by Rob Roper
Before town meeting day, Governor Peter Shumlin ripped House Republicans for refusing to suspend House rules and fast track a bill that woluld provide employers with a tax credit for hiring veterans returning from Afghanistan.
Although all agreed the bill was a good idea, Minority Leader Don Turner wanted debate over the bill, which had a price tag of $600,000 to follow normal proceedures allowing legislators time to read and understand the legislation. (It’s worth noting that during this process, the legilsature did uncover flaws in the bill and made ammendments to fix them.)
Turner insisted that Shumlin was only interested in fast tracking the bill so legislators would have something to talk about during Town Meeting Day. “It’s playing politics,” Turner said.
Indeed, before Town Meeting week, Shumlin was emphatic, “This is not a bill that can wait until the end of the session, months from now,” and highly critical of the house GOP for sticking to proper timetables.
However, now that Town Meeting week is over, Shumlin has shown absolutely no hurry to get the bill passed, and has not pressured the Senate to fast track the bill. As a group of Republican House members led by Rep. Oliver Olsen pointed out in a press conference on Thursday, “The governor made a big issue out of this the week before town meeting week. He made an issue out of this again last week before he left on vacation, yet we’ve heard nothing this week. We find that a little disingenuous.”
The implication is that the Govenror was less interested in the well being of returning soldiers than he was about scoring political points. When the issue no longer served his selfish political interests, he dropped it.
See highlights from the Republican press conference below.