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YCQM: May 19, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: May 19, 2013

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>> Announcer: FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>> AND GOOD MORNING EVERYONE. I'M DARREN PERRON. OUR NEWSMAKER THIS SUNDAY IS LT. GOV. PHIL SCOTT. WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT JUST WRAPPED UP, BUT FIRST, HERE'S STATE HOUSE REPORTER KYLE MIDURA WITH A RECAP.

>> BETWEEN THE OPENING GAVEL AND TUESDAY NIGHT'S FAREWELL, LEGISLATORS DEBATED AND PASSED A SLEW OF HIGH PROFILE BILLS THIS YEAR.

>> THE VICTORY IN THIS SESSION, THERE WAS SO MANY OF THEM, WAS THAT WE MANAGED TO AGAIN BALANCE THE BUDGET WITHOUT RAISING INCOME TAXES, SALES TAX, REAL ESTATE STACKS ON HARD-WORKING VERMONTERS.

>> THE LEGISLATURE BECAME THE FIRST IN THE COUNTRY TO PASS A BILL ALLOWING TERMINAL PATIENTS TO ASK FOR MEDICATION TO END THAT YOU ARE LIVES. SIMILAR MEASURES IN WASHINGTON AND OREGON BECAME LAW THROUGH VOTER INITIATIVE. REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS ALSO AGREED TO REPLACE CRIMINAL PENALTIES TO SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA OR HASH WITH CIVIL FINES SIMILAR TO A SPEEDING TICKET. REPEAT OFFENSES WILL LEAD TO HIGHER FINES AND TREATMENT. UNDERAGE OFFENDERS WILL BE HANDLED LIKE UNDERAGE DRINKERS THE SENATE AND HOUSE WASTED NO TIME THIS YEAR ADDRESSING VERMONT'S GROWING METHAMPHETAMINE, HEROIN, AND PRESCRIPTION PILL PROBLEMS. A SWEEPING BILL MANDATES PHARMACISTS CHECK DRUG REGISTRIES BEFORE FILLING PRESCRIPTIONS. FORCES PAWN DEALERS TO HOLD POSSIBLY STOLEN GOODS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, AND OFFERS IMMUNITY TO THOSE WHO REPORT OVERDOSES.

>> WE MUST MAKE EDUCATION MORE ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE TO ALL VERMONTERS.

>> THE GOVERNOR MADE EDUCATION REFORMS THE PRIMARY THRUST OF HIS BUDGET ADDRESS PLATFORM IN JANUARY AND THE LEGISLATURE MOSTLY DELIVERED. THEY FOUND DOLLARS TO CREATE STATEWIDE FREE SCHOOL LUNCH FOR LOW INCOME STUDENTS, ALLOW HIGH SCHOOLERS TO MORE EASILY ENROLL IN COLLEGE COURSES FOR CREDIT, AND INCREASE STATE COLLEGE BUDGETS IN AN ATTEMPT TO HOLD DOWN COLLEGE COSTS FOR STUDENTS. A BILL GUARANTEEING AVAILABILITY OF UNIVERSAL PRE-K FELL SHORT AND IS EXPECT TO BE TAKEN BACK UP NEXT JANUARY WHEN LEGISLATORS RETURN TO THE GOLDEN DOME. THE GOVERNOR AND PRO GUN ADVOCATES ALSO SUCCESSFULLY SHOT DOWN PROPOSALS TO CLOSE THE GUN STORE LOOPHOLE, MANDATE BACKGROUND CHECKS AND BAR FELONS FROM GAINING A WEAPON AS IS ALREADY ON FEDERAL BOOKS. SOME OF THE GOVERNOR'S BIG TICKET ITEMS STALLED. HIS PROPOSAL TO TAX BREAK-OPEN TICKETS FAILED, LEGISLATORS WOULD NOT ADHERE TO HIS CALLS TO REDIRECT DOLLARS FROM THE STATE'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT AND WATER DOWN REFORMS TO THE WELFARE TO WORK PROGRAM. THE GOVERNOR FENDED OFF A LAST MINUTE ATTEMPT BY LEGISLATORS TO MAKE TAX STRUCTURE CHANGES, BUT TAXES DID GO UP. THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE RAISED THE GAS AND DIESEL TAX. THOSE HIKES MEAN THE STATE CAN DRAW DOWN MORE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION DOLLARS, AND ONE HUGE ISSUE WILL HAVE TO WAIT. THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR DID NOT TACKLE HOW TO PAY FOR SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE PLAN ON ITS WAY. FOLLOWING TUESDAY'S CLOSE, LEGISLATORS HAVE A LITTLE MORE THAN SIX MONTHS TO REFUEL BEFORE THEY GET BACK TO WORK NEXT JANUARY.

