10-3-16 – The DGA Attack on Phil Scott

by John McClaughry

I generally make it a point to steer clear of campaign claims and counterclaims, but the current TV ad from the Democratic Governors Association supporting Sue Minter really crosses the border into ridiculous.

It paints Phil Scott as a tool of big business, and charges that he voted to increase the Vermont sales tax by 20%. It’s up to  Scott  to defend himself, but I can’t help but comment on that charge.

The bill that raised the sales tax from 5 to 6% was H.480 of 2003, when Scott was a Senator. The bill was part of a deal that became Act 68, changing the Act 60 school aid formula to get rid of the much-despised shark pool.

It passed the House 107 to 32. Most of the 32 No votes came from Republicans but there were maybe a dozen Democrats who voted no – notably Obuchowski, Deen, Kenyon, Darrow and Bohi from the Connecticut River Valley, which is traditionally sensitive to the sales tax for obvious reasons.

The bill went to the Democratic controlled Senate, was amended there, sent to conference committee, and the Senate approved the conference report 27 to1. Every Democrat in the Senate voted for it.

Now the Democrats in Washington are spending lots of money to try to pin that sales tax increase on Phil Scott, as if Minter would have voted against it – fat chance. This is ridiculous, and Minter ought to disavow this ad.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Shepard October 8, 2016 at 1:44 am

John, you are right on, It did not even matter to the Democrat Senators along the NH border. They all voted for it. I missed that vote because the session, including the end of session negotiations, took so long that as a person with a business in the competitive market place I had customers who needed my services. This is why I have long said the long sessions may be Vermont’s biggest problem. It is impossible to operate in the competitive marketplace and serve in the legislature. Hence why there were 27 of 30 yes votes in the Senate and 197 of 150 in the House.

For the record, I did vote against that bill in every vote in Finance Committee and in the full Senate as it made its way to conference committee. If only others had listened to Economist Art Woolf or read his work on the subject. Neither facts nor evidence meant nothing in that chamber and clearly they mean nothing to Minter.


Jim Bulmer October 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

The typical Dem strategy when the facts are distasteful is to obuviscate, lie, and cheat. Ms. Minter, if she were as pure a s advertised would set the record straight. Alas, she won’t, and she will not be held accountable. Vote for Phill Scott on Nov. 8 or before.


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