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August 30, 2010

VIDEO: Dubie Unveils His Jobs Plan, Democrats Unleash Attack

DSC07391 Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie unveiled his long-awaited jobs plan at a wind turbine manufacturer in Barre this morning, calling for lower taxes and less government regulation to jump-start Vermont's economy.

In response, three Democrats who fought for the right to challenge Dubie in the November gubernatorial election summoned the press to in Burlington, where they unleashed a blistering (at least by this election's subdued standards) attack on the GOP lieutenant governor. The Dems called it a "George Bush-style" plan based on fantasy numbers.

Dubie's vision for growing jobs in Vermont — which includes dramatic cuts in state spending — was presented at Northern Power Systems, where industrial wind turbines are manufactured and shipped all over the world. A crowd of reporters and business leaders attended.

"Pure Vermont: Blueprint for Job Growth and Economic Expansion" proposes holding the state budget to 2 percent inflationary growth after fiscal year 2012. Based on projected tax revenue for the next five years, that would produce a $240 million savings to taxpayers, Dubie estimates, which he wants to give back to Vermonters in form of income tax cuts, corporate tax cuts and lower property taxes.

Dubie said Howard Dean held the line on spending in the 1990s — proposing three level-funded state budgets — and said Vermont must cut back on spending again.

Dubie's 10 points are as follows. Click here to read the full plan.

1) Hold Spending to Affordable Levels

2) Provide Tax Relief for Families and Employers

3) Laser Focus on Job Creation

4) Market Vermont's Strengths

5) Streamline Permitting and Regulation

6) Lower Health Care Costs

7) Steady Leadership for Long-Term Challenges

8) Build Next-Generation Business Infrastructure

9) Strengthen Education and Training

10) Power Up Our Energy Future

Afterward, Dubie huddled with reporters, who pressed him for specifics. What would he cut to achieve only 2 percent growth in state government? What kind of income tax cut would the middle class see? By calling for permitting reform, was he admitting that Gov. Jim Douglas was a failure?

Specifics were in short supply.

DSC07374 "Working with the General Assembly, we'll establish priorities, making sure that commitments are honored, the most vulnerable are protected in our society, and we'll just have to do what working families are doing," Dubie said. "Families are doing it, small businesses are doing it — government can do it."

Dubie was asked: To hold spending at 2 percent increases, isn't it inevitable that the big expenses — Medicaid, benefits, etc. — will get whacked?

"What I know is, we in state government cannot grow state government more than the underlying economy," Dubie replied. "Governor Howard Dean said that in the ’90s. He proposed something much more difficult — level funding. I'm proposing to grow state government, but at a disciplined rate."

The same reporter followed up: Don't you have an obligation to tell Vermont voters what Vermont government is no longer going to be doing at the end of the day?

Dubie: "The conversation about specific programs will be an ongoing conversation. We're making investments in IT. We're learning to do things more efficiently and more effectively. And that will be an ongoing conversation."

Dubie's plan calls for cutting income taxes for all brackets. He specifies wanting to lower the tax rate for the wealthiest Vermonters from 9 percent to 6 or 7 percent, but doesn't specify what tax cut he'd propose for middle-class Vermonters.

After a quick reading of Dubie's plan, the Democrats called a press conference and revealed their soundbite: "Dubie Equals Deficits."

"He's got a very simple view of things when we're facing really complex problems," said Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, who came in third among five Democrats running for governor. "The plan in its simplicity is a George Bush-style plan of cutting taxes. And that plan, understand, led us into the deficit problems we have today."

Doug Racine, who lost to Democrat Peter Shumlin by 197 votes and has initiated a recount that will drag the primary out another two weeks, laid into Dubie, too.

"This is make-believe, the numbers don't add up, and it shows a real lack of understanding of how state government operates," Racine said.

And Shumlin, apparently trying to hammer home the Bush parallel: "It shouldn't surprise us that after Brian flew across the lake to have dinner with George W. Bush, he comes out with an economic plan that's very similar to the plan that bankrupted America: deficits, unending deficits, tax cuts for the wealthiest Vermonters and budgets that don't balance."

Asked specifically what about Dubie's plan doesn't add up, Racine said, "You can take a look at the plan. He talks about supporting existing Vermont companies, promoting and expanding the EB-5 visa program, greater support for the technology lending program, bolstering VEDA successful job-creation programs, more tourism promotion. Those are just a few of the examples. Not bad ideas, any of them. But how do you do this and cut people's taxes at the same time? That's where the numbers don't add up ... I just don't think Brian's had the experience of dealing with real-world state budgets, and that shows in this plan."

Not to be undone, the Dubie campaign responded to the Democrats' charges later today. From campaign manager Corry Bliss:

“After five proposals, including a combined 100 pages of higher taxes, new government programs, and other gimmicks that hit like a lead balloon, they are desperate to run away from their records. Peter Shumlin never lets the truth get in the way of his political agenda. Hearing the person who led the charge to raise $26 million in taxes during the recession and then call it a ‘fluke’ claim that he supports job creators is laughable. I guess the National Federation of Independent Business/Vermont hadn’t heard about his plan when they gave him a 0% rating on their newest legislative scorecard.”