>> KYLE JOINS US NOW, AS DOES OUR GUEST, LT. GOV. PHIL SCOTT. WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> LT. GOVERNOR, LET'S START WITH THE OBVIOUS QUESTION. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FIRST HALF OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, WHICH CLOSED ON TUESDAY?

>> CERTAINLY, I THINK YOU CAN FIND SOME GOOD AND BAD. I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT FROM A STRUCTURAL STANDPOINT, I THINK THE SENATE, IN PARTICULARLY, HANDLED THEMSELVES MUCH BETTER THAN THEY HAD IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS, AND WE TREATED EACH OTHER WITH RESPECT AND CIVILITY. THERE'S A LOT OF CONTENTIOUS ISSUES, BUT FOR THE MOST PART, STRUCTURALLY, WE GOT THROUGH THE SESSION FINE.

>> YOU'RE REFERRING TO LAST SESSION, THERE WAS A LOT OF CONTROVERSY, A LOT OF FOLKS SORT OF GRANDSTANDING, THE SENATE SEEMED TO BE IN A BIT OF CHAOS.

>> DYSFUNCTION WAS THE TERM THAT WAS USED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

>> WHAT TURNED THINGS AROUND? DID SENATOR CAMPBELL TURN THINGS AROUND? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

>> I THINK HE DESERVES A LOT OF CREDIT FOR TURNING THINGS AROUND, SURROUNDING HIMSELF WITH PEOPLE, A TEAM THAT UNDERSTOOD WHAT TO DO. AS YOU MAY REMEMBER, WHEN WE WENT INTO THE SESSION THREE YEARS AGO, IT WAS A NEW SENATE PRO TEM, A NEW LT. GOVERNOR, A NEW GOVERNOR, NEW SECRETARY OF THE SENATE, AND A LOT OF NEW SENATORS, SO YOU PUT ALL THAT TOGETHER AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT CAUSED SOME, I GUESS PROBLEMS AND GROWING PAINS, AND ONCE WE GOT THROUGH THAT AND SENATOR CAMPBELL, THE PRO TEM DID A GREAT JOB IN UNDERSTANDING AND REFLECTING AND WE ALL WORKED TOGETHER AND TRIED TO CHANGE THAT, SO THAT WE COULD ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING OR AT LEAST DO THINGS IN A MUCH MORE STRUCTURAL WAY.

>> YOU MENTIONED THE GOOD AND THE BAD. WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF AND WHAT DISAPPOINTED YOU THE MOST?

>> WELL, AGAIN, I THINK ENDING UP WITH A BUDGET THAT DIDN'T REQUIRE NEW TAXES, BROAD-BASED TAXES ANYHOW, WE HAD TO CERTAINLY -- WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE TRANSPORTATION FUND, WHICH MEANT GAS TAX AND FUEL TAXES, BUT CONSIDERING WHAT THE TALK WAS, EVERY TYPE OF TAX YOU CAN IMAGINE BEING CONSIDERED AND PASSED IN THE PASSED AND THE HOUSE DID THEIR SHARE, THE GOVERNOR HAD SOME PROPOSALS THAT DIDN'T MEET THE APPETITE OF MANY, SPENT A LOT OF MONEY, AND -- BUT WE CAME DOWN TO THE END NOT HAVING TO REALLY INITIATE THOSE TAXES. I THINK IT WAS THE BEST PART OF THE SESSION.

>> SO THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG THAT BROAD-BASED TAXES WOULD NOT BE RAISED. HE CLAIMS THAT THEY WERE NOT RAISED THIS TIME AROUND, YET WE SAW A GAS TAX. AND YOU AGREE THAT BROAD-BASED TAXES WERE NOT RAISED THIS SESSION?

