Lt. Gov. Phil Scott says Gov. Peter Shumlin’s failure to outline a financing system for a single-payer health care plan during the 2014 session is hurting Vermont’s business climate.
Scott says a number of businesses are reluctant to expand because of the uncertainty surrounding this issue.
In January, the governor said he would unveil a “menu of options” this session that could be used to finance a single payer health care system.
But that didn’t happen because Shumlin said evaluating various possibilities was more complicated than he originally thought and he set next January as the time to unveil his financing plan.
The governor hopes to implement a single-payer system in 2017. But he says that timeframe might need to be pushed back in order to give lawmakers enough time to thoroughly review the details.
Scott is Vermont’s only Republican statewide officeholder. He says the governor’s decision to delay a financing package is hurting the Vermont economy.
“I have been a skeptic but I’d like to see some of the details and we never saw the details,” said Scott. “And those are some of things that businesses look at when they either are looking to expand here, or they’re looking to come to the state to set up shop.”
And Scott says Vermont needs to take steps to improve its business image.
“I still believe we are known throughout the region, whether it be substantiated or not, is that we’re an anti-business state,” said Scott. “And I think that we have to change our image in order to attract more businesses.”
Scott says he’s convinced that the Republicans will have a credible gubernatorial candidate this year. He won’t be that candidate because he’s announced that he’s seeking re-election as at lieutenant governor.
Although he’s a member of Shumlin’s cabinet, Scott says Vermonters would be better served with the election of a Republican governor and more GOP members in the Legislature.
“Myself, personally, I think it would be better,” said Scott. “At the same time I think that what we need in Montpelier in the Legislature is a little more balance.”
Scott says he plans to make economic development issues the top priority in his re-election campaign.