Gov. Phil Scott plans to spend $3.2 million taxpayer dollars to encourage people to move here and fill positions that employers are having trouble filling. Maybe “Move to Vermont” should have the descriptor “be taxed excessively, take a lower paying job than you have now, and experience a high cost of living that will make you regret your move.” Sounds very enticing, doesn’t it?
Gov. Scott, who has worked in construction, should understand better than most of us the necessity of starting with a well-prepared footing and a strong foundation when building a house. Without a solid foundation, your house will end up with serious problems over time. The same applies with government.
There are several issues that need to be addressed if we want people to move here. First is the high taxation we Vermonters are saddled with. That is why I will work to aggressively cut wasteful spending. I believe that an initial goal of $100 million in government spending cuts is absolutely attainable.
Then there is the high cost of public education. Let’s bring the state Agency of Education down to a bare bones agency. It is overstaffed, and they are overpaid. I also believe working with the school districts a minimum combined $100 million reduction in spending is definitely not out of line, which means reductions in property taxes throughout the state. Using a health share organization to replace our current health insurance for state employees and educators could achieve substantial savings.
Bringing taxes down for individuals and businesses will be an incentive to stay and former Vermonters to return. Next the lack of affordable housing absolutely needs to be fixed. Where the governor believes the government is responsible for funding new housing, we who understand the free market know that investors can make money building and renting or selling housing when the impediments such as high property taxes and lack of landlord protections are removed.
The next step is to create a strong business climate where businesses thrive and the unemployment rate is so low that businesses will be forced to compete for employees by paying higher wages and offer better benefits. This can be achieved in large part by reducing excessive regulations, including the very expensive and cumbersome process of Act 250.
So that’s it; build the proper foundation and Vermont will become prosperous. Try to take shortcuts and the house will never be right.
Republican candidate for Governor
N. Springfield, Vt.