>> WELL, I THINK I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT I THINK GAS, THE GAS TAX AS BROAD-BASED TAX. I THINK THAT IT AFFECTS ALL OF US IN EVERY WAY, WHETHER IT'S DELIVERING OF GOODS AND SERVICES AND SO FORTH. WHEN YOU RAISE THE TAX, YOU RAISE THE GAS TAX, YOU RAISE IT ON ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU DO. BUT AGAIN, I CAN ARGUE THAT IT MAY HAVE BEEN NECESSARY WITH THE PER-GALLON TAXES THE WAY THAT WE HAD DONE MOST OF IT IN THE PAST AND THEN HAD -- WE'RE USING LESS FUEL AND SO THE REVENUES WERE DROPPING, AND SO TO MATCH FEDERAL FUNDS, TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE FEDERAL FUNDS, WE HAD TO RAISE MORE REVENUE, SO IT WAS A NECESSARY EVIL. NOT SOMETHING ANY OF US WANTED TO DO, BUT I CAN MAKE AN ARGUMENT FOR THAT.

>> KYLE CAN ATTEST TO THIS AS WELL, THAT HERE AT THE STATION, WE GET INUNDATED WITH EMAIL AND PHONE CALLS WHEN THE GAS GOES UP EVEN A PENNY OR TWO, AND SOME HAD BEEN CLAIMING, YOU KNOW, LAWMAKERS DOWN IN NONT PEELER ARE IN A BUBBLE WHEN IT COMES TO RAISING THE TAX, BUT BASICALLY YOU'RE SAYING THEY WERE STUCK BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE?

>> IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION, AND AGAIN, IT WASN'T SOMETHING THAT I WOULD WANT TO ADVOCATE FOR, BUT WHEN YOU START LOOKING, I SAID FIRST THAT WE MUST DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO REDUCE THE UNDERLYING BUDGET AND I THINK THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEES ON BOTH SIDES LOOKED AT THAT, REDUCED IT BY -- I THINK IT WAS 4 OR $5 MILLION FROM WHAT THE GOVERNOR HAD PROPOSED INITIALLY, AND REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF TAX IN THE SENATE FROM 8.6 TO 5.9, DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO REDUCE THAT TAX THAT VERMONTERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO OBVIOUSLY PAY. AND AGAIN, SOME OF THE REASONS WHY THE -- WE'RE USING LESS FUEL IS BECAUSE OF MORE EFFICIENT VEHICLES, BUT ALSO BECAUSE THE REALITY IS THAT THE PRICE OF GAS AND FUEL HAS GONE UP SO MUCH OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, THAT PEOPLE ARE DRIVING LESS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY.

>> THAT BEING SAID, WILL TAXES NEED TO GO UP NEXT YEAR? CERTAINLY THIS BUDGET DOES RELY ON ONE-TIME MONEY, THE PENSION ISSUE, THAT BEING SOME OF THE PENSIONS REMAIN UNFUNDED, AND CERTAINLY THERE ARE ISSUES STILL HANGING OUT THERE THAT WOULD LEAVE NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET ABOUT $50 MILLION SHORT, SO IS THIS JUST A MATTER OF PUTTING OFF SOME PROPOSED TAX STRUCTURE REFORM UNTIL NEXT YEAR?

>> THAT LEADS TO MY SECOND HALF OF WHAT I SAID ABOUT BEING DISAPPOINTED, AND I WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT WE DIDN'T -- I DON'T FEEL WE DID ENOUGH TO ENCOURAGE, INCENTIVIZE THE ECONOMY, AND I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT INSTEAD OF RAISING REVENUE BY TAXES, THAT THE OTHER WAY, THE THIRD WAY IS TO RAISE REVENUE BY GROWING THE ECONOMY, AND I FELT THAT WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SESSION, I TALKED ABOUT IT IN MY INAUGURAL ADDRESS TO THE SENATE, THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT EVERY BILL THAT CAME ACROSS OUR DESKS AND ASK OURSELVES, WHAT DOES THIS DO TO HELP OUR ECONOMY, WHAT DOES THIS DO TO HELP VERMONT BECOME MORE AFFORDABLE? WE CAN'T RAISE -- I THINK VERMONTERS ARE MAXED OUT FROM A TAX PERSPECTIVE. I THINK WE'VE DONE ALL WE CAN, AND IN THE END OF THE SESSION, I WAS WORKING WITH LEADERSHIP IN BOTH THE SENATE AND THE GOVERNOR AND THE HOUSE, TRYING TO FIND WAYS SO WE DIDN'T HAVE TO RAISE TAXES AND I THINK WE WERE SUCCESSFUL THEN. I'M HOPING THAT WE WILL LOOK AT A DIFFERENT APPROACH, AND AGAIN, TRY TO GROW REVENUE BY GROWING OUR ECONOMY SO THAT IT BRINGS IN MORE REVENUE AND WE DON'T HAVE TO RAISE TAXES IN ORDER TO DO SO.

>> THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE SPENT A GOOD AMOUNT OF TIME ON ISSUES THAT DIDN'T NECESSARILY HAVE AN ECONOMIC BENT THIS YEAR. PERHAPS NOTABLE THE END OF LAST CHOICE BILL, WHICH YOU FOUND YOURSELF AT THE CENTER OF. CAN YOU TALK TO ME ABOUT THE THOUGHT PROCESS OF BEING THERE FOR THOSE, I BELIEVE SOMETHING LIKE THREE DAYS IN MID FEBRUARY WHERE THAT WAS THE ONLY SUBJECT AND IT DID GO ON AT LEAST -- IT SEEMED TO GO ON AND ON, BUT SOME OF THE SAME POINTS BEING RAISED OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE AT THE CENTER OF THAT?

>> WELL, AGAIN, IT WAS ONE OF THOSE ISSUES THAT DIDN'T FALL ACROSS PARTY LINES, I DON'T BELIEVE. IT WAS VERY PERSONAL. I CERTAINLY RESPECT THE POINT OF VIEW ON BOTH SIDES. I HAD MY POINT OF VIEW AND I CERTAINLY CAN UNDERSTAND OTHERS HAVING THEIRS. IN THE END, IF YOU ASKED EVERYONE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DEBATE HOW THEY WERE GOING TO VOTE AND THEY WROTE IT DOWN ON A PIECE OF PAPER AND THEN WENT THROUGH DEBATE FOR THE WEEK AND ASKED THE SAME PEOPLE, I DON'T THINK YOU CHANGED A SINGLE VOTE. I THINK FROM THE BEGINNING, IT WAS -- WE'VE ALL THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE VERY, VERY CLOSE AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE SO.

>> WERE YOU RELIEVED NOT TO HAVE TO CAST A SECOND TIE-BREAKING VOTE TOWARD THE END OF THE SESSION?

>> I DON'T THINK RELIEF WAS THE RIGHT TERM BECAUSE I WAS -- I WAS SURE OF THE WAY I WAS GOING TO VOTE. I THINK THAT'S -- I MADE THAT KNOWN THROUGH THE CAMPAIGN AND SUBSEQUENT TO THAT, SO I WAS CONFIDENT BY KNOWING WHICH WAY I WOULD VOTE. SO IT WASN'T -- LIKE SOME ISSUES THAT I'VE HAD TO DEAL WITH OVER THE LAST 13 YEARS, BEING IN THE SENATE FOR 10, WHERE YOU HAVE TO WEIGH THINGS OUT, AND AGAIN, I MADE UP MY MIND BEFORE THEN.

>> NOW, THE GOVERNOR IS SET TO SIGN THIS INTO LAW ON MONDAY. IT WILL TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY. WE'RE ALREADY HEARING FROM SOME HOSPITALS THAT THEY'RE NOT PLANNING TO IMPLEMENT THIS LAW RIGHT AWAY. DO YOU THINK WE'RE GOING TO RUN INTO SOME PROBLEMS IN THAT REGARD?

>> I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THAT. I GUESS MY OPPOSITION WAS MORE LONG TERM, ABOUT THE MESSAGE THAT THIS SENDS AND THE -- AGAIN, THE ELDERLY COMMUNITY, THE DISABLED COMMUNITY HAVING SUCH FEAR ABOUT THIS TYPE OF LEGISLATION. I WAS TALKING WITH KYLE BEFORE AND RIGHT AFTER THE GAVEL FELL ON WEDNESDAY -- OR TUESDAY NIGHT, I WENT TO THE HOSPITAL TO BE WITH MY AUNT WHO IS DYING OF CANCER, AND I STAYED WITH HER, AND SHE PASSED AWAY AND I WAS WITH HER AT THE TIME, SO I HAD TO LIVE THAT END-OF-LIFE EXPERIENCE MYSELF THIS WEEK. SO I STILL FEEL THAT THEY DID A GREAT JOB OF COMFORTING HER, TAKING CARE OF THE PAIN, AND GETTING THE FAMILY TOGETHER AT THE END IS SOMETHING THAT'S OF BENEFIT IN THAT MANNER.

