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YCQM: March 24, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: March 24, 2013

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>>> FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WXAX -- WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWS MAKER, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE, I'M KRISTIN CARLSON. OUR NEWS MAKER THIS MORNING IS REPUBLICAN MINORITY LEADER DON TURNER. BRINGING A PROGRESS REPORT ON THE ADMINISTRATION AND SOME MAJOR BILLS HAVE PASSED, AND OTHERS ARE ABOUT TO BE VOTED ON. MR. TURNER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> AND JOINING THE QUESTIONING IS DARREN PERRON.

>> THANK YOU. MR. TURNER, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING. SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF TAXES ON THE TABLE IN MONTPELIER THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION. LET'S START WITH ONE THAT REALLY GETS PEOPLE FIRED UP. THIS OF COURSE IS THE GAS TAX. RIGHT NOW, THE BILL AS IT IS WOULD ADD A SALES TAX, A PERCENTAGE OF A SALES TAX TO THE FLAT TAX THAT'S EXISTING. BOTTOM LINE, WE'RE LOOKING AT ABOUT 8 CENTS PER GALLON OF GAS. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THIS?

>> DARREN, IT'S VERY DISAPPOINTING THAT THIS ACTUALLY MADE IT THROUGH THE HOUSE. WE WORKED REALLY HARD WITH THE TRANSPORTATION JOINT FISCAL PEOPLE TO COME UP WITH ALTERNATIVES THAT WOULD NOT REQUIRE A GAS TAX INCREASE, BUT STILL FULLY FUND THE PROPOSED BUDGET AS WAS REQUIRED BY -- ASKED FOR. SO THE PROPOSALS, THE AMENDMENTS WE BROUGHT FORTH, BROUGHT BALANCED APPROACHES. WE DID SOME CUTTING, WE ASKED THE EOT TO DO SOME CUTTING. WE ALSO ASKED TO GET RID OF THE AUTOMATIC INFLATER. TO US, THAT'S THE MOST OFFENSIVE PART OF THIS BILL, IS THAT IT'S GOING TO REQUIRE -- IT'S GOING TO CAUSE THE GAS TAX TO AUTOMATICALLY INCREASE AS THE PRICES GO UP. WHICH IS TOTALLY WRONG FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE. IF YOU NEED A GAS TAX, LET'S HAVE A VOTE ON IT, LET'S HAVE A DEBATE. SO THAT ONE IS VERY OFFENSIVE. AGAIN, THAT GOT SHOT DOWN. WE'RE HOPING THAT THE SENATE WILL PICK THAT UP. BUT THE NEW GAS TAX PROPOSAL IS SO COMPLEX, NOBODY IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH GAS TAX REALLY COSTS IN THE FUTURE. SO WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE THAT FIGHT WITH THE SENATE, HOPEFULLY THERE WILL BE SOME MOVEMENT THERE, BUT IT IS UNLIKELY IT WILL STOP AT THIS POINT.

>> CLEARLY, THOUGH, SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE, BECAUSE WE'RE LOOKING AT LOSING FEDERAL MONEY IF WE DON'T RAISE ENOUGH TO, YOU KNOW, DEAL WITH BRIDGES, DEAL WITH ROADS. SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ALTERNATIVES YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT?

>> WELL, THE STATE OF VERMONT HAS BONDING CAPACITY IN THE TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE OF $100 MILLION. WE'RE USING ABOUT 20 MILLION OF IT. SO ABOUT 20% OF IT WE USE, SO THERE'S A LOT OF CAPACITY THERE. THERE'S ALSO THE TRANSPORTATION BUDGET, THEIR BUDGET, THE STATE DOLLAR PIECE OF IT IS OVER $225 MILLION. SO WE'RE LOOKING TO RAISE ABOUT 14 MILLION. SO WE ASKED THEM TO LOOK INTO, YOU KNOW, LOOK UNDER ALL THE ROCKS, COME BACK, BE MORE EFFICIENT, LOOK FOR WAYS TO SAVE GOING FORWARD, AND WE REALLY GOT STONEWALLED THERE. IF YOU REMEMBER, AND I HOPE THE VIEWERS REMEMBER, THAT THE FIRST ROCK THAT WAS OVERTURNED, LOOKED UNDER IN THE AGENCY TRANSPORTATION BUDGET, WAS A $1.5 MILLIONAIRE PLAIN THERE. WE THINK THERE'S -- MILLION AIRPLANE THERE. WE THINK THERE'S ROOM TO CUT MORE MONEY, TO USE MORE BONDING CAPACITY AND USE THESE PROGRAMS THAT ARE ANTIQUATED AND NOT RAISE THE GAS TAX, WHICH IS WHAT WE PROPOSED.

>> WHY DO YOU THINK DEMOCRATS, AND ALSO 12 MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, SUPPORTED THE GAS TAX, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT LARGE CONTINGENCY ISN'T WILLING TO LOOK AT ANY OTHER ALTERNATIVES THAN THE GAS TAX?