First impressions = official statement. A sad attempt by the Dems, but I guess I shouldn't have expected much more analysis than that.

Brian Dubie: Where's the beef?

Lots of promises but no way of delivering.

After four terms of Jim Douglas, this is the best we can come up with? Was Dubie sleeping all that time? Same old, same old. No specifics, no shared pain. Just a punchlist of buzzwords.

The Democrats should ask Dubie if he would be a better governor than Douglas has been. See how he deals with that.

The Republicans are in a bit of an awkward position. Jim Douglas did a voice over spot that encouraged folks to vote for Dubie to allow, among other things, Vermont to "start hiring again."

That opens up a potentially juicy attack for the Democratic nominee that could and should be exploited mercilessly, since it obviously begs the question of why haven't we been hiring under Douglas.

But of course thanks to Doug Racine's pathetic sour grapes we don't yet have a nominee who can exploit that line of attack with gusto. Shumlin can still attack, but he's kinda got one hand tied behind his back till the recount ends.

Thanks again Doug Racine.

"After four terms of Jim Douglas, this is the best we can come up with? Was Dubie sleeping all that time? Same old, same old. No specifics, no shared pain. Just a punchlist of buzzwords."

Not one of the 5 Dems running for Governor in the primary -- not ONE -- ever said a single specific thing about how they'd handle next year's $120 Million budget. Ever. Not once in 60 or so joint appearances. Not one of them ever said what program or service they'd cut or which and how many state employees they'd lay off or which taxes they'd raise and by how much, to deal with the budget deficit. Ever.

Other than the occasional beautiful generality like, "we need to be more efficient."

We ain't gonna "efficiency-ize" our way out of a $120 Million hole.

At least Racine had the cojones to at least hint at the possibility of new taxes, although he deliberately stayed vague.

They made lots of nice promises about "growing the economy" and education for all and free health care for all, but not a single word about dealing with the deficit. Not one single specific word.

And you're finding fault with Dubie for not being specific enough? Where were you when the Dems were campaigning in the primary and not saying one specific word about reducing the deficit?

Dubie himself admits that the current administration, which includes him, hasn't been able to get their agenda past the Democrats Super Majority. This is a classic example of lack of leadership. Leadership includes the ability to skillful influence others without having the formal authority over the person and that obviously hasn't been happening.
So, if the Super Majority continues, based on Douglas' and Dubie's excuses, Dubie's plan is dead on arrival.

A large number of Dubie's proposals involves reducing costs or reducing cost growth rates. Dubie doesn't have the experience nor the "EXPERTISE" to do so. Reducing the states outrageous cost structure is too important to be delegated or pawned off on consultants.

Another problem is that Dubie is "hoping" that by cutting taxes, businesses will grow (to pay more taxes, albeit at a lower rate) and hire more people. I can't see that happening. Businesses are more inclined to pay their people overtime than hire new ones... its cheaper to do so. "Hope is not a strategy".

I will hold my comments on the Dems plans until we have a clear victor.

In the nearer term, we need a governor who has the experience and "EXPERTISE" to significantly reduce costs and reduce government bureaucracy.

Check out my plan or give me a buzz.

On the contrary:

Racine & Shumlin have been very specific about budget issues. They have a long voting record that shows what programs they favor & which they want cut. They have a long record that tells us how they think about tax policy ... because as leaders in the Senate, they had to build tax policy.

Love them or hate them, they have a leadership record.

Dubie has no such record. He has never put together a budget for the state. He never voted on a budget. He never voted on a single tax issue. He has no record. And now he's not giving us any substance at all. Just empty rhetoric. "Grow Jobs" How? "Cut Taxes" How? When? Which taxes? What programs will you cut to pay for the tax cuts? He want more money in his favorite government programs ... but won't tell us where he will get the money from. No substance. No record. No hat. No cattle.

We've had years of Jim Douglas at the helm and the state is still having the same problems. Dubie talks about reform, but reform from what? The policies of Jim Douglas. Why would anyone want more of the same? Dubie = Douglas.

"They have a long voting record that shows what programs they favor & which they want cut."

You can't infer what someone would do as Governor from their voting record in the legislature, nor should you have to.

"Love them or hate them, they have a leadership record."

Bull. They have a record of refusing to make hard budgetary choices (and offend their state employee friends) because they knew they could rely on an adult in Montpelier to veto their tax-and-spend party, and then use the veto as a partisan launching pad.

In fact, they gave the Governor the right under the Challenges for Change program to do their job for them, and then they ran scared late in the session when they got heat from the state employees.

You skirted my question. I asked when did ANY of them -- once -- during the campaign say specifically what they would do to the budget to deal with the $120 million deficit (i.e., what programs they would cut, what taxes they would raise). You responded by dealing with their "long voting record," which says absolutely nothing about how they would deal with the deficit as Governor -- unless, of course, you are simply saying that we can and should infer they'll raise taxes, which is the ONLY thing that their "long voting record" would show that they'd do.

