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YCQM: February 2, 2014 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: February 2, 2014

>>> HELLO, WELCOME YOU CAN QUOTE ME. I AM KYLE, JOINING US IS KELLY AND JOINING US IS STEVE CAREY.

>> FIRST THING WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE OPIATE CRISIS, THE GOVERNOR STEPPING UP TO TAKE EFFORTS TO FIGHT WHAT VERMONT IS FACING. YET THE HEALTH COMMISSIONER CAME OUT AND SAID I PULLED OFF ADDING MORE TREATMENT CENTERS. SEEMS LIKE A MIXED MESSAGE.

>> LET ME SAY UP FRONT. I AM BIASED HERE. ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE IS FOR ME AND MORE TO GOVERN DOUGLAS WHEN I WAS SECRETARY OF HUMAN SERVICES, ITS SCOURGE THAT NEEDS TO BE ERADICATED IN VERMONT. I COMMEND THE GOVERNOR FOR ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE. YOU KNOW THE ESTABLISHMENT AND SOMETHING OF TREATMENT OF CENTERS HAS BEEN ONGOING. GOVERNOR DOUGLAS PUT MONEY IN THAT ASPECT OF THE PROGRAM. I THINK WITH A DR. CHIN WAS SAYING, WE CAN BE STRATEGIC IN THE FUTURE. I DON'T SEE AN ISSUE WITH THAT. I CERTAINLY DON'T THINK IT TAKES IT AWAY ANYTHING THAT THE GOVERNOR WAS TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF OPIATES. OBVIOUSLY IF I WAS STILL SECRETARY OF HUMAN SERVICES, THE DOCTOR WOULD HAVE GOTTEN A CALL OF HIM SAYING THAT. NEVERTHELESS, I DON'T THINK IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE OVERALL ASPECT OF THE PROBLEM.

>> I THINK THAT IS RIGHT. I READ AN OP-ED PIECE THAT THE DOCTOR DID LAST WEEK. HE TALKED ABOUT THE HUB AND SPOKES. THE WAY I READ THAT IS LET'S MAKE SURE WE HAVE THE RIGHT NUMBER OF THE HUBS WHERE PEOPLE CAN GO FOR BASIC DIRECTION, BUT THE SPOKES ARE REALLY THE LOCAL DOCTOR'S OFFICES. I THINK IT WAS PERHAPS A QUESTION OF TIMING, BUT IN THE MEDIA, YOU GET A MIXED MESSAGE, IT'S NOT A GOOD STRATEGY PERHAPS FOR ONE, FOR THE GOVERN GOVERNOR TO MAKE A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT LIKE MIKE SAYS AND HAS IT STEPPED ON SOMEWHAT STEPPED ON BY COMMISSIONER. I DIDN'T THINK HE WAS SAYING.

>> HOW BIG OF AN ISSUE DO YOU SEE OPIATES AS BEING HERE IN VERMONT. WE HAVE 3500 IN TREATMENT AND ANOTHER THOUSAND ON THE WEIGHT LIST. IS THIS REALLY A LARGE ISSUE FOR THE STATE OR SIMPLY ONE THAT MAKES POLITICAL ISSUE?

>> I AM A FORMER MANAGING EDITOR OF A NEWSPAPER. YOU CAN'T PICK UP A NEWSPAPER DAILY WITHOUT SEEING STORIES, SOMEONE HAS BROKEN INTO A HOME TO GET MONEY FOR DRUGS. IT IS VERY WIDESPREAD. I THINK AND AS MIKE AND I TALKED ABOUT COUPLE WEEKS AGO, IT TOOK GREAT COURAGE FOR THE GOVERNOR TO PUT THIS OUT FRONT AND CENTER. NOW, IT'S BECOME A TOPIC OF CONVERSATION AROUND THE COUNTRY.

>> THAT IS THE NEXT THING I WAS GOING TO BRING UP. THE "NEW YORK TIMES" IS PICKING UP STORIES ABOUT VERMONT'S OPIATE PROBLEM. THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT WHAT DOES IT DO TO VERMONT'S IMAGE NATIONWIDE, TO ATTRACT BUSINESSES AND GETTING PEOPLE TO VISIT OUR STATE?

