Opinion
January 21, 2015

The Tate Update: The Legislative session begins

Dear Editor,

From finding out where I’m supposed to park to pulling my neckties out from the back of the closet — it’s been an eventful couple of weeks! I’m settling in well and I’m enjoying, very much, learning the lay of the land and getting to work on your behalf.

As most predicted, Governor Shumlin was elected to another term. (And a lively inauguration it was at that!) I cast my vote for Scott Milne (and spoke with him briefly before the vote) and even though I had hoped for a different outcome I have spoken with the governor and told him it is my hope to work with him to find some solutions to the difficult problems Vermont faces. I’m optimistic that, with enough hard work, we can begin to make a difference in the lives of all Vermonters.

This session promises to be an extremely eventful one with education reform, second amendment rights, health care, marijuana and many more important issues coming to the fore. As always, I’m eager to hear your thoughts and ideas on these subjects. It is my aim to represent you to the very best of my ability and I need your help and input to make that happen.

Every returning legislator I spoke to said they’d never seen such disruption as the kind we saw during the inauguration. I spoke to several of the protestors after the speech and I feel very confident in saying that they did their cause little favor. In my experience, shouting never accomplishes as much as talking and, in fact, it’s often just the lazier course of action.

In a press conference following the governor’s budget address I expressed dissatisfaction that even though Mr. Shumlin had said that for years we have crippled our economy by spending more than we bring in and that we are projected to have 3.5 percent revenue growth for the next 5 years he didn’t close the loop and didn’t vow to not sign a budget that calls for spending greater than our projected revenue.  Instead he did call for greater spending and also requested an increased 0.7 percent payroll tax on Vermont businesses — a business community already suffering under one of the worst business climates in the country.

If we are going to return our state’s economy to good health it’s going to come from free market, business-based solutions — not federal grants and more state spending.

Committee assignment

I was assigned to the General, Housing and Military Affairs committee. I think it’s a pretty good fit for me and my background and, while it’s not one of the more budget-centric committees, I think it’s an important shop and one where I can help to make a difference on state spending, property protection rights and improving Vermont’s status as a great place for vets to retire. (For veterans, Vermont ranks at a dismal 49th in the nation for economic environment). Vermont isn’t just losing its young people — it’s also losing its Veterans!

Local Girl Scout

Excellent news! Our region now has its own Girl Scout troop again! Troop 30332 is doing their inaugural “cookie drive” — a sign up sheet is located at Bridge’s Country Store in Mendon.

Contact me!

Please let me know how I can ever be of help to you. Feel free to call, write me, or even visit me in Montpelier (I’d love to buy you lunch). I know these next few months are critical to the families and businesses in our region…let’s work together to make 2015 a great year for our region and state.

Very respectfully,

Representative Job Tate, Mendon

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