>> YOU KNOW, IT IS A DIFFICULT QUESTION TO ANSWER, KRISTIN, I FIND IT HARD MYSELF, BUT THE ANSWER IS, THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID THIS IS WHAT HE WANTS TO DO, AND THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO, THE MAJORITY.

>> IS THAT WHY THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING IT?

>> THE REPUBLICANS DID IT BECAUSE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE IS A REPUBLICAN. HAS A LOT OF RESPECT WITHIN OUR CAUCUS, PAT BRENNAN, HE'S DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB. HE IS OUR ONE CHAIR IN THE HOUSE, AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE REALLY RESPECT AND WANTED TO SUPPORT PAT. AND EVEN I KNEW THAT. WE HAD CAUCUSES AND I STOOD THERE WITH PAT RIGHT BY MY SIDE AND I SAID HE HAS HIS JOB TO DO, I'VE GOT MINE. 13,000 VERMONTERS SIGNED PETITIONS THEY DIDN'T WANT A GAS TAX. MY CONSTITUENTS WERE LOUD AND CLEAR: DON'T SUPPORT A GAS TAX, SO I DIDN'T. AND MANY OF MY CAUCUS MEMBERS DIDN'T. BUT I THINK THE 12 THAT DID GO WITH PAT WERE SUPPORTING PAT BRENNAN AND NOT NECESSARILY THE GAS TAX.

>> HOUSE SPEAKER CHAP SMITH HAS POINTED OUT IN A PRESS CONFERENCE ERLT EARLIER LAST WEEK THAT WE REALLY SHOULDN'T BE FOCUSING SO MUCH ON THE PAIN AT THE PUMP, PAYING FOR THINGS WHEN WE NEED BETTER BRIDGES, WE NEED BETTER ROADS, AND THIS IS GOING TO LEAD TO A MORE ROBUST ECONOMY IN VERMONT. LET'S TAKE A LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAD TO SAY.

>> UNFORTUNATELY SOMETIMES WE FOCUS TOO MUCH ON THE WAY THAT WE'RE PAYING FOR THINGS AND WE DON'T FOCUS ENOUGH ON WHAT IS BEING DONE. WE HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS IN OUR TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO MAKE THAT IMPROVEMENT, AND THIS BILL ENSURES THAT THAT WILL HAPPEN. I WANT TO THANK THE ADMINISTRATION FOR THE WORK THAT THEY'VE DONE ON THIS BILL, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THE SENATE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO MAKE THE INVESTMENTS THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR THE LONG TERM HEALTH OF THE ECONOMY.

>> WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

>> I THINK THAT THE SPEAKER DOESN'T POINT OUT THAT WE USED A LOT OF FEDERAL DOLLARS TO DO THOSE INVESTMENTS, WHICH ARE IMPORTANT, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT WE DO MATCH FEDERAL DOLLARS WITH STATE DOLLARS, SO THE PROPOSAL WE BROUGHT FORTH TO DO -- DID DO THAT. THE STATE'S INFRASTRUCTURE IS VERY IMPORTANT, IT'S THE HEART AND SOUL OF OUR ECONOMY, AND OUR STATE. -- WE NEED TO RELY ON INFRASTRUCTURE PIECES, BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN WE HAVE TO RAISE THE GAS TAX. I THINK THAT DOING IT THE WAY IT'S BEEN DONE CREATES A PLACE THAT A LOT OF MONEY IS GOING TO ACCUMULATE THE NEXT FEW YEARS, AND HAS BEEN IN THE PAST, THAT ALL OF A SUDDEN WILL BECOME A PLACE TO RAID MONEY. AND THE TRANSPORTATION FUND HAS BEEN RAIDED FOR YEARS, AND THERE'S ABOUT $35 MILLION A YEAR RIGHT NOW THAT'S RAISED WITH REVENUE SOURCES THAT PEOPLE THINK PAY FOR TRANSPORTATION THAT GO INTO EDUCATION, WILDLIFE, DUI, PUBLIC SAFETY. SO WE PUT THESE PROPOSALS FORWARD THAT WOULD PURIFY THE FUND. SO WE DON'T DISAGREE WITH THE SPEAKER THAT THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS VITALLY IMPORTANT, BUT WORKING VERMONTERS GETTING TO WORK IS VERY IMPORTANT, AND WHEN YOU PUT ADDITIONAL BURDEN ON WORKING VERMONTERS LIKE THIS, IT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME OR MY CAUCUS.

>> YOU MENTIONED THAT THIS PROVISION IN THE HOUSE, ANYWAY, STILL NEEDS TO BE REVIEWED BY THE SENATE, INCLUDES THIS AUTOMATIC INFLATER. SO DOES THIS GUARANTEE THEM THAT LAWMAKERS DON'T NEED TO HAVE THIS DEBATE AGAIN OUT IN THE PUBLIC?

>> I WOULD SAY IT DOES, KRISTIN. AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS THAT WE WERE SO ADAMANTLY OPPOSED TO THAT. I THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE A DEBATE ANYTIME YOU ARE GOING TO RAISE A REGRESSIVE TAX, SUCH AS THE GAS TAX, IT SHOULD BE A DEBATE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR, IN THE SENATE, AND VERMONTERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO WEIGH IN. AND AS I SAID EARLIER, 13,000 VERMONTERS SIGNED PETITIONS THAT WE RECEIVED AND WE BROUGHT AND PUT ON THE RECORD TO FIGHT THIS ISSUE. ONE LAST THING ON THE GAS TAX. YOU KNOW, BUSINESSES ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MASSACHUSETTS BORDER, THEY ARE ALREADY AT A HUGE COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE, AND THIS IS GOING TO INCREASE THAT. AND WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE THAT BURDEN THAT'S BEING PUT IN MONTPELIER IN IT PUTTING THESE PEOPLE OUT OF BUSINESS. SO, AGAIN, WE ARE OPPOSED TO THIS. THE MAJORITY OF MY CAUCUS. I KNOW VERMONTERS ARE OPPOSED TO IT, AND WE HOPE THAT THE SENATE WILL DO SOMETHING TO SLOW DOWN, MODIFY IT, CHANGE OR OR WHATEVER.

>> WE'RE TAPING THIS ON FRIDAY, AND THERE IS A BIG TAX BILL THAT'S SET TO COME OUT OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE, SET TO BE ON THE FULL FLOOR VERY SHORTLY AFTER THAT. THIS IS THE SORT OF THE LATEST PROPOSAL THAT INCLUDES ON MY LIST ABOUT 15 CHANGES, MANY OF THEM TAX INCREASES, JUST TO GIVE PEOPLE AN IDEA FROM THE TAX INCREASES, A CIGARETTE TAX INCREASE, RIGHT NOW THE TAX IS 2.62 A PACK, CIGARETTES WOULD GO UP TO $3.12. A WHOLE LIST HERE. AND WE'RE HEARING FROM LAWMAKERS WHO ARE SAYING $40 MILLION IN NEW REVENUE IS NEEDED TO FUND ALL OF GOVERNOR SHUMLIN'S PRIORITIES. DO YOU AGREE?

>> NO. WE ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE. WE HAVE GONE AND WORKED WITH THE JOINT FISCAL OFFICE AGAIN AND WE HAVE PRON, SHOWN -- PROVEN, SHOWN THAT IF YOU TOOK LAST YEAR'S BUDGET WITH THIS YEAR'S REVENUE PROJECTIONS AND CARRIED IT FORWARD, MADE THE COMMITMENTS TO THE ACTUAL AIR, WE COULD DO THAT WITH NO TAX INCREASES, AND STILL PUT $5 MILLION IN RESERVE. SO THAT, AGAIN, DOESN'T ALLOW FOR ALL THE NEW PROGRAMS THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO IMPLEMENT, NOR DOES IT EXPAND ANYTHING THAT'S EXISTING, BUT WE WERE TRYING TO SHOW THAT WE DON'T NEED TO RAISE THESE TAXES AT THIS TIME. WE COULD BALANCE THE STATE'S BUDGET, PUT MONEY IN RESERVES IN ANTICIPATION OF THE SEQUESTRATION, AND STILL DO IT WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO FLY. I MEAN, WE PUT THAT OUT THERE, WE WILL FIGHT IT NEXT WEEK ON THE FLOOR. BUT I'M SURE THAT THERE WILL BE AT LEAST 20 MILLION, BECAUSE THE SPEAKER TOLD ME HE WANTS AT LEAST 20 MILLION IN NEW TAXES.

>> THE NEW TAXES, TO GIVE FOLKS AN IDEA, THE BILL CALLS FOR A HALF CENT INCREASE IN THE MEALS TAX FOR A LIMITED TIME, SO WHEN PEOPLE GO OUT TO EAT IT WILL COST MORE. DO YOU THINK THAT WILL MAKE IT IN THE FINAL PACKAGE?

>> I HEAR THAT'S ONE THAT'S PROBABLY GOING TO MAKE IT. IT'S ONE OF THOSE THAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD TO FIGHT. WHO FIGHTS IT? I MEAN, YOU GET THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AGAIN, LOBBYING AGAINST IT, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SO ON. BUT IT'S EASIER TO PUT THAT THROUGH THAN IT IS A TAX ON CANDY OR SODA THAT -- OR ON CABLE TV, WHICH I GOT ABOUT 30 E-MAILS.

>> WHAT ABOUT SOMEONE WHO SAYS TO REPRESENTATIVE TURNER, IT IS EASY TO SAY YOU DON'T LIKE TAGSES. THAT'S AN EASY STANCE TO TAKE. BUT PEOPLE ARE RELYING ON THE STATE GOVERNMENT TO DO MORE.

>> UM-HUM.

>> HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE REQUIREMENT AND THE NEEDS OF WHAT THEY ARE COUNTING ON FROM THEIR STATE WITHOUT JUST SAYING NO?

>> I THINK THE ANSWER, KRISTIN, IS LOOKING AT PROGRAMS THAT ARE NOT AS EFFECTIVE AS THEY SHOULD BE AND MOVING FORWARD, IF WE NEED NEW PROGRAMS, MAKING SURE WE BUILD IN SAFEGUARDS SO THEY DON'T JUST GO AND GROW AND GROW OUT OF CONTROL.

>> SO GIVE US A PROGRAM THAT YOU THINK ISN'T CUTTING IT RIGHT NOW.

>> WELL, THE REACH UP PROGRAM. THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT THIS. WE FULLY SUPPORT THE REACH UP PROGRAM, WE'RE ONLY STATE IN THE COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T HAVE A TIME FRAME THAT YOU CAN STAY ON IT. SO YOU -- IT CAN ESSENTIALLY, IT'S TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILY, SOME REFER TO AS WELL FAIR. THAT'S A PROGRAM THE -- WELFARE. THE GOVERNOR ROLLED IT OUT, WE CAN SUPPORT IT. IT MAKES SENSE. IF SOMEBODY HAS BEEN ON THAT PROGRAM FOR FIVE YEARS, IT'S TIME THEY DO SOMETHING ELSE. AND WE ARE THE ONLY STATE IN THE COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T HAVE A TIME LIMIT. SO I THINK THERE'S A CERTAIN NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT DO MOVE INTO THE STATE, I'VE HEARD TOES REPORTS, I CAN'T DOCUMENT -- THOSE REPORTS, I CAN'T DOCUMENT THEM TODAY. REACH UP IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE, WHERE WE HAVE GONE AND CHANGED IT, AND MADE IT MORE AND MORE LUCRATIVE FOR PEOPLE TO STAY ON IT. THERE'S NO INCENTIVE TO GO TO WORK. I CAN STAY ON IT FOREVER. SO THAT'S AN AREA THAT WE SUPPORT THE GOVERNOR. WE WILL BE WORKING HOPEFULLY WITH THE GOVERNOR TO GET THIS PASSED. BUT THAT'S A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN BE DONE, AND IT WILL SAVE THE GOVERNOR'S PROJECTING 6 MILLION THIS YEAR. WE KNOW THAT GOING FORWARD THAT'S GOING TO GROW, IF WE CAN CONTINUE TO TIGHTEN THAT UP A LITTLE BIT, WITHOUT HURTING VERMONT'S MOST VULNERABLE.

>> SO 6 MILLION, BUT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT 20 MILLION NEEDED. SO WHERE ELSE CAN THE STATE CUT?

>> THE SPEAKER IS TALKING ABOUT 20 MILLION. I'M SAYING WE DON'T NEED ANY.

>> OKAY.

>> I'M SAYING WE CAN TAKE LAST YEAR'S BUDGET, AND I HAVE GOT THE PROOF RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF ME, YOU COULD TAKE LAST YEAR'S BUDGET OF ALL THE PROGRAMS THAT WERE THERE, BRING THEM FORWARD, BECAUSE WE HAVE AN INCREASE, A LITTLE GROWTH IN REVENUE, THAT WE CAN DO THAT, AND STILL PUT MONEY IN RESERVE. BECAUSE IF WE DON'T GET OUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE BIGGER AND BIGGER PROBLEMS GOING FORWARD. ONE OF THE OTHER AREAS IN SUBSIDIES THAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS VERMONT SEEMS TO HAVE A HABIT OF EVERY TIME A FEDERAL PROGRAM CUTS BACK, WE BACKFILL IT. YOU KNOW, AND WE HAVE 625,000 PEOPLE, IT IS NOT REALLY GROWING. WE CAN'T BE BACKFILLING EVERY FEDERAL PROGRAM THAT GETS CUT. SO THAT'S AN AREA THAT THE DEMOCRATS, THE MAJORITY, HAS TO START TO WAKE UP, THAT YOU CAN'T BACK FILL EVERY FEDERAL PROGRAM.

>> KRISTIN BROUGHT UP AN INTERESTING POINT, THOUGH. IT SEEMS THAT VERMONTERS HAVE, AND YOU KNOW, THERE'S MORE NEED OUT THERE. THERE'S, YOU KNOW, CONSTANT DEMAND ON GOVERNMENT FOR NEW PROGRAMS, NEW INITIATIVES TO SORT OF HELP FAMILIES, ET CETERA.

>> WE SAW THE REACTION WITH THE REACH UP CUTS, I MEAN, ADVOCATES CAME OUT, THEY CAME OUT WITH FAMILIES TO SAY, NO, NO, YOU CANNOT CUT THIS. THIS IS THE EFFECT.

>> YEAH.

>> SO HOW DO YOU, YOU KNOW, DEAL WITH THAT?

