Took time to scan a few Vermont news sites this morning after learning that a story "Fair Game" broke two weeks ago was behind yesterday's press conference by gubernatorial candidate and Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington.
Two weeks ago, I reported that Republican Gov. Jim Douglas has yet to reimburse the state for any of the travel costs incurred by his full-time state trooper while he criss-crosses the state glad-handing Vermonters as he fights to keep his job.
This was a break from his predecessor, Gov. Howard Dean, who did reimburse at least some of these costs. Did he reimburse them all? Probably not, but Douglas has chosen to take a more cavalier attitude — stick taxpayers with the bill.
Yesterday, Symington called on Douglas to repay those costs. Here is a snippet from prepared remarks she distributed:
"It’s galling that at a time when an increasing number of Vermonters are losing their jobs, Jim Douglas is using Vermonters' tax dollars to campaign to keep his own. At a time when Jim Douglas has cut vital services for Vermonters he is helping himself to more of our tax dollars to campaign on the public's dime. He needs to give the money back.
Is it a lot of money? The truth is we don't know — and the governor and his campaign have made it clear they have no intention of saying. But it's the principle that matters. When the governor uses tax dollars to campaign, he's not protecting taxpayers, he's exploiting them."