September 19, 2010 -- An excerpt of the gubernatorial debate at Tunbridge between Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican Brian Dubie.
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This is you can quote me.
>> On this edition of you can quote me we will take you to the Tunbridge world's fair.
On Friday the two leading candidates for governor squared off in a radio debate.
Democrat Peter Shumlin faced off against Brian Dubie on WDEV.
Mark Johnson moderated the debate and I also took part in the questioning.
Here now is a portion of that debate.
>> And we want to thank the two candidates joining us here this morning.
Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican Brian Dubie.
Thank you both for coming.
>> Thanks for having us.
We are delighted.
>> I want to begin with the tone of this campaign.
This campaign is really less than a week old and I think that there are Vermonters out there that are concerned that the direction this campaign is going.
Already Mr. Dubie your campaign has accused your opponent of lying, of being unethical, of being a schoolyard bully.
Earlier this week senator Shumlin, you ‑‑ in my view, took advantage of a misstatement that your opponent made and really milked it.
And my question is this: Back in 2006 Martha rainville and Peter Welch ran a campaign that I think my both accounts was the cleanest campaign that has been run in recent years.
Cot two of you agree today to the clean campaign pledge that Martha rainville and Peter Welch took?
let me start with you Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie.
>> Absolutely this.
campaign is about issues.
Senator Shumlin and I served in the senate for four years ago.
I have served as Lieutenant Governor for 8 years.
School board for 6 years.
I have a track record for being a public servant.
Campaign is about our records and we have to be held accountable for our records and if the rhetoric doesn't match the records I would be held accountable and I expect my opponent to be held accountable.
So when ‑‑ it is important that we focus on making sure that what we say and what I say as a caned I date is consistent with the record.
It would be my commitment to the people of Vermont, it would be my commitment to you, mark, to run on issues or campaign about the issues that concern Vermonters most of the growing the economy, focusing on how we can take ‑‑ make a great state an even better state and that would be my commitment.
That's my commit.
as a father of 4 children.
As a life long Vermonter.
And I will conduct this campaign ‑‑ Vermonters expect a spirited debate so there will be a spirited debate and would I ask my opponent to join with me and to accept the challenge that you laid before us to make sure that we stay focused on the issues that are most important to Vermont.
Share our springs, share my 10‑point plan for how I think we can grow our economy by cutting taxes and cutting red tape to create more opportunities.
That's been my focus and this would be my commitment, mark.
>> Before I have you answer this question senator Shumlin Lieutenant Governor Dubie would be willing to add mate that you have gone too far that your campaign has gone too far with the rhetoric so far?
>> No, I think I would stand by any statements that I have said about correcting the record, about statements that have been senator Shumlin made about cutting taxes and the record I feel very strongly that what I have pointed out has been factually correct, mark.
>> Do you think he is unethical?
>> I think that when you ‑‑ you have to be accountable for your record.
And when you say one thing or when you ‑‑ as you just pointed out, when I make a misstatement and then for 48 hours my opponent misrepresents what he knows to be one of my core beliefs, that's unethical.
I think that's unethical, mark.
>> Let me have you respond to this.
willing to make the same pledge this morning?
>> Absolutely and let me first say that when Brian made his misstatement the minute that I heard he made his misstatement I accepted it.
>> But wait a minute.
You knew when he said it that that is not what he meant.
Later that afternoon you put out a press release saying this is the difference between me and Brian Dubie
>> That's actually not accurate.
If you want to get into the details when Brian made the statement on the radio station, I responded to it there.
It wasn't until later that they corrected it.
As soon as I saw the correction, I accepted him for having misspoken.
We all do that.
I accept that.
And I just want to point out that in my judgment, I know that we are all going to make statements at times that aren't accurate.
We do that in public life.
Reverse words and so forth.
I accept that Brian didn't mean that he was going to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable.
>> Did you really think he meant it at the time?
>> Well, all I could respond to is what he said and if you look at the clip if you were there, think it was reasonable to believe that you know, let's be honest about this, when you cut budgets to the level that we are talking about, in Brian's plan, it is ‑‑ all government does is serve the most vulnerable.
That's what we do so it was a reasonable statement given the plan that he had outlined to make cuts.
>> Do you think he wanted to target the most vulnerable in Vermont truly?
>> I think Brian was ‑‑ I had thought at the time listening to his word and believing his word that he was simply saying that in order to cut government to the level that one has to in his plan, 250 million dollars of reduced taxes plus the 110 million that is to be cut next year that the most vulnerable we will have to take some hit.
Whenever you cut state government, I just cut two budgets.
168 million, 158 million.
There is no question that the most vulnerable did get some cuts in those actions.