>> WELL, I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, I'M NOT SAYING THAT I'M OPPOSED TO ANY KIND OF TAX CHANGE OR TAX INCREASE, BECAUSE I'M NOT. AND I DON'T THINK MY CAUCUS IS. BUT UNTIL WE REALLY GET A GRASP ON WHAT WE'RE DOING, AS FAR AS SPENDING, WE HAVE SPENT AT 5.6%, ALMOST 6% THE YEAR BEFORE. WE'RE SPENDING OURSELVES INTO A CORNER, IS WHAT WAS' HAPPENING WITH THE -- IS WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE MAJORITY. THAT'S WHY THEY NEED 20 MILLION MORE. WE HAVE THE BIG RECESSION, WE HAD MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO FILL THAT GAP. ALL WE DID WAS KEEP SPENDING THROUGHOUT THOSE YEARS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE JFO WEBSITE, IT IS VERY CLEARLY DOCUMENTED OF HOW WE'VE CONTINUED TO SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. WE'VE GOT TO CUT BACK ON THAT. IS THERE MORE NEED? I THINK THERE ARE MORE NEEDS IN LOTS OF AREAS, AND WE DO HAVE TO LOOK AT THAT. BUT IF WE KEEP SPENDING IT ALL THE PLACES THAT WE HAVE BEEN SPENDING, WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE RESULTS THAT ARE BEING DELIVERED BY THAT MONEY, WE'RE JUST GOING TO KEEP SPENDING AND SPENDING AND SPENDING, AND WE CAN KEEP PUMPING MORE AND MORE MONEY INTO IT, BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE THE OUTCOME.

>> WE WILL TAKE A BRIEF BREAK AND CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSION WITH REPRESENTATIVE DON TURNER

>>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE, WE ARE TALKING TO REPRESENTATIVE DON TURNER, HE IS THE REPUBLICAN MINORITY LEADER IN THE HOUSE. WITH ABOUT 43 MEMBERS.

>> 45.

>> 45 NOW. VERY FIRMLY IN THE MINORITY. LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS IDEA OF A TAX AND WHAT IS A TAX. GOVERNOR SHUMLIN HAS SAID REPEATEDLY THAT VERMONT DOES NOT HAVE ANY MORE TAX CAPACITY, AND THAT HE IS AGAINST THE RAISING OF ANY BROAD-BASED TAXES. THAT INCLUDES THE INCOME TAX. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE LIST OF TAXES, DO YOU THINK SOME OF THESE QUALIFY AS A BROAD-BASED TAX?

>> WELL, I WOULD SAY THE EDUCATION TAX, THE PROPERTY TAX THAT WE ALREADY PASSED THIS YEAR, THIS SESSION AT 5 CENTS IS A BROAD-BASED TAX.

>> BUT THE GOVERNOR WOULD ARGUE, AND I'M SURE YOU HEARD HIM ARGUE AT PRESS CONFERENCES, HEY, THAT'S NOT ME, THAT'S LOCAL CONTROL, THAT'S LOCAL DECISIONS.

>> RIGHT.

>> I DISAGREE WITH THE GOVERNOR, IN THAT THE STATE -- THE LEGISLATURE DEVELOPS POLICY FOR THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, AND THE SCHOOL BOARDS ARE BOUND BY THAT TO GET THE PUBLIC DOLLARS. SO THEY ARE FORCED TO IMPLEMENT THINGS THAT ARE DEVELOPED IN THE LEGISLATURE THAT DON'T ALWAYS COME WITH THE FUNDING. UNFUNDED MANDATES AS WE ALL KNOW ABOUT. AND THEN YOU ADD ON TOP OF THAT ALL THE HUMAN SERVICES PIECES THAT THE SCHOOLS ARE NOW DELIVERING, THAT REALLY COMPOUNDS THAT PROBLEM. SO WE'RE PAYING PART OF OUR HUMAN SERVICES OUT OF THE PROPERTY TAX, AND I THINK THAT'S PART OF THE THING THAT WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT GOING FORWARD, HOPEFULLY. IT IS SOMETHING WE'VE BROUGHT UP. WE DO WANT TO LOOK AT. SO TO FINISH UP ON YOUR QUESTION, KRISTIN, THE BROAD-BASED TAX, WHEN I ASKED THE GOVERNOR, I NEVER GOT A STRAIGHT ANSWER WHAT HIS ANSWER OF BROAD-BASED TAXES, BUT WE HAVEN'T TOUCHED THE SALES TAX CITY WIDE, THE INCOME TAX, BUT THEY ARE TALKING, WAYS AND MEANS ABOUT ELIMINATING A BRACKET IN THE INCOME TAX, SO THAT MIGHT BE A BROAD-BASED TAX. I AM NOT SURE HOW THE GOVERNOR WILL RECEIVE THAT.

>>> ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HOUSE SPEAKER CHAP SMITH WAS TOUTING LAST WEEK WAS THIS IDEA THAT THE FOURTH YEAR OF COLLEGE WOULD BE PAID FOR. THIS IS PASSED THROUGH. AND THAT'S IF THE GRAD STUDENT STAYS IN VERMONT AFTER. WHAT IS YOUR FAKE ON THAT? I MEAN, THIS IS FUNDING FOR EDUCATION, WHERE VERMONT IS REALLY KIND OF FALLEN SHORT OVER THE YEARS.

>> RIGHT.

