Now that he has been in office for 100 days, Vermont Governor Phil Scott held a press conference this morning to outline what he sees as his successes so far.
Vermont’s Republican Governor was surrounded by his cabinet members as he highlighted what he feels are his key successes since he was sworn in to the state’s top office. Scott noted that last Saturday was actually his 100th day and said he’s proud of what has been accomplished including keeping his promise to continue to listen to Vermonters. He said he’s done that by having all agencies institute listening tours. He also said he is advancing his agenda of economic opportunity and affordability. “I’m proud of the agenda I’ve set and the progress my team has made. We can’t list everything here today but for example I appointed Judge Karen Russell Carroll to the Vermont Supreme Court and appointed two legislators. I’ve brought together a tri-partisan group of legislators and law enforcement stakeholders to pass S.79 protecting the constitutional rights of the state and Vermonters. And I continue to fight to make whole the Bennington community affected by PFOA and the Northeast Kingdom communities affected by the alleged EB5 fraud. Just last week we announced $150 million settlement.”
Scott has already made three trips to Canada to enhance trade opportunities. He is pleased that the House passed a preliminary budget that does not raise taxes or fees. He says progress is being made to create an Agency of Digital Services, and modernize state government. But he is disappointed that the legislature rejected a key initiative that would merge two departments. “The liquor and lottery’s been a source of frustration for me because it just seems to make so much sense. It’s something we’ve talked about for the last 10 years in this building and then all of a sudden it’s a problem they want to study it more. But I think there’s some hope in the Senate that we’ll be able to push forward on that initiative.”
In Vermont, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately. Progressive/Democratic Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman says the Republican governor did experience a significant failure during his first 100 days. “I think his initial proposal to shift a lot of General Fund obligations to the Education Fund and property taxes landed pretty hard and I’m glad that it was rejected because I don’t think Vermonters were looking to see more government efforts funded through property taxes. But that then left us with a scenario where we didn’t have the money to fund his noble objectives of higher education and early education. But his promises were like sort of a beautiful pie but it was empty inside because you can’t fund expansion in government without resources but he didn’t want to raise any resources to do it. So it sounded really good but it was impossible to meet.”
Governor Scott listed several priorities for his next 100 days including working with the legislature to ensure the final 2018 budget is balanced with no taxes or fees; passing initiatives creating affordable housing; and continued implementation of government modernization and efficiency initiatives.