When you cut government spending, what government does is take care of those who need us.
So whenever you cut government spending shall it is very difficult to do without impacting their lives.
We have impacted the homeless, those who need health care service, we have impacted those who need heat in the winter, we all know that in government.
So it wasn't an unreasonable thing to assume
>> As soon as I heard that he corrected it I accepted the correction but let's get to the major part of your question.
Vermonters expect us to run a positive issue‑oriented campaign.
I will and I expect Brian to.
I think Brian is ethical.
Now, it is really important, think the rainville‑Welch example is a perfect one.
That we run this campaign in a positive way because the stakes are so high.
I have never seen a time in Vermont where we are united on the issue, jobs, economic struggles that Vermonters going through.
not just the unemployed but those who have jobs that find her incomes are stagnant, bills recall mounting, they can't keep up.
Let's talk about tax policy, let's talk about the issues.
But when you come out with ads like yesterday's which doesn't have one shred of truth in it about my tax record, it is very difficult to have a thoughtful debate about issues when the facts that are being projected on the television by the other side aren't factual.
So let's stick to the facts, have a positive campaign, respectful in the spirit of Vermont's great democracy.
>> Well, let's talk about that ad because so far you look at the details and it seems that there are some parts of the ad that are true.
You did initially support certain tax hikes that maybe later in the budget weren't enacted like the manufacturing tax hike.
What in that ad specifically that the Republican govern owe are O's association is not true?
>> I would say just about everything.
What it says in the ad is, that the act 60 raised property taxes.
First of all that's not factual and in the first year of act 60 we reduced property taxes by 64 million dollars in the first year alone we made a judgment that because property taxes were so crushing, we were going to shift from property taxes to broad‑based taxes.
We did that.
That's a choice.
There is no match in go.
You can reduced taxes by 64 million without agreeing you will get it somewhere else.
We made the judgment property tax reform, would reduce the crushing burden so act 60 reduced property taxes by 64 million dollars for Vermonters.
The ad says it raised them.
On the manufacturing tax, also not true.
The bill that we sent to the governor did not include the manufacturing tax and in fact, I thought very hard in that hard to put in an 8 million dollar tax credit for EV wideman and St. Johns bury because they were struggling to keep jobs in Vermont so I had a manufacturing tax in there ‑‑ a manufacturing tax reduction in that bill, not an increase.
So the two main premises of ad are factually in correct.
My response has been to say this, listen, let's take the inaccurate ads off the air and debate tax issues for Vermonters because as a small business person, as an employer, I understand the link between taxes and business growth.
That is why I have bucked my own property and party hand have a long record of cutting taxes for Vermont, E when dean was governor we cut it from 32 to 25%.
I insisted we take the sales tax off the clothing altogether because it was driving businesses from places like turn $bridge across the bridge.
We reduced rooms and meals.
We reduced income tax from 24 to 24%.
Tike a lost heat for doing that.
I have a record of believing that lower taxes grow jobs, particularly for the middle class who has been kicked in the teeth, that's my record.
And what I have said to Brian is, let's debate this.
Sunday night at 7:00 let's have a debate about taxes and jobs.
Will hold up my record to yours anytime.
>> Let's get the Lieutenant Governor to comment.
>> Well I haven't seen the ad but it is ‑‑ as you just said the ad ‑‑
>> Your campaign has sent out a press release saying they have seen the ad and it is 100% accurate
>> I haven't seen the ad.
What I will say is under act 60 property taxes in our state have gone from 450 million to 900 million.
Under act 60 Vermonters pay and you can verify this for northern economic consulting, two economics economists from Vermont, Vermonters paid the highest property taxes in the country.
These of facts.
These are undeninable facts.
And under act 60 we have as a pro education person as someone who has served them on the local school board for 6 years, we have a situation from 1996 to today when we have lost 13% of our student population, our school spending has gone up by 70%.
Under act 60 we have the lowest student staff ratio in the country.
For every staff member we have 4.5 students.
So that's the fact.
As far as did you yo know I don't ‑‑ it is my belief as a pro education person that our education spending is currently unsustainable going forward.
In the next 10 years we will lose another 8500 students.
So it is my belief that as Vermont's next governor I would bring school board members, educators, parents, superintendents, principals, business people, nonprofit people together and convene a conversation to say how can we re‑form our education funding for the next decade.
We will lose another 8500 students in our state.
The status quo is not going to work.
As far as the production reduction, the federal government under president Obama to encourage on‑shore manufacturing put a production reduction credit in a piece of legislation that Vermont senate and you senator vote affirmatively not to let that production deduction go forward.
That's a tax on manufacturers, farmers, St. Albans co‑op.
Green mountain coffee roasters, general electric, IBM, all these manufacturers showed up.
We held a press conference.
Governor talked about vetoing the budget if it didn't include that.
that's the record.
Those are undeniable facts so we should be as I said we should be talking about real issues and a real transparent way and I will let the record speak for itself.
>> Let's stay on education here for a moment.
I would like to have both of you comment do you think that the prebate program as it exists today is too generous?
let me start with you Brian.
>> I don't think the prebate program is too generous.
I think the fact is Vermonters are paying too much in property tax.
I think Vermonters are looking for a system when a state representative can't explain a tax bill to a constituent, think our system is too complex.
When 70% of Vermonters can vote for an increase in education spending under act 60 and not feel a corresponding increase in their taxes, we have basically severed local control.
So what we need to do is re‑establish and reinforce local control.
Why it is so important, because as I said, in the next 10 years we will lose another 8500 students.
We got ‑‑ I had a conversation in one part of our state.
There two schools within 5 miles of each other.
Both of them are under 50% occupancy right now.
The ‑‑ and it is very close to ‑‑ up in grand Isle.
And the next five years they are expecting less population.
The youngsters, the students in those schools aren't getting the depth of curriculum that they should get.
Early this not getting the extracurricular activities they should get.
It is going to get worse.
And the history resistance for change is inhibiting us to heat one building and provide teachers, a better Spates by ‑‑ in that particular situation by consolidating.
And that is a conversation that we are going to have to have.
It is not going to happen in some committee room in Montpelier but as a governor it is a conversation that I would bring and bring for the entire state of Vermont to say you know how can we figure out how to deliver not just a good education, a great education for the next generation in a way that is responsible and sustainable for the taxpayers in the state of Vermont.
>> Let me just back up to the statements that were made before because it is really important we correct the record.
Vermont no longer funds its schools through act 60.
We fund our schools from you act 68.
Act 68 was passed in Brian's first term as Lieutenant Governor 8 years ago.
And I was not there when it passed.
But it is really important that we stick to the facts here.
Act 60 in its first year reduced taxes by 64 million.
We now use a funding system called act 68.
And if the Lieutenant Governor is suggesting that all of the property tax increases over the last 12 years are the fat of any one of us, I would suggest that those decisions are made locally.
We all know that in the first Tuesdays in march schools and communities decide how much to spend on their schools.
Then the question is, does Montpelier meet its obligation to support that funding or do they back down and shift to it local property tax base?
what the governor and Lieutenant Governor did two years ago was support a budge that's would have shifted 105 million dollars in local property tax base.
The speaker and I and others object to that.
We overrode the veto and said no way no how so Brian is one the who has the record of trying to increase property taxes.
>> Let me interrupt you there.
>> Do you think that the property tax rebase program is too generous?
>> No, I don't and I think that it is really a shame that we have pitted in the last 8 years the government against our teachers, the government against our school children, and the government against our hard‑working school board members.
In an effort to undermine public education.
That's what I think has happened but I think that the importance of the program you are referring to is simply this.
It gives hard‑working Vermonters who are having trouble paying their property taxes relief and it acts out of staters and businesses to pay a little more.
I think that is both fair and progressive and right and we work very hard when we passed act 60 and frankly when Brian and the governor passed act 68 to keep that in place.
They have been trying to whittle way at it since.
Be very careful because it reduces that program as you know reduces property taxes for hard‑working Vermonters and asks others to help pay the bill.
You have both talked about growing the con my and how important that is and this is the number‑one issue in this campaign I will start with Brian Dubie to be this question.
One of the biggest challenges facing the state is dem owe graph innings.
If you don't have young people to take those jobs, Vermont is one of the grayest states in the nation.
The average age of the resident has increased four years just in the last few years.
How are you going to attract young people, find people who take these jobs that your hoping to grow?
>> Well, first of all, I just would like to challenge senator Shumlin to back up this 100 million dollar ‑‑ the fact is you overwrote a governor's veto and raised taxes in a recession.
That's the record.
I have searched the record and I can continue to try to ‑‑ I can't reconstruct this 100 million dollar claim that you make.
You are right, Kristin we do have demographics.
It saddens me as a Vermonter that 4 times the national average leave our state.
We have the second oldest population.
In the next 20 years our over 65 population will double that.
will present challenge.
Why I have proposed by 10‑point jobs plan that people can review, I have talked to thousands of small business owners in my time as Vermont's Lieutenant Governor.
I have talked to economists.
My plan is very simple.
We need to move in a different direction.
We need to lower our taxes.