>> OUR FUNDING OF HIGHER EDUCATION HAS TRULY FALLEN SHORT, AND THE PROBLEM WITH IT, THE REASON THAT THAT HAS HAPPENED, IS BECAUSE ALL THESE OTHER PROGRAMS THAT WE CONTINUE TO FUND AND FILL AND BACKFILL TAKE ALL THE DOLLARS. SO THAT PARTICULAR PROGRAM THAT WE DID SUPPORT, MOST PEOPLE IN THE LEGISLATURE SUPPORT THAT. I MEAN, WE'VE SUPPORTED DUAL ENROLLMENT. WE NEED TO DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO GET VERMONT STUDENTS WHERE THEY ARE READY FOR COLLEGE AND READY TO GO TO WORK. SO IF IT'S THIS TYPE OF PROGRAM THAT'S, YOU KNOW, KIND OF A HYBRID OF, YOU KNOW, KEEPING PEOPLE HERE, AND HELPING THEM PAY FOR COLLEGE, AND WORKING IT OUT IN THE ED FUND, WE'LL HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BALANCE THAT. THE CONCERN FROM MY PERSPECTIVE IS THAT THE PROPERTY TAX IS GONE UP 5 CENTS THIS YEAR STATEWIDE. IT'S PROJECT DZ TO GO UP ANOTHER -- PROJECTED TO GO UP 10 OR 15 NEXT YEAR WITHOUT ANY NEW PROGRAMS. SO IF YOU AT HOME CAN THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR PROPERTY TAXES ARE TODAY AND WHAT THEY MIGHT BE NEXT YEAR WITHOUT ANY NEW PROGRAMS, YOU MIGHT WANT TO THINK TWICE ABOUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO DO THAT.

>> DO YOU THINK DUAL ENROLLMENT, ONE OF THE GOVERNOR'S PRIORITIES IS GOING TO PASS?

>> I THINK YOU WILL SEE SUPPORT FOR THAT. ONE OF THE THINGS PEOPLE ASK ME, HOW DO YOU SUPPORT THESE PROGRAMS IF YOU KNOW IT WILL CHANGE THE COST AND YOU HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING ABOUT THAT. WELL, WE CAN'T KNOW ON EVERYTHING. THERE ARE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO SUPPORT. I MEAN, I SUPPORT EDUCATION, I MEAN, MY CAUCUS SUPPORTS OUR KIDS. THAT'S THE FUTURE OF OUR STATE, THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY. WE CAN'T SAY NO TO ALL THIS STUFF, OR WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO TELL AND PUSH FOR REFORM AND HOW WE ARE GOING TO PAY FOR THIS STUFF.

>> ONE ISSUE THAT REPUBLICANS, MANY VOTED FOR NOT SUPPORTING HAS TO DO WITH THE EQUAL PAY ACT, THAT INCLUDED ALLOWING WORKERS TO REQUEST FLEX TIME FOR SCHEDULES. THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU VOTED AGAINST. WHY?

>> THERE WAS SENTIMENT COMING OUT OF THE LEGISLATURE OF ANTIBUSINESS. AND ANTI-SMALL BUSINESS IN PARTICULAR. SO WE'RE VERY CONCERNED THAT WE PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THESE BILLS THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU SAY EQUAL PAY, I FULLY SUPPORT EQUAL PAY. MY WIFE AND THREE DAUGHTER SS, I WANT THEM TO BE PAID THE SAME AS I WOULD BE PAID OR YOU WOULD BE PAID --

>> OR MORE.

>> ESPECIALLY OUT OF MONTPELIER. SO THE TITLE, THERE IS A NECESSARY TO TELL YOU WHAT THE BILL WAS ABOUT. THE REQUESTING FLEX TIME AND STUFF, WE DON'T REALLY SEE WHY THAT'S EVEN DISCUSSED IN THE LEGISLATURE. IT'S DEALT WITH IN EUROPE, BUT THERE IS NO STATE THAT HAS THIS TYPE OF BILL. WE'RE TAKING UP THIS KIND OF STUFF WHERE IT HAS A CUTE TITLE, BUT REALLY DOESN'T DO ANYTHING, DOESN'T HAVE ANY BITE TO IT, AND THEN WE ARE FORCED TO VOTE ON IT AND FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH IT. I VOTED NO. MANY OF MY MEMBERS OF CAUCUS VOTED NO. PEOPLE SAY WHY DID YOU DO THAT? PEOPLE MOST OFFENDED BY THE BILL WERE THE WOMEN IN MY CAUCUS. THEY SAID WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS, WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

>> SO REQUESTING FLEXIBLE TIME, ANTIBUSINESS, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS THE SENTIMENT WE GOT. THAT'S WHY WE DIDN'T SUPPORT IT.

>> WHAT ARE YOU HEARING, WHY WOULD ANTIBUSINESS -- BECAUSE LIKE YOU SAID, THE BILL DOESN'T HAVE TEETH, WHAT IT IS IS A RECOMMENDATION, ONE OF THE PROVISIONS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS THAT AN EMPLOYER, AN EMPLOYEE CAN GO TO AN EMPLOYER AND SAY, LOOK, I NEED SOME FLEXIBLE TIME, PERHAPS NEED TO SHIFT MY SCHEDULE OR MY HOURS, AND IT WAS JUST MAKING SURE THEY DIDN'T GET RETRIBUTION, ALSO MAKING SURE THAT REQUEST WAS DEALT WITH IN A TIMELY MANNER.

>> RIGHT. HOW IS THAT ANTIBUSINESS?

>> WE DON'T HAVE THAT PROBLEM IN VERMONT, FROM WHAT WE'VE HEARD. NO ONE IN VERMONT HAS THAT PROBLEM. THE OTHER THING, WE TRIED TO PUT AN AMENDMENT ON IT THAT SAID ANY BUSINESS UNDER 25 EMPLOYEES, BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE HUMAN RESOURCE PEOPLE AND ALL THAT STUFF. IF THAT AMENDMENT WAS PUT FORTH AND WAS DEFEATED, WHOLE HEARTEDLY, SO TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION, WHY DO WE NEED TO SHIFT THE BURDEN FROM THE EMPLOYEE WHO NEEDS THAT TIME TO THE EMPLOYER THAT HAS TO DEAL WITH IT IF THEY ARE ALREADY DOING A LOT OF OTHER STUFF. THAT WAS SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS WITHIN THE CAUCUS. IT WASN'T A CAUCUS POSITION. HALF THE CAUCUS SUPPORTED IT, HALF THE SECAUCUS DIDN'T. WE DON'T -- HAVE THE CAUCUS DIDN'T. THAT HE CAN HOW IT COMES OUT -- THAT'S HOW IT COMES OUT SOMETIMES.

>> SPEAKER SMITH SAID IT WAS AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE STATE TO QUOTE HIM THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE THIS BILL IN PLACE ALREADY. DO YOU THINK HE'S SPECIFICALLY JUST TALKING ABOUT THE EQUAL PAY PART, THEN?

>> I THINK SO, BUT THE FEDERAL LAW ADDRESSES EQUAL PAY. FROM THE INFORMATION WE GOT FROM OUR COUNSEL IN MONTPELIER, THERE IS A FEDERAL LAW THAT ALREADY ADDRESSES THIS ISSUE. SO THE FEDERAL LAW IS IN PLACE, AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT. I AM NOT REALLY SURE WHAT THE SPEAKER IS REFERRING TO IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE.

>> LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

>> YES.

>> A LOT HAS BEEN MADE ABOUT REALLY HOW THE PARTY HAS BEEN LEFT, SORT OF DECIMATED TO SOME EXTENT. THEY HAVE ONE PERSON ELECTED STATEWIDE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT, THE NUMBERS IN THE HOUSE HAVE BEEN PRETTY SLIM. NUMBERS IN THE SENATE ALSO FAIRLY SLIMS, REPUBLICANS HAVE MINORITIES, DEMOCRATS CAN CLEARLY DO WHATEVER THEY WANT, THERE IS NOT EVEN A CLOSE BALANCE THERE IN MONTPELIER. IS THERE A FUTURE FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, AND IF THERE IS, WHAT DOES THE PARTY NEED TO DO TO BE MORE VIABLE, TO HAVE MORE STAKE AT THE TABLE, TO HAVE MORE OF A SAY AT THE TABLE. YOU SAY YOU PROPOSED IDEAS AND THEY GET SHOT DOWN UNIVERSELY. OR SHOULD YOU HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE IF VERMONTERS AREN'T VOTING FOR YOU?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, MY POINT IS THAT WE ALLOW PROGRESSIVES WHO HAVE FIVE TO HAVE A SAME SEAT AT THE TABLE AS I DO, WITH THE SPEAKER AND SO ON. SO I THINK IF YOU HAVE DIFFERING PARTIES, THEY ALL SHOULD HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE. NO MATTER HOW MANY THERE'S THERE. TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, I THINK VERMONT REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO. WE ARE LOW IN NUMBERS. BUT PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THERE IS A DIFFERING OPINION ABOUT HOW YOU APPROACH THESE ISSUES. I MEAN, AS WE DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S SHOW WITH HOW WE ARE GOING TO APPROACH TAXES AND HOW WE APPROACH SAVINGS AND SO ON. I THINK THERE IS A HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S SIDE. THAT WORK HAS STARTED. WE HAVE A SUBGROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN MEETING ON A REGULAR BASIS THAT INCLUDES SOME LEGISLATORS, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND A NUMBER OF OTHER PEOPLE WITH THE PARTY LEADERSHIP. WE'RE TRYING TO REACH OUT TO PEOPLE THAT WERE INVOLVED IN THE PAST, THAT MAYBE HAVE KIND OF GONE AWAY, BRINGING THEM BACK AND SAYING WHAT'S GOING ON. SO THERE'S A LOT OF WORK BEING DONE THERE. BUT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE, AND MY JOB IS, TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN THESE ISSUES COME UP, WE ACTUALLY CAN MESSAGE AND SHOW VERMONTERS THERE IS A DIFFERENCE OF PHILOSOPHY IN HOW TO APPROACH THIS. THAT'S WHAT WE TRIED TO DO, I WAS TELLING YOU WITH THE TRANSPORTATION BILL. LAID OUT OUR GOALS, MAKE SURE WE BRING THE FEDERAL DOLLARS DOWN AND SO ON, BUT RAISING THE TAX, OR FINDING SAVINGS. THAT'S DEFINITELY A CLEAR DIFFERENCE OF WHAT THE SPEAKER BELIEVES AND WHAT I BELIEVE.

>> SO WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT HAPPENS. THE PROBLEM IS, AS YOU POINTED OUT, KRISTIN, 12 OF OUR PEOPLE VOTED FOR THE BILL. SO THAT MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT TO SHOW THERE'S A DIFFERENCE. SO WE'VE GOT TO GET BETTER AT DOING THAT. BUT I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW, AND VERMONTERS KNOW THAT I'M NEVER GOING TO TWIST SOMEBODY'S ARM ON HOW TO VOTE. I MEAN, YOU -- THEY REPRESENT THEIR CONSTITUENTS, THEY ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THEM, NOT ME. BUT MY JOB IS TO MAKE SURE THAT I SHOW THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS AND MY PARTY.

>> SO ARE YOU FEELING, THEN, THERE'S NOT ENOUGH UNIFICATION WITHIN THE PARTY, IS THAT THE PROBLEM

>> NO, I DON'T THINK SO, DARREN. I THINK THAT THERE'S INDIVIDUALS MAKE UP THIS CAUCUS. THEY COME FROM ALL OVER THE STATE, THEY HAVE VERY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, VERY DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES. SO A LOT OF TIMES, THEY JUST CAN'T VOTE FOR SOMETHING THAT WOULD MAKE SENSE FOR US TO SORE SUPPORT OR NOT SUPPORT, BECAUSE IT MEANS A LOT TO THEM AND THE PEOPLE THAT SEND THEM TO MONTPELIER. AGAIN, I AM NEVER AS A LEADER GOING TO TELL SOMEBODY HOW TO VOTE. I JUST CAN'T, I WON'T DO IT.

>> DO YOU THINK THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS?

>> WELL, I DON'T THINK WASHINGTON HELPS US A BUNCH. YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT WHAT -- THEY JUST CAN'T SEEM TO WORK TOGETHER AT ALL IN WASHINGTON. AND WHAT I'M MOST PROUD OF IN MY TENURE AS A MINORITY LEADER, IS BRINGING A RESPECTFUL OPPOSITION TO THE ISSUE. YOU KNOW, WE CAN STAND UP AND WE HAD A VERY NON-ADVERSARIAL DEBATE ON THE TRANSPORTATION BILL THAT SEVERAL OF THE DEMS CAME UP AND SAID THANK YOU. WE KNOW WHAT YOUR OPINION IS AND WHAT YOU STAND FOR, AND WE DIDN'T SUPPORT IT. BUT IT WAS DONE IN A MANNER AT THAT WAS RESPECTFUL, IT WAS THOUGHTFUL AND WE HAD A NICE DEBATE, AND I THINK WE GOT OUR MESSAGE OUT TOO TO THE BEST WE CAN. BUT, AGAIN, IT TAKES OPPORTUNITIES LIKE THIS TO COME ON YOUR SHOW AND SAY HERE'S WHAT WE STAND FOR. YOU KNOW, IT IS THE MEDIA AT THE STATE HOUSE TO TAKE AND SHOW THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN YOU KNOW, WHAT WE DID AND WHAT THEY DID. SO IT TAKES -- IT IS A BIG PICTURE, IT'S WORKING TOGETHER WITH LOTS OF PEOPLE, AND DO I NEED MORE PEOPLE IN THE STATE HOUSE? ABSOLUTELY. BUT I NEED THE HELP OF THE MEDIA, THE SOERNL -- SOCIAL MEDIA, WE'RE USING THAT A LOT TODAY. EVERY OPPORTUNITY I GET TO TALK TO PEOPLE, I TRY TO TELL THEM, HERE'S WHAT WE STAND FOR. WE'RE GOING TO DO IT, WE MAY LOSE AND WE PROBABLY WILL. BUT WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK, WE ARE GOING TO BRING A THOUGHTFUL MESSAGE, AND TRY TO GET THE CAUCUS TO SUPPORT THAT SO WE CAN SHOW VERMONTERS THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MONTPELIER NOW AND WHAT COULD BE IF THERE WAS A DIFFERENT MAJORITY PARTY.

>> REPRESENTATIVE DON TURNER, WE WILL LEAVE IT THERE. THE SECOND HALF OF THE SESSION IS OFF AND RUNNING. YOU CAN ALWAYS REACH REPRESENTATIVE TURNER AT THE STATE HOUSE, OR ANY LAWMAKER AT THE STATE HOUSE IF YOU WOULD LIKE, THEY ARE ALWAYS REACHABLE, IN MESSAGE OR IN PERSON.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> THANKS TO YOU AT HOME FOR WATCHING. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY, EVERYONE. TAKE CARE.

>> SO LONG. Captioning provided by Caption Associates, LLC captionassociates.com

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