>> OUR CONDOLENCES, FIRST OF ALL.

>> THANK YOU.

>> LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT THE GOVERNOR HAD SAID AFTER THE ADJOURNMENT, CONGRATULATING LAWMAKERS, SAYING THAT REALLY ALL OF THESE AGREEMENTS WORKED ACROSS PARTY LINES. DO YOU THINK HE'S ACCURATE IN THAT, GIVEN THAT REALLY DEMOCRATS CONTROL JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN MONTPELIER?

>> WELL, I THINK THAT IT CERTAINLY HAS BEEN A CONCERN ABOUT THE SUPER-MAJORITY, AND THAT ANYTHING THEY WOULD LIKE TO DO, IT SEEMS AS THOUGH IT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED. BUT DURING THE DISCUSSION, OF COURSE, WE HAD A SENATE AND A HOUSE AND THE ADMINISTRATION THAT WERE AT ODDS, AND SO I THINK A GOOD EXAMPLE OF PEOPLE HAVING THEIR INDEPENDENT THOUGHTS, AGAIN, ALL THREE SECTORS NOT AGREEING, BUT IN THE END, I THINK WE SAW THE POWER OF THE GOVERNOR, THE END GAME, AND HE WAS ABLE TO GET WHAT HE WANTED, SO I THINK WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, IT MAY BE A LOT OF HUFFING AND PUFFING, BUT AT THE END, I THINK THEY RESPECT THE GOVERNOR FOR WHO HE IS.

>> I HAVE A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT. DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNOR OUTMANEUVERED FELLOW DEMOCRATS TO GET WHAT HE WANTED HERE?

>> I THINK THE GOVERNOR IS VERY GOOD AT THE END GAME. I'VE SEEN HIM WORK IN THE SENATE WHEN WE WORKED TOGETHER AND I THINK THAT'S HIS FORTE, SO I THINK THAT HE DID A PRETTY GOOD JOB AT THE END.

>> AND WAS IT FUN, AS A REPUBLICAN, TO SEE DEMOCRATS BEATING EACH OTHER UP DOWN IN MONTPELIER?

>> I DON'T KNOW. I'VE ALWAYS TRIED TO, TRIED TO WORK WITH PEOPLE, TO WORK OUT THEIR DIFFERENCES. I'M NOT SURE HOW HEALTHY IT IS FOR VERMONTERS TO SEE IN-FIGHTING OR FIGHTING BETWEEN PARTIES OR FIGHTING WITHIN PARTIES. I THINK, AGAIN, TRYING TO REACH CONCLUSIONS, TO DO THE BEST YOU CAN AND RESPECTING PEOPLE'S OPINIONS WITHOUT FORCING IT AND COMING TO COMPROMISE IS THE BEST SOLUTION.

>> WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THE TAX STRUCTURE ISSUE THAT LED TO THE, ALBEIT, BRIEF IMPASSE BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR AND LEADERSHIP IN THE SENATE?

>> WELL, AGAIN, TOWARDS -- DURING THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS OF THE SESSION, WHEN THE -- AND UNDERSTAND WHERE THIS CAME FROM. THE GOVERNOR HAD PROPOSED HIS BUDGET, WHICH WAS, I THINK, ABOUT $37 MILLION MORE THAN LAST YEAR.

>> 32.

>> 32? AND THE HOUSE CAME UP WITH A POTENTIAL THAT WAS 27 AND THE SENATE CAME UP WITH ONE THAT WAS 10. SO WHEN I SAW THAT AND THEN THE REVENUES PICTURE WAS BETTER THAN EXPECTED AND YOU LOOK AT WHAT WAS DRIVING THAT $10 MILLION, EVEN, I THOUGHT MAYBE WE SHOULD SET THAT ASIDE AND ASK THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, BECAUSE THIS IS BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WASN'T ABLE TO LIVE UP TO THEIR END OF THE BARGAIN, SO I THOUGHT MAYBE WE SHOULD GIVE THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE WHAT THEY COULD DO TO HELP WITHOUT BUILDING IT INTO OUR BUDGET, SO IF WE SET THAT ASIDE AND THEN THOUGHT ABOUT WAYS OF FUNDING THAT IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS, SOME SORT OF APPROPRIATIONS BILL, THAT WE COULD ACCOMPLISH THIS WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. SO I KNOW THEY DID IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY, BUT I WAS VERY HAPPY THAT WE WERE ABLE TO COME IN AT A LESSER AMOUNT. NOW, IT'S STILL, STILL HIGHER. I MEAN, WE DIDN'T LEVEL FUND FROM LAST YEAR, WE STILL HAD 4% BUILT IN FOR INFLATION, SO IT WASN'T LIKE SOMETIMES WE BUILD OUR OWN BUDGETS PERSONALLY THAT ARE LEVEL-FUNDED AND THAT MEANS THE SAME AS LAST YEAR. THIS LEVEL-FUNDED WAS 4% HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR.

>> GAS TAX, PROPERTY TAX GOING UP, THE GOVERNOR AGAIN HAD SAID THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS BIG TAX PACKAGE, HE WAS NOT A FAN OF. DO YOU THINK HE'S SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE'S GOING TO NEED TO ASK FOR TAXES DOWN THE ROAD TO PAY FOR HEALTHCARE?

>> WELL, CERTAINLY WITH A $1.6 BILLION --

>> SAVING IT, IF YOU WILL, SAVING THE TAXES.

>> YEAH. $1.6 BILLION PRICE TAG POSSIBLY ON WHAT HEALTHCARE IS GOING TO COST IN THE FUTURE, I THINK THAT, YES, I THINK THERE'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE -- THEY WILL BE CONSIDERING A LOT OF TAXES TO COME UP WITH THAT. THAT'S A BIG CHUNK OF MONEY.

>> WHAT'S THE SCUTTLEBUTT IN MONTPELIER, WHAT DO YOU THINK WE'RE LOOKING AT?

>> IN TERMS OF TAX?

>> YEAH.

>> YOU KEEP HEARING -- WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT, IT SURE SEEMS AS THOUGH IT'S GOING TO BE SOME SORT OF A TAX ON WAGES OF SOME SORT, BUT WE'LL SEE. WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR THAT INFORMATION. I THINK THAT WAS ONE OF THE UNFORTUNATE PARTS AS WELL TO THIS LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION, THAT I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO HAVE MAYBE A MORE CONCRETE PROPOSAL ABOUT THE EXACT AMOUNT OF HOW MUCH THAT WAS GOING TO COST AND HOW WE WERE GOING TO PAY FOR IT, SO I STILL LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING THAT INFORMATION, HAVING THE DEBATE AS TO WH WE CAN AFFORD -- WHETHER WE CAN AFFORD IT OR NOT, AND AGAIN, I HAVE TRIED TO KEEP MY MIND OPEN ON SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM. I DON'T SEE HOW IT CAN WORK, I DON'T KNOW HOW WE'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO GET EVERYBODY INVOLVED IN IT WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THE ERISA PROGRAMS AND SOME OF THE UNIONS THAT DON'T WANT TO GO THERE BECAUSE THEY LIKE THEIR PLANS AND SOME OF THE OTHER ASPECTS ABOUT WORKING IN STATE, OUT OF STATE AND SO FORTH, AND A LOT OF OBJECT TACKLES IN THE WAY OF ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHING THAT FOR THIS MALL STATE, SO I LOOK FORWARD -- SMALL STATE, SO I LOOK FORWARD TO THE DETAILS.

>> WHEN DO YOU THINK A PRICE TAG NEEDS TO BE SEEN BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE SAYS WE'RE GOING TO PULL THE PLUG ON THIS?

>> WELL, AGAIN, I --

>> BECAUSE THE SENATE PRO TEM JOHN CAMPBELL HAS TOLD ME AND OTHERS HAVE TOLD ME, LOOK, AT SOME POINT, WE NEED TO SEE A DOLLAR FIGURE AND IF THIS CAN'T FEASIBLY HAPPEN, THEN OBVIOUSLY WE DON'T GO FORWARD, BUT WHEN IS THE BREAKING POINT FOR MAKING THAT DECISION?

>> WELL, I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE HAD IT BEFORE NOW.

>> WE NEED TO TAKE A BREAK. WE'LL BE

>>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE. WE'RE TALKING THIS MORNING WITH LT. GOV. PHIL SCOTT. LT. GOVERNOR, AS PART OF YOUR ROLE AS SENATE PRESIDENT, YOU OVERHEARD A LOT OF DEBATE OVER BOTH MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION AND CHANGES TO BE MADE TO TRY AND COMBAT OPIATE USE. CAN YOU TALK TO US ABOUT WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS WERE AS YOU HEARD THE DEBATES UNFOLD?

>> WE CERTAINLY HAVE ISSUES AROUND OPIATE, OBVIOUS, AND I THINK THE LEGISLATURE, THE SENATE IN PARTICULAR, SOME OF THE DISCUSSIONS THAT I HEARD AND THE DEBATE, UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE TO GET OUR ARMS AROUND THIS IN SOME WAY TO DEAL WITH IT BECAUSE WE'RE SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY IN TERMS OF HUMAN SERVICES AND A LOT OF IT IS DERIVED FROM -- IS CAUSED BY DRUG ABUSE, AND OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS, I BELIEVE, OUR BUDGET IN HUMAN SERVICES ALONE HAS INCREASED BY ABOUT 30%, SO THAT'S A BIG SECTOR OF OUR BUDGET. AND JUST FROM THE WAY IT TEARS APART FAMILIES AND SO FORTH, AND THEN HOW IT AFFECTS OUR POCKETBOOKS IN RETURN LEADS US TO BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO SOMEHOW DEAL WITH THIS.

>> WHAT ARE THE BIG CHANGES YOU SEE THAT YOU THINK WILL BE MOST EFFECTIVE? I UNDERSTAND UP TO THIS POINT, PHARMACISTS USING THE REGISTRY SYSTEM HAS BEEN VOLUNTARY. THAT'S GOING TO BE MANDATORY. HAVE WE DONE ENOUGH TO TRULY TACKLE THIS THING OR AT LEAST SLOW IT?

>> I'M NOT SURE THAT WE'VE DONE ENOUGH, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I DON'T KNOW THAT ANY OF US HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. IF WE DID, I BELIEVE THAT WE'D BE DOING IT. SO WE'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING. WE'RE TRYING DIFFERENT APPROACHES. I THINK THAT HAVING THE DIALOGUE, THE OPEN DISCUSSION, IS GOING TO BE HELPFUL, LISTENING TO EVERYONE THAT'S DEALING WITH IT IN DIFFERENT WAYS, WHETHER IT BE IN RUTLAND OR BERRY OR CHITTENDEN COUNTY, FINDING WAYS TO DEAL WITH THIS THAT ARE MOST EFFECTIVE FOR THOSE COMMUNITIES.

>> WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA IN THE STATE?

>> WHEN I WAS CAMPAIGNING, I WAS IN FAVOR OF THAT. I THOUGHT THAT CONSIDERING HAVING A FELONY ON YOUR RECORD WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR SOME, WHETHER IT'S APPLYING FOR SCHOOL LOANS OR HAVING A FEDERAL JOB IN THE FUTURE. I THINK THAT DEALING WITH THIS ON A CIVIL MANNER WAS THE BEST APPROACH, SO I WAS IN FAVOR OF DECRIMINALIZATION. NOT LEGALIZATION, AND THAT'S THE DIFFERENCE. SOME PEOPLE WERE GETTING CONFUSED WHEN WE TALKED ABOUT THAT, THAT IT'S NOT SAYING WE'RE DECRIMINALIZING, WE'RE NOT -- FEDERAL LAW IS STILL? PLACE AND WE HAVE TO ADHERE TO THAT.

>> DO YOU THINK WE'RE GOING TO RUN INTO ANY PROBLEMS, SPEAKING OF THE FEDERAL LAW, BECAUSE THIS DOES SORT OF FLY IN THE FACE OF THAT?

>> WELL, WE'VE DONE THAT IN A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT WAYS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND DIFFERENT ASPECTS, WHETHER -- WE'VE ALREADY FLOWN IN THE FACE OF FEDERAL LAW, SO DIE -- DO I THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE PROBLEMS? YES, I DO. I THINK LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS WARNING US OF THAT.

>> TO THAT END, BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE ALSO MOVED FORWARD WITH MIGRANT LICENSES THIS YEAR. WE'VE GOT GMO LABORING THAT'S COME UP SEVERAL TIMES. OF ALL THE ISSUES THAT WE CONSISTENTLY HEAR, THAT COULD LEAD TO US A RUN-IN WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WHICH OF THOSE ISSUES DO YOU THINK IS MOST LIKELY TO LEAD TO A RUN-IN WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?

>> OR MAYBE ALL OF THEM.

