Gov. Phil Scott: Back on the right track

By Gov. Phil Scott

Every village, town and city in Vermont can have a thriving economy. We can have an economy consistently growing faster than the costs of living, so our state is more affordable, and each year families can be more secure. We can have the best education system in the nation, where every school offers a full range of 21st Century educational opportunities and every child graduates prepared to compete and succeed. And with a thriving economy, we can invest in a cleaner environment, safer neighborhoods with fewer suffering from addiction, and meet our obligation to the most vulnerable.

U.S. Department of State

Republican Gov. Phil Scott

I ran for Governor because I believe we can achieve this vision with leadership that is honest about the scope of our challenges, sets clear priorities to address them, is willing to put progress ahead of the politics and policies of the past – and is able to do the hard work and make the difficult decisions while encouraging civility and respect.

For years our population growth has been slowing, and a shrinking working-age population resulted in an average of 6 fewer workers in our workforce and 3 fewer kids in our schools every single day. State spending and tax burdens were rising faster than many Vermonters’ pay, and there was too little focus on restoring the economic and fiscal fundamentals required to invest in our future. That’s why my Administration has had the courage to tackle the tough issues, like getting spending growth under control, strengthening our education system, eliminating waiting lists for opioid treatment and fighting to give Vermonters a break from increasing taxes and fees.

While we have much more work to do, in my first 19 months in office we have put Vermont on a better path. And, we are making measurable progress with real results.

State government is now living within its means. Better management and more economic activity have combined to generate a $70 million budget surplus across all funds. Spending growth over the 5 fiscal years before I took office averaged almost 5 percent per year, funded largely by unsustainable tax increases. Now, spending is growing at just 2 percent, without raising taxes or fees – and our surplus should allow us to return more money to taxpayers in the future, if the Legislature agrees.

We are modernizing state government to make it more efficient and productive. By consolidating IT operations within an Agency of Digital Services, for example, we saved about $2.2 million. We’ve reduced State operating costs by $32.5 million, while improving the delivery of services. And the Agency of Human Services, alone, closed out this fiscal year having spent $70 million less, across all funds, than the last fiscal year of the previous Administration. That’s over $100 million taxpayers have not had to pay – without reducing frontline services.

We also prevented about $71 million in forecasted statewide property tax rate increases and held residential property tax rates level for two years in a row. If you are a residential property tax payer and your bill went up, it’s due to local factors, not the statewide rate. And I want to be clear: I am insisting we address education because I believe we can transform our education system from good, to the very best in the country. This requires the courage to reduce inefficiency and invest the savings in more, and better, opportunities for kids.

While we grappled with K-12 reform, we also increased investment in career technical education, workforce training and higher education by about $5 million, and childcare assistance for working families by $2.5 million.

We passed the largest housing investment in state history, which will generate hundreds of new housing units working families can afford, 1,000 construction jobs and $100 million in construction activity. We also streamlined the regulatory process so more housing for working families can be built and cost less.

Over the last two years, we’ve cut the cost of workers compensation insurance by over 10 percent, saving employers an estimated $30 million. This year, we cut income tax rates across the board and eliminated income taxes on social security benefits for low and middle-income retirees, saving Vermonters $30 million. And, while we still have more to do to expand our workforce, there are now 4,500 more Vermonters in the private sector labor force.

We have taken many positive and measurable steps forward in just 19 months, and we’re on the right track. But we still have much more work ahead. If we stay focused on making Vermont’s economy stronger, and our state more affordable for families and business, Vermont will be a state where every community and every family can thrive and prosper.

Phil Scott is the governor of Vermont.

Images courtesy of Lou Varricchio/TNR and U.S. Department of State

8 thoughts on “Gov. Phil Scott: Back on the right track

  1. Where is the school safety liberals & regressives promised in their Anti 2nd Amendment legislation?? where’s the Armed Guards or arming teachers, risk assessments, security assessments, metal detectors, systems that can identify wanted persons people with criminal convictions against children to keep them away from schools, removing the nonsense ” Gun Free Zone which is an invitation to the weak insane criminals, and theres tech available in surveillance that can even identify expelled / suspended children!! This law they passed is a joke a very sick joke at that what are all the liberals & regressives going to if an evil scum bag adult or kid tries this in Vermont’s schools?? Will they pass more anti American anti VT Constitution & anti 2nd amendment laws to punish everyone else JUST because Liberals regressives socialists Democrats and my favorite the Democrat Socialists hate guns because of their greed for money power and control but the good news is those with guns have the ability to resist leftist regressive tyranny to sustain Freedom?? “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” said founding father Thomas Jefferson!!

    • Andrew

      “Anti American anti VT Constitution & anti 2nd amendment laws to punish everyone else JUST because Liberals regressives socialists Democrats and my favorite the Democrat Socialists hate guns because of their greed for money power and control.”

      You nailed it. The Left are not interested in Vermont and America’s children,that was all a line to push thru control,it wasn’t for the children. It isn’t about guns it’s about control and the Left from all parties violated their oaths and violated the Constitutions.

      This coming Tuesday is time to sprinkle the tree of Liberty,as Mr Jefferson put it and vote out any representative and mr. governor who had a hand in violating the Constitutions,each and everyone of them.

  2. The governor is a self proven Liar,has violated his oath of office and the US and Vermont Constitutions,for his actions he deserves a retirement from any elected office.

  3. With all the accomplishments listed here by the governor the one that will be remembered above all is the fact that Phil Scott is the first governor in the history of Vermont governors to violate his oath of office to protect and defend the freedoms enshrined in the US and Vermont Constitutions! History will show that he is the first Vermont governor to take by force of elective office the freedoms and traditions known to Vermonters since the beginnings of our state. He does not deserve another term and may as well jump ship like Jim Jeffords and join the progressives controlling this state. When he looks in his mirror the next time he should recognize that instead of being known as a fiscal leader he will be known as the first man to steel the freedoms of Vermonters. As John Rogers (democrat write in for governor candidate said) ” Nothing good comes from the taking of peoples rights”!

  4. SCOTT’S OVERNIGHT EPIPHONY OVER GUN RIGHTS WAS A SLAP IN THE HEAD, AND UNFORTUNATELY WILL LIKELY NEVER BE BROUGHT BK TO THE cONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

    wORSE THAT THE COURT SYSTEM APPARENTLY THINKS NOTHING OF THAT YOUNG CRIMINAL – HE IS LIKELY TO BE SET FREE – WHILE 300,000 GUN OWNERS ARE PUNISHED, FOR OWNING GUNS WHICH HAVE NEVER BEEN AIMED OR FIRED AT ANYONE.

    hARD TO PUNISH THE GUILTY, EASY TO PUNISH THE LAW ABIDING

  5. Governor, it sounds like a great story !! Too bad you ” Turned Your Back ” on those that got you
    elected, in order to appease your ” New Progressive Democrat ” friends with your signing those
    foolish feel-good gun bills…………… and you know it.

    Let’s see how long the State holds on to the Surplus, your new friends will find a way to spend it
    and you won’t be getting their votes or any gun owners…………they suckered you in …….Pitiful !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *