GOVERNOR SHUMLIN MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO FOCUS ON AFFORDABILITY

Date: January 15, 2015

GOVERNOR SHUMLIN MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO FOCUS ON AFFORDABILITY

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/VT) couldn’t agree more with Governor Shumlin that government should live within a budget equal to (or less than) the rate of inflation. We agree, Vermont must eliminate the cost-shift related to health care. We agree that double digit property tax increases should be addressed, that our economy requires a highly trained workforce and that there as some economic green shoots beginning.

However, NFIB/VT was hoping to hear the promotion of visionary plans from Governor Shumlin for how he would address affordability in Vermont. Rather we heard more of the same; tax increases on businesses, an over-reliance on federal dollars to expand programs, and financial incentives for certain sectors of our economy in hopes of minimizing public criticism.

Access to affordable high-quality health care remains NFIB/VT’s top priority. Governor Shumlin promised to remove the burden of health care from Vermont employers; rather he shifts more and more of the burden to small business. We find an increased payroll tax an insult to our intelligence. 

Small businesses already pay an employer assessment to fund Vermont Health Connect (formerly Catamount Health Plan) to the tune of $18 million per year. Now, Governor Shumlin proposes an additional $90 million increase.

On December 17, we applauded Governor Shumlin’s announcement that he would push aside his $2 billion single-payer scheme because he understood the enormous cost would have a negative impact on our economy. Today he said, in his opening remarks, that he’s ‘heard clearly in the election this fall that Vermonters expect more from me and from the state to help improve their lives’. Rather we find instead his calling for more regulation, higher state spending and increased taxes.

Small businesses in Vermont represent 96% of all businesses, while we see some green shoots in our economy; most are still struggling under the high costs of owning and operating their businesses in Vermont. Overall, the outlook Governor Shumlin laid out today will not help small businesses to grow and prosper in our state.

Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Vermont

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