Editorial: Gov. Scott’s vision vs. reality
As Gov. Phil Scott delivered his fourth inaugural address last Thursday, the good news is that the state continues to be flush with cash thanks to generous amounts of federal aid. With those surplus funds, Scott said he would again champion programs that tackled the lack of affordable housing and accessible childcare, while promoting small mom-n-pop businesses and expanding broadband access.
Scott was optimistic in his speech suggesting the past couple of years of federal funding has put the state in “an incredible position to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offered by historic federal aid and record state surpluses.”
But while Scott’s vision of what the state could achieve was practically giddy, the reality is that Vermont continues to struggle with very basic issues: first, we have yet to recover jobs lost to the pandemic and remain below the state’s pre-pandemic employment level — a shocking failure for a Republican governor intent on growing jobs and in a state that should be a climate haven; second, the state hasn’t put an effective dent in affordable housing — yes, we’ve added some housing units but not near enough, nor fast enough and the basic underlying factors haven’t changed; third, basic programs like heating assistance and family leave policies have been vetoed by Scott in the past six years making the cost of living here too high for many working families and causing young Vermonters to seek opportunities out-of-state.
What Scott has done is stay true to his “make Vermont affordable” campaign theme these past three terms, but too often that theme is a ruse to veto bold ideas that could lead to progress.
Six years in, voters will want to know if Scott’s rhetoric matches reality. If it doesn’t, they’ll start searching for someone whose actions will.
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