The Parmelee Post: Gov. Scott: Higher Wages a Slippery Slope to Being Able to Afford to Live in Vermont | Humor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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The Parmelee Post: Gov. Scott: Higher Wages a Slippery Slope to Being Able to Afford to Live in Vermont

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FILE: PAUL HEINTZ | BRYAN PARMELEE
  • File: Paul Heintz | Bryan Parmelee
Gov. Phil Scott issued a stern warning to lawmakers Wednesday that an increase to the state’s minimum wage could result in people being able to afford to live in Vermont.

“I made a promise to Vermonters that I would focus obsessively on taxes like a deranged Grover Norquist fanboy while doing everything in my power to avoid signing anything that would actually put more money in their pockets,” the governor said in a speech before a special session of the state legislature.

The warning came just a day after the high-profile vetoes of legislation that would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $15 and establish a paid family leave program.

“Sure, I can evolve on issues such as gun reform, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to evolve when it comes to doing something that would help struggling Vermonters,” he said. "Increasing the minimum wage sounds  like a good idea, but what's next? Being able to afford a home? Not on my watch.

“Besides, if we made it easier to live in Vermont, I might have to harp on something other than taxes," he continued. "And do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with a new overly simplified talking point?"

Scott went on to say that putting more money in pockets of low-income Vermonters would cause more harm than good.

“The more money you have, the more of that money goes to the spooky tax man," he said. "Why do you think wealthy people spend so much time hiding their money in places like the Cayman Islands?

“I’m actually doing Vermonters a favor by making sure they have no extra money to worry about," he continued. "You’re welcome, Vermont!”

The governor also outlined the perils of providing paid family leave.

“It's a noble idea, but do we really want people to start families here?” he asked. “I said I wanted more young people to move to Vermont — not be born here.”

Scott made clear that the last thing he wanted to do was interrupt the proud Vermont tradition of young professionals moving out of state to pursue careers and start families elsewhere.

"I hear the same thing over and over when I talk to young Vermonters about the state's ever-rising property taxes," he said. "'What is property?

"I'm not about to turn my back on them and let them know there might be more to life than handing  your entire paycheck over to a landlord that still hasn't fixed that leak you reported months ago," he said.

“Listen, I know a thing or two about sacrifice: I had to give up stock car racing,” Scott lamented. “All I'm asking of lawmakers in return is that they give up on actually trying to help the people who need it the most.”

The Parmelee Post is an occasional series featuring tough investigative reporting on news that hasn't happened.

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