13, 2022

Phil Scott’s Tax Cut Hypocrisy

At his press conference yesterday, Gov. Phil Scott offered a mixed message to the state Legislature. He seemed to be holding an olive branch, but whether he’ll use it as a peace offering or a weapon remains uncertain.

His topic was the budget, and the differences between his plan and what’s on the table in the Statehouse right now. He cautioned against squandering our historic federal windfall, by which he means spending it in ways he doesn’t like. But he offered some praise for Senate budget writers on one important point:

I heard in Senate Appropriations yesterday they are concerned about creating cliffs by funding new programs with one-time money that will be difficult to address in the future. I couldn’t agree more.

It’s a point he’s made before. Use the one-time money for one-time investments, not to create or sustain programs that will remain on the books after the federal tsunami recedes.

I’ve got no beef with that concept. But the governor expresses none of that concern when it comes to cutting taxes. We’ve got the money right now, thanks to all the economic activity generated by all those federal dollars. We can afford some tax relief now, but any tax cuts we adopt this year will remain on the books indefinitely.

And he doesn’t care about that.

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The Forum Conundrum

Tonight (Wednesday), VTDigger is hosting a very important early event in Vermont’s most competitive primary race of 2022 — the Democratic contest for U.S. Congress. It’s the first high-profile candidate forum in the race. There are five declared candidates; four of them will be included.

Above is the other guy: Dr. Louis Meyers, hospital physician at Rutland Regional Medical Center. Why won’t he be there? Well, because VTDigger, for reasons of its own, refused to invite him.

I’m not here to bash Digger; I think they made a considered decision. But on balance, I think it’s a mistake to exclude Meyers.

Meyers is a moderate Democrat. He’s been a practicing physician for three decades, and offers first-hand experience with the health care system. No reason to not take him seriously so far.

The other side of the coin: Meyers has twice run for state Senate in Chittenden County and finished dead last in both Democratic primaries.

If pressed, Digger would likely point to his electoral record and claim that he has no proven appeal. Certainly not compared to the three heavyweights in the race: Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint, and Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale.

But then there’s the fourth candidate, Sianay Chase Clifford. She has Congressional experience as an aide to U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachiusetts, but she’s never run for or held elective office. And while she spent her youth in Vermont, she moved away to go to college and only returned to Vermont within the past two years. She has no more proven appeal than Meyers. So why will she be there?

Digger knows. I don’t.

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