Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott called a special session of the state legislature to begin today. It comes after he promised to veto the budget and property tax bills presented to him, although he has yet to officially veto the fiscal plans. On Tuesday, he nixed a number of other bills, including one that would raise the minimum wage, and a paid family leave measure. Vermont Senate Pro-Tem Democrat/Progressive Tim Ashe says that move was an example of continued frustration the legislature has with the administration.
“With this administration it’s hard because they usually do not weigh in on any legislation except in the vaguest terms, usually through press releases and press statements. So we were hopeful that the Governor, who frequently wheels out the slogan of affordability which has been used now by four consecutive governor, that he would include in that emphasis affordability for tens of thousands of low wage workers. What we’ve found is that the Governor’s affordability should and will ring hollow with tens of thousands of people whose wages will now be stuck at poverty levels.”
Question: “With the governor vetoing these two bills – which some folks would consider money bills because they do affect the economy – how much of a bellwether are those vetoes for the budget and property tax bills and any action during the special session on those items?”
Ashe: “Well it’s the governor has made no secret of his intent to veto the budget and tax bill although as we’ve discussed they were passed unanimously or nearly unanimously in the Senate in each instance. So it really is a sign that the Scott Administration is becoming much more ideological, moving more and more to a more classic playbook that is used by conservative governors throughout the country.”
The Vermont House gaveled into the special session Wednesday morning, took roll call to assure a quorum, introduced eight bills and adjourned until Tuesday. Committee work will continue in the interim.