We’ve come to expect a race car driver’s vehicle to be plastered with sponsor logos of the corporations who have bought and paid the driver, the pit crew, and the fuel to get on track.
But is that what Working Vermonters need or want in a Governor?
Working Vermonters want their interests in the driver’s seat - not the interests of the corporations and the wealthy who contributed to the campaign. In Phil Scott, what we see is a politician who claims to be a regular, working-class Vermonter in parades, on TV and at potlucks, but when it comes to shaping policy it appears that it’s his wealthy contributors who hold sway with him, not working-class Vermonters.
He’s supported millions of dollars in tax cuts for Vermont’s wealthy, businesses and business owners, while at the same time supporting tax increases on working Vermonters and opposing policies that would make it easier for working Vermonters to find, and keep, good-paying jobs while balancing the needs of their families.
Here are just a few examples:
- Scott has never met a corporate tax cut he didn’t like - from exemptions for cloud-related businesses and research and development, among others, he’s supported millions in tax breaks for businesses. After supporting those cuts, he then criticized the corporate tax rate as too high.
- Scott has opposed closing capital gains tax loopholes used by the wealthy and he opposes the wealthy paying their fair share. In fact, Vermonters earning $19,000-$38,000 pay 9.5% in state and local taxes, those making $38,000-$58,000 pay 10.5%, people earning $58,000-$88,000 pay 9.4% while everyone earning more than $88,000 a year pays no more than 8.7%, and those earning more than $391,000 a year pay only 7.7%.
- Scott also sided with the business community in his opposition to a consumer’s right-to-know law requiring labeling of GMOs.
- Scott also said he didn’t think it was practical to provide broadband access to rural Vermonters, even though such access would provide job opportunities for working Vermonters who cannot drive to larger towns and cities for work, or could work for national and regional businesses from home.
- Scott opposes a minimum wage increase for working Vermonters, and appears to oppose wage increases generally, saying his opposition to a minimum wage increase was due to his fear that it would increase wages and salaries higher up the pay scale. In reality research shows that increasing wages decreases turnover and increases productivity. Additionally increasing wages puts money into the hands of consumers and boosts demand for good and services benefitting the local economy which includes working Vermonters and businesses.
- Scott also opposed paid sick leave, saying any mandates on business reduce business’ flexibility. In fact research proves that businesses benefit from workers having access to paid sick leave. Productivity increases when workers get timely medical care, and health care costs are reduced, leading to a more productive and healthier workplace, not to mention the importance of working Vermonters being able to care for their children when they are ill. Does he not value the importance of the need for working Vermonters to care for their families?
Not surprisingly, Scott has raised more than half of his $1 million from special interests, wealthy Vermonters, and businesses—including tens of thousands of dollars from multinational drug companies, Wal-Mart and others who lobby against the needs (and values) of working Vermonters. Time and time again, we’re told that we should not pay attention to his corporate and wealthy campaign contributors. We’re told that Scott can’t be bought, or we’re told that this just means that Scott is “in touch” with their concerns, but his record proves otherwise.
In fact, his track record appears to demonstrate that he’s bought and paid for by the same special interests who have opposed almost every fiscal and social policy in the past five years that would benefit working Vermonters.
Vermonters need and deserve to have their interests in the driver's seat. The people that we elect should have a track record that represents the interests of working Vermonters, and fighting for policies that improve the quality of life for working Vermonters and their families, as opposed to waving the checkered flag for corporations, the wealthy and their special interests.
Michelle Salvador lives in Worcester and is the founding chair of the Rights & Democracy Project.