Last Thursday Governor Shumlin delivered his final State of the State address to a chamber full of dignitaries, special guests and a group of legislators who are facing yet another difficult budget crisis. While there was much in the speech I could agree with, especially the Governor’s call to keep gaining ground on our opiate crisis and to improve the safety of our state employees and those in their charge, the majority of Mr. Shumlin’s address was just more soaring platitudes and calls for increasing state spending.
For the past six years our state government has continually increased spending by 5+ percent year over year while our economy has only grown by 3 percent — a pattern that has created difficult, but all too predictable, budget deficits to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
First up on our plate this session will be finding a way to close a projected $40 million gap — I am committed to working with my colleagues across the aisle to close that gap without raising taxes — and I’m optimistic that we will succeed. I truly believe that as data continues to roll in showing that Vermonters are under some of the most intense economic pressure in the country, Montpelier will answer — by making the necessary cuts, improving the business climate and looking towards economic growth and prosperity as the best way to organically raise revenue. You can count on me to be making those arguments. Very respectfully,
Job Tate, State Representative for Chittenden, Mendon, Killington and Bridgewater