>> FRANKLY, I DON'T THINK IT DOES ANYTHING IN TERMS OF HURTING BUSINESS OR BRINGING TOURISM INTO THE STATE. EVERY STATE HAS THIS ISSUE. WE'RE JUST BEING A LITTLE BIT MORE OPEN ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF WHAT WE'RE SAYING ABOUT IT. I THINK THAT IS IMPORTANT. I'VE ALWAYS GONE AROUND THE STATE SAYING WE HAVE AN ISSUE AND NEED TO DEAL WITH IT. WHAT WE SAID WE NEED AN ISSUE WHERE OTHER STATES MAY HIDE THE ISSUE. I DON'T THINK IT'S A HUGE ISSUE BECAUSE EVERYBODY SEES THEY HAVE THE SAME ISSUE.

>> I THINK THAT IS RIGHT. I THINK, THOUGH, FROM THE MEDIA PERSPECTIVE ITS MAN BITES DOG STORY. THIS IS VERMONT AND MY GOSH, THIS IS A STATEWIDE PROBLEM THAT IS BEING TALKED ABOUT.

>> I DON'T THINK IT'S A TOP TIER ISSUE BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN IT IS IMPORTANT. IF YOU TOOK A POLL OF VERMONTERS, IT'S THE ECONOMIC ISSUES THAT ARE TALKED ABOUT HERE. DRUG ABUSE WOULD BE IN A LOWER TIER. THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. IF YOU ASKED ME HOW IMPORTANT IT IS. IT'S NOT A TOP TIER ISSUE BUT IMPORTANT ISSUE.

>> THERE IS A HISTORY IN THE STATE THAT VERMONT CAN STAND UP EARLY. THIS IS A QUESTION, I THINK, WHETHER THE STATE HAS MADE AN EARLY STATEMENT. THAT IS THE REASON.

>>> SECOND TIME THE GOVERNOR HAS USED THE STATE OF THE STATE TO FOCUS ON ONE ISSUE. FIRST QUESTION I HAVE FOR BOTH OF YOU, IS THIS GOING TO BECOME A TREND. SECOND PART. THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, WHAT YOU SAID MIKE, YEAH, IT'S AN ISSUE BUT I THINK THE ECONOMY IS A BIGGER ISSUE. IS THAT CRITICISM FAIR AND ARE WE GOING TO SEE A THEME DEVELOPED THE GOVERNOR USING A STATE OF THE STATE FOCUSING ON ONE ISSUE?

>> I'M NOT A BIG FAN OF THE STATE OF THE STATE. I DON'T WANT THAT MISUNDERSTOOD. I REALLY THOUGHT THIS TOPIC WAS IMPORTANT, BUT LET ME TELL YOU WHAT A SINGLE ISSUE STATE OF THE STATE DOES. IT CHANGES THE COMPLEXION OF THE BUDGET SPEECH. WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IF YOU ARE ON THE SINGLE TOPIC STATE OF THE STATE YOU HAVE TO JAM EVERYTHING ELSE INTO THE BUDGET SPEECH. WHAT YOU HAVE IS A LOT OF POLICY ISSUES INTO THE BUDGET SPEECH AND LESS SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT IS IN THE BUDGET. FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAD A LOT OF POLICY JAMMED IN THERE. IT CHANGES THE NATURE OF THE BUDGET SPEECH, AND YOU HAVE THINGS WHERE YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO COMMENT ON. FOR EXAMPLE, THE GOVERNOR SAID WE'VE GOT TO SOLVE THE PROPERTY TAX PROBLEM. THERE WERE NO SPECIFICS. WE'VE GOT INCREASE HIGH-TECH JOBS -- NO SPECIFICS. I THINK IF YOU HAD THE POLICY WHICH THE STATE OF THE STATE AND BROAD GOALS OUT THERE, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE, I THINK IT JUST CHANGES THE COMPLEXION OF THE BUDGET SPEECH.

