2-11-16- Ready, Fire, Aim! (Or, Watching an Incompetent Legislature Work Its Magic)

by Rob Roper

So the senate bent itself into contortions to kill a provision of the Paid Sick Leave bill (H.187) that would have exempted businesses with fewer than five employees from the mandate. Once again, the little guys take it in the shorts in what is yet another prime example of amateur legislators acting with little knowledge or understanding of the issues or the people they are affecting.


Here’s how this particular sausage was made…


Our majority Progressive/Democrat legislature wants to go home able to say they’ve done a feel good thing, which for them inevitably involves some sort of redistribution of wealth. The problem they have is that the after years of such policies becoming law the state is broke. We are running a structural deficit, and people are so fed up with being taxed to death – on everything from soda to property — new tax increases are out of the question in this election year. Hence, the brilliant idea to mandate that businesses provide paid days off to their employees! Workers get free stuff, and legislators can say they didn’t (technically!) raise a tax. (Cough, cough, baloney!)


But, there are many  Vermont businesses that are struggling to make payroll every week, and genuinely cannot afford this mandate. Recognizing this to some degree, Sen. Brian Campion proposed an amendment to the bill that would exempt businesses of fewer than five employees from the mandate. This failed 14-15.


However, a day later Sen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington) proclaimed he cast his NO vote in error, and asked to reconsider the bill so that he could change it. This would have allowed the amendment to pass. Democratic leadership freaked out, and pulling some parliamentary maneuvers of their own over the course of a weekend, emerged with the strategy of offering, upon reconsideration, an amendment to amend the Campion Amendment by striking out the exemption and replacing it with a study to see how small businesses will be hurt by the sick leave mandate.


Ready. Fire. Aim! First make sure the mandate becomes law, THEN do the research to see how it will impact small businesses. This ingenious backasswards solution passed 15-14 with Campion’s seatmate Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) stabbing him in the back by switching his vote to counter Doyle’s switch. (Here’s the Roll Call Report.)


I ask, is it any wonder our healthcare system is a total wreck… our education finance system is a total wreck… our energy policy is a fiasco… the state is running a structural deficit… When people who don’t know what they are doing feel compelled to do something — anything — all the time?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephen Tierney February 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm

This should not come as a surprise to the informed public…been monitoring it for a while. Too bad the media doesn’t address the issue…we know the reason for that though don’t we. Vermont is business unfriendly and taxpayer rapist. We sent a Socialist to represent us and have fertilized the progressive frenzy in Montpelier. Vermonters can’t afford to live here anymore. I am witnessing the same degradation in Bristol…from a plastic playground on our green to driving thriving businesses out of the town by “progressive ” idealism which is only self-serving individualism.


Jim Bulmer February 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Vermonters are the ones responsible for these fiascos. They are the ones who keep reelecting these incompetent idiots.


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