And we need ‑‑ we need to reform our regulatory process to create ‑‑
>> You say move in a new direction.
But governor Douglas has been in office now for 8 years.
How would your term in office be a new direction for the state?
>> Well, we need to work together.
The legislature, the executive branch needs to work together.
When you override a governor's veto, think Vermonters have a pretty good idea of who is driving the bus.
And what my hope is that by putting out a 10‑point plan, a 26‑page plan that is nonpartisan, that I would hope that democrats, independents and Republicans could unite around, be as transparent as I can ‑‑ to answer you question with detail, 26 payments, 10 points it says with definition, if we make ‑‑ if we establish this ‑‑ a cap to our growth in spending, it is not a cut.
If we establish a cap to our growth in spending, over ‑‑ from 2013, 2015, 2014 to 2015 we can provide opportunities for tax reductions, property tax, income taxes for all Vermonters, not one targeted group but all Vermonters.
And we can fund some strategies that I put expanding VITA funding, removing the cap on veggie, by making investment tax credits for investments.
Research and development tax credits.
Things that small businesses have advised me would create more opportunities for young people.
When you have the highest property taxing in the country and the property taxes is inhibiting his ability to bring new work to Rutland, Vermont we have some challenges.
So that is what I'm saying.
If using the campaign, talking about these issues, pointing out opportunities for to us make some changes, that is the way I hope to unite Vermonters around my vision.
>> Senator Shumlin how do you keep young people in Vermont?
>> Well, Kristin, I have two daughters, both in college.
And like most Vermonters wasn't them to come back here, work here, be able to raise their families, make a good living and prosper.
The challenge we have now is that that is very tough to do in Vermont.
And I think you raised the point very articulately.
Over the last 8 years, we have lost 10,000 private sector jobs.
The middle class struggling to survive so I have a very aggressive program to create jobs and create wealth.
It comes from my experience of having been born and raised here, built a small business, had a fair amount of success in that, I will be the first governor that's actually met a payroll, run a business, since Dicks Snelling think our time has come.
Here is the infrastructure.
First of all let's talk about the opportunity.
I think there is going to be extraordinary economic opportunities for Vermont and the nation as we transform from a society that burns oil to one that moves to other technologies.
Great opportunities in both alternative energy and energy efficiency, rebuilding our homes, so they are not wasting energy resources, manufacturing has a bright future, farming and agriculture, grow local and expanding markets to Boston, Montreal, that's the vision.
Extraordinary economic opportunity.
The question is, is Vermont going to have a governor who has the ability to get a piece that of action?
I say yes.
If we solve the following problems for which I have bold initiatives for small business.
Here they are.
My biggest problem as a business person is not property taxes, it is health insurance.
So I'm going to pass the first single payer health care system in the country.
I'm pledging to do that.
Where health insurance follows the individual and is not an obligation of the employer.
Second, I want to pass a tax policy that grows wealth and grows jobs.
Third, broad band internet to every last mile by 2013.
My favorite governor was the last governor we had from Putney, Vermont George Aiken and he did for electricity what I will do for broad band.
He of every last mile by 2013.
I well guilt it done No.
We will deliver on it.
4th we've got to retrain our work force so sew we can do these jobs that's critically important.
And finally, it is very very important as we go forward that we stop bad mouthing Vermont as a place to do business.
For the last 8 years we have heard nothing but Vermont is a terrible place to do business.
I got to tell you I have never sold my product by telling people how terrible it is before they buy it.
I will be the chief cheerleader for Vermont's businesses.
No from my own experience there is nowhere better in the country to run a business than the great state of Vermont.
>> we will get back to the economy shortly.
We will take a break.
Before we do I want to ask each of you if you support or oppose a proposal that came out this week, I think our friend Peter wrote this story about the Vermont state police seeking a purchase of 270 stun guns.
Do you support or oppose that senator Shumlin?
>> You know I will be honest with you.
That's a question I have given little thought so to and the first I have heard about it is right now.
So I would have to talk to our state police and law enforcement before I made a judgment on that.
>> I don't dish have not talked with the commissioner about it but I suspect the intention is to use a nonviolent means to detain people that would be consistent ‑‑ it would sound reasonable to me but would I have to ask the commissioner about the justification.
>> We are here live and talking about Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, the Republican candidate for governor and senator Peter Shumlin.
The democratic candidate.
We will take a short break and will be right back after this.
>> There is a half hour section of the hour‑long debate that took place on Friday here at the turnbridge world's fair.
Candidates so far have participated in 3 debates.
They have at 9 more scheduled.
Including one with channel 3 at the end of October.
Until then I'm Kristin Carlson.
Have a great Sunday.