Calling Shumlin’s Bluff

By Robert Maynard

A Caledonia Record Editorial that calls into question Governor Shumilin’s seriousness in opposing new tax increases was just posted on True North Reports.  Here is how the Editorial put it: “There is absolutely no doubt that the Democratic Legislature will increase the residential educational property tax rate by five cents. There is no doubt that the Democratic Legislature will raise gasoline taxes to replenish the Transportation Fund. And there is absolutely no doubt that Gov. Peter “no new taxes” Shumlin will sign both of these measures into law.

Is Governor Shumlin trying to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to taxes.  In other words, is he trying to get credit from the voters for opposing tax increases, but still get the benefit of the support these increases will supposedly provide to his spending schemes?  We may be about to find out as House Republican Leader Don Turner of Milton appears ready to call Governor Shumlin’s bluff.  According to a recent Burlington Free Press article, tax opponents in the Vermont House have the votes to sustain a veto if Governor Shumlin is really serious about his opposition to tax increases.  Representative Turner purposely dd not load the tax bill down with amendments that would divide the opposition:

Turner explained that his caucus chose to voice its opposition to the tax bill, but not offer a raft of amendments trying to dismantle it in order to solidify rather than splinter opposition to the package.

“This allows us to show the governor there was enough opposition,” Turner said, referring to 51 votes needed to support a veto. “If he thinks it is that bad and he decides to veto it, there are enough votes to sustain.”

In other words, the Governor can stop this increase with a veto if he really is serious in his opposition to tax increases.  The question now is will he support his rhetoric in opposing tax increases with action in vetoing the bill, or will he sign the bill and try and put the blame for the tax increases solely on the legislature?