By the way, you say that their long voting record "shows
what programs they favor & which they want cut." What programs have Racine or Shunmlin ever cut, and how much did it save? And what additional programs are you, as a seasoned observer, able to infer that they would cut based on their past "long voting record"?

Jesus, all they have to do is say, in simple, plain, declarative sentences, here's what program or agency I am going to cut to close the deficit and here's the taxes I'm going to raise. We shouldn't have to try to read the tea leaves of their voting records to see if we can divine their intentions.

"Jesus, all they have to do is say, in simple, plain, declarative sentences, here's what program or agency I am going to cut to close the deficit and here's the taxes I'm going to raise."

Funny because that where I started: by pointing out that Dubie has not done this.

He's promising more spending and fewer taxes. The only thing we can extrapolate from that is that he wants budget deficits.

Two years in a row, Peter Shumlin sheperded substantial budget cuts through the Senate. He's actually proposed (and passed) multiple balanced budgets. He's done the work. You might not agree with his priorities but we all know where Shumlin stands. We have no idea with Dubie because he is too vague. An empty suit, spouting meaningless soundbites.

You are correct that Dubie is being just as vague as the Dems have been.

But you are incorrect in your spin of Shumlin's record. Last year the Legislature rejected the Governor's budget and built a budget that increased government spending over the previous year by 6% and increased taxes by $26 million. When the Governor vetoed that budget, Shumlin led the charge, with Smith, to override the veto. What f'ing "substantial budget cuts that Shumlin sheperded through the Senate" are you f'ing talking about? (BTW, check the spelling on "shepherd".)

Fact: Shumlin hasn't ever actually cut overall government spending from the previous year, and has in fact raised taxes.

Fact: We have a projected budget deficit of $120 million next year and Shumlin has not given a single specific thing about how he's going to fix it. Please tell me the agency or program or service he's going to cut and/or the taxes he's going to raise, and where and when he said it. You can't. Because he didn't.

Fact: ". . . we know where Shumlin stands." Huh? No, despite your happy horsesh**, we do NOT know where Shumlin stands on covering the deficit. Because he refuses to say. And, no, "growing green jobs" isn't an answer to the question of how to fix the budget deficit. And, by the way, that was a particularly poor choice of rhetoric on your part, because if there's one thing we DO know about Shumlin, it's that even HE does not know where he stands, because he changes his mind every day. Like, I love VY. No, wait, I hate them! Like, now, "I'm a fiscal conservative."

Your attempted comparison between Dubie and Shumlin on the issue of the budget deficit is vacuous.

'Growing Green Jobs' isn't my rhetoric. I've never uttered the phrase until now. It's Brian Dubie's line. And I agree that it isn't an answer to solving the deficit. It isn't an answer to anything. Just more empty rhetoric from Brian Dubie.

There is actually no comparison between Shumlin and Dubie on the budget deficit. Shumlin has passed multiple balanced budgets through the legislature. Dubie has sat on the sidelines and done nothing.

Anyhow, we disagree and I'll leave it at that. Best of luck to you, Mr. Doublestandard.

Growing green jobs may not be your rhetoric, but it's your pal Shumlin's. It's his only answer to the budget deficit problem. That and health care for everyone, which all agree will increase gov't spending at least in the short run.

"Shumlin has passed multiple balanced budgets through the legislature."

With each one involving an increase in spending and taxes over the one before. Gov. Dean wouldn't have stood for it. And of course it's easy to balance a budget when you raise taxes and you can force the tax increase down the Governor's throat, as Peter-the-Speeder did lasty year. But Shumlin hasn't said, and either have you, if that's how he'll solve the $120 million deficit. What's the big f'in deal? Why can't your "tough choices" hero just say, yep, I'm gonna raise taxes because I won't have the cojones to cut Vt. state programs by $120 million.

"Dubie has sat on the sidelines and done nothing."

This is actually quite dumb. What was the Lt. Gov., who is not a member of the Executive or the Legislature, supposed to do? How many budgets did Racine pass when he was Lt. Gov.? Exactly. None. In fact, Dubie has been a much more active Lt. Gov. than Racine ever was. How many forign trade missions did Racine lead? None that I recall. He stayed home and kept quiet and collected his paycheck from the Jeep dealership and didn't interfere with tightwad Dean's command of the ship. And thank god for that.

Have a great day.

Wow, Dubie is even paying a spin doctor to respond to criticism in blog posts? Nice work if you can get it, Mr. Doublestandard.

@ Mental:

It must slowly eat away at you to be a PO (Political Operative) and have to spew spin all the time.


Corollary to Godwin's law: the first one to imply that another commenter is "working for the opposition" loses. Sorry, JM.

What the hell are you people talking about? I wish I could get paid to post that kind of garbage on blogs all day. Instead, I have to do it as an upaid, part-time hobby. ;-)

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