>> I WOULD SAY IT DEPENDS. CLEARLY IT WAS A TOPIC THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED IN A MAJOR WAY. LAST YEAR THE EDUCATION ISSUE, BUT MIKE AND I CAN COME BACK AND TALK ABOUT THIS. THE SEEDS PLANTED A YEAR AGO ARE NOW STARTING TO BLOSSOM. SO I THINK THAT IT CHANGES THE NATURE OF THE DISCOURSE IN THE STATE HOUSE. IT PROBABLY CHANGES A BIT THE NATURE OF DISCUSSION STATEWIDE. I DON'T THINK IT IS A BAD THING. THE PROOF IS WHAT IS THE RESULTS. WE DON'T KNOW THAT YET.

>> LET ME SORT OF FOLLOW UP ON THAT. HE IS A VERY PERSONABLE AND LIKABLE GUY AND STRAIGHT SHOOTER. HE WOULD BE A GREAT CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR. I DON'T SEE HIM RUNNING IN 2014. I DON'T THINK ANY OF HIS COMMENTS WERE SORT OF POLITICAL IN THAT SENSE. I THINK WHAT HE SEES IS WHAT VERMONTERS SEE, THERE ARE STORM CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON. THERE ARE FISCAL STORM CLOUDS, PROPERTY TAX WE CAN TALK ABOUT LATER. PROPERTY TAX IS ONE OF THEM, HE WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT DISCUSSION IS HELD. I HAVEN'T TALKED TO PHILIP SCOTT ABOUT THIS BUT I WOULD GUESS THOSE ARE THE DISCUSSIONS THAT WE WOULD HAVE.

>> I THINK WE HEARD HIM ON THIS PROGRAM LAST WEEK SAY HE INTENDS TO RUN FOR REELECTION. PENSION IS ALWAYS A CODE WORRIED IN POLITICS I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE MY MIND. I THINK WHAT HAPPENED TO PHIL SCOTT, WHEN HE STARTED LAST FALL TO TAKE ON SOME OF THE OLD GUARD OF HIS OWN PARTY THAT HE WON THAT DEBATE. HE PUT HIMSELF AS THE PICTURE AHEAD OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THIS STATE. AS YOU KNOW FROM A MEDIA PERSPECTIVE HE GETS TO BE THE RESPONDER. THAT HAS MADE OR CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP HE HAS HAD AND ENJOYED WITH OUR CURRENT DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES. YOU BROUGHT THEM UP TWICE NOW. THEY ARE A HOT TOPIC. REALTORS CAME OUT THERE WERE 1700 REALTORS, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES. IT TIES INTO EDUCATION IN SO MANY WAYS. LET'S START WITH WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES AND DO YOU THINK ANYTHING WILL BE IN THIS SESSION?

>> I'M BEGINNING TO SEE SIGNS THAT THIS YEAR IN THIS LEGISLATURE IT IS GETTING TO REALLY CATCH AN EDGE. MEANING THAT IT IS BECOMING A DISCUSSION YOU CAN'T IGNORE ANY LONGER. THAT IS GOING BUILD. CLEARLY THE REAL FOCUS WILL BE FOR ALL OF US IN VERMONT LEGISLATURE WHAT HAPPENS IN MARCH IN THE MEETINGS WHEN THERE IS A SCHOOL VOTE. IF THAT CHANGES THEN I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE EVEN MORE INTENSE DISCUSSION.

>> I THINK YOU REALLY HIT ON AN ISSUE THAT IS BREWING. I THINK THEY SENSED IT, THE STORM CLOUDS ARE COMING AND WHEN THE STORM CLOUDS GET HERE. BECAUSE OUR EDUCATION FUNDING IS UNSUSTAINABLE RIGHT NOW. THE PROBLEM IT HAS DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY AS FAR AS ENROLLMENT AND COSTS. WE MATCH THAT IN 1990s TO MID-2000 BECAUSE PROPERTY VALUES WERE RISING SO FAST BUT THAT ISN'T THE CASE NOW. NOW THERE IS REAL PRESSURE ON THE PROPERTY OWNER. I THINK WHAT YOU WILL SEE THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE A BIG ISSUE COMING UP AS ALL ECONOMIC ISSUES ARE. THIS WILL BE A HUGE ISSUE COMING UP. I SENSE POLITICALLY THERE MAYBE AN ATTEMPT TO KICK IT PAST THE ELECTION INTO A STUDY COMMITTEE OR TO SHIP IT ELSEWHERE. I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS GOING TO WORK DEPENDING ON HOW FAST THE STORM APPROACHES.

>> THE FOLLOW-UP ON THAT, ULTIMATELY IS IT THE SCHOOL BOARDS AS THE GOVERNOR SAYS OR IS IT STATE LAWMAKERS GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING?

>> ACTUALLY I THOUGHT HE WAS EVEN GOING OVER THE HEADS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD. I THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO URGE VERMONT VOTERS TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THEIR SCHOOL BOARDS ARE DOING AND EXPECT REVIEWS DURING THE MARCH MEETING VOTES ON SCHOOL BUDGET. THAT WAS MY INTERPRETATION OF HOW THE GOVERNOR TALKED ABOUT THAT.

>> I THINK ULTIMATELY YOU CAN BLAME EVERYBODY BUT THE SOLUTION LIES IN MONPIELER. THEY LOOK AND RIGHTLY SO. THAT IS WHERE THE SOLUTION IS GOING TO COME.

>> DO YOU SEE A REDRAFT OF THAT OR WE LOOK ABOUT TWEAKING IT AROUND THE EDGES?

>> WE HAVE MANY THINGS OVER THE YEARS. WE HAD A CERTAIN FORMAT AND FIVE OR SIX YEARS THEN WE HAVE ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO WRITE A STATEWIDE EDUCATION FORMAT. MIKE IS RIGHT. THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION, BUT IT WILL HAVE TO BE DIFFERENT. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT THERE IS THE WILL TO DO THAT IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE.

>> WE'VE BEEN THROUGH A LOT OF THESE CHANGES. IT'S INEVITABLE THERE WILL HAVE TO BE CHANGE.

>> AND THAT BRINGS UP THE INCOME SENSITIVITY PROGRAM. THAT IS PROGRAM THAT HALF OF VERMONTERS USE, BASICALLY YOU PAY YOUR SCHOOL TAXES BASED ON YOUR INCOME, NOT YOUR PROPERTY TAXES. YET YOU MAY GO TO TOWN MEETING DAY AND VOTE FOR INCREASING SCHOOL TAXES. IT'S A TOUGH ISSUE FOR LAWMAKERS BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SEEING AS RAISING TAXES TO THE MIDDLE-CLASS. DO YOU THINK THEY WILL MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT TO THAT PROGRAM?

>> IN 2002 -- I GOT MY HEAD CHEWED OFF FOR THIS -- THERE HAS TO BE A NEXUS IN YOUR VOTE FOR SPENDING AND WHAT YOU FEEL IN PROPERTY TAX. IN SOME CASES IT SEVERS THAT NEXUS. WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO PUT A NEXUS BETWEEN YOUR VOTE TO INCREASE SPENDING AND THE AMOUNT OF WHAT IT IS GOING TO COST YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL. IT SHIELDS THAT IN SOME RESPECTS. SO IN 2002 I SAID WE NEED A CONVERSATION ABOUT THAT. THINK THE CONVERSATION IS RIPE FOR IT.

>> I THINK YOU WOULD NEED TO ADD ONE MORE PIECE TO THAT CONVERSATION. WHAT IS THE VALUE YOU GET FROM SPENDING $18,000 PER STUDENT NOW ONE OF THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION. SO THERE IS MORE OF THAT. AS MIKE MENTIONED AS THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT, AS ENROLLMENT DECLINES AND SPENDING KEEPS GOING UP, THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE AT EVERY LEVEL.

>> IS IT FUNDING MECHANISM AT ISSUE HERE, OR THE COST OF RUNNING SO MANY LOCAL OUTFITS? CONSOLIDATION IS A SACRED COW OF SOME COMMUNITIES HERE, BUT IS THE WAY WE FUND EDUCATION OR IS IT FACT WE