>> PROBABLY GOING TO BE A COMBINATION. WE'VE PUSHED THE ENVELOPE MANY TIMES WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND MAYBE IT'S GOOD TO DO THAT, FOR THE STATES TO BE SOMEWHAT INDEPENDENT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I THINK THE ISSUE WITH THE LICENSES MIGHT BE AN ISSUE. THAT'S ONE THAT I THINK WE MAY HAVE SOME PROBLEMS WITH IN THE FUTURE.

>> DID YOU SUPPORT THAT?

>> I, I SUPPORT -- I SUPPORT THE FACT THAT WE SHOULD BE -- WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO RESTRICT A SECTOR THAT WE KNOW IS THERE AND WE HAD --

>> AND NEED IT.

>> AND NEED IT HERE IN VERMONT, WE KNOW THAT. AND I WANT THEM TO BE SAFE ON OUR HIGHWAYS, THEY'RE GOING TO BE DRIVING. I WANT THEM TO BE SAFE AND I WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND OUR LAWS. I THINK THAT'S FIRST ON THE LIST. BUT I DO THINK THERE WILL BE ISSUES IN THE FUTURE CONCERNING THAT ISSUE.

>> WHAT ARE YOUR BIG GUESS CONCERNS WITH THE BILL -- BIGGEST CONCERNS WITH THE BILL AS IT'S WRITTEN?

>> WELL, AGAIN, I THINK THAT WE'RE -- VERMONT GETS TO BE MORE UNIQUE FROM A LOT OF DIFFERENT ASPECTS, AND I SEE THAT, WHETHER IT'S DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, WHETHER IT'S LICENSES, WHETHER IT'S DEATH WITH DIGNITY WITH ASSISTED SUICIDE, WE SEEM TO BE A TEST CASE FOR A LOT OF ISSUES, AND SOMETIMES I WISH THAT WE WOULD BE THE FIRST IN OTHER THINGS, LIKE NOT INSTITUTING A CAR TAX, PUTTING A MORATORIUM AND RESTRICTING THAT IN THE FUTURE, TO ACTUALLY LURE MORE BUSINESSES HERE IN THE STATE. LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BE FIRST FROM AN ECONOMIC STANDPOINT SO THAT WE CAN BECOME A BETTER STATE AND WE CAN ALL PROSPER MORE.

>> QUICKLY, DO YOU SUPPORT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GOING FOR A 50-STATE CAR TAX, TO STEAL A LINE OF THE GOVERNOR'S FROM THE GUN DEBATE?

>> IF WE'RE GOING TO DO A CAR TAX, YES, I WOULD RATHER DO IT ON A FEDERAL LEVEL, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WOULDN'T IT BE NICE FOR VERMONT TO BE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT IN THAT RESPECT? WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF WE WERE TO BECOME A MAGNET STATE FOR THESE HIGH-TECH BUSINESSES TO COME IN AND PROSPER?

>> SPEAKING OF BUSINESSES, ARE YOU STILL DOING YOUR JOB TOURS?

>> YES, I AM.

>> WHAT'S NEXT AND WHAT'S BEEN THE COOLEST JOB YOU'VE EXPERIENCED SO FAR?

>> WELL, THEY HAVE ALL BEEN REALLY, REALLY INTERESTING, AND I HAVE TO SAY, I THINK WORKING WITH A THE LARGE ANIMAL VET WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING ONES THAT I'VE DONE.

>> FOR FOLKS WHO DON'T KNOW, YOU'RE BASICALLY TOURING THE STATE TRYING OUT DIFFERENT JOBS.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. WORKING A FEW HOURS IN SOMEBODY ELSE'S SHOES, SO I'VE DONE DOZENS OF JOBS THROUGHOUT THE STATE AND GETTING GEOGRAPHICALLY TO ALL SECTORS AND WHETHER IT BE WORKING WITH A COMMERCIAL BEE FARM OR WORKING FOR GREEN MOUNTAIN POWER OR TEACHING SECOND GRADE, THERE'S BEEN SO MANY DIFFERENT ONES AND I LOOK FORWARD TO DOING MORE.

>> HAVE YOU TRIED ANCHORING YET?

>> NO, I DON'T THINK -- I DON'T THINK I'D DO MUCH FOR YOUR RATINGS.

>> STAY TUNED FOR THAT. LT. GOV. PHIL SCOTT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON.

>> AND THANKS FOR WATCHING, EVERYBODY. WE'LL SEE YOU SOON. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY. CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC www.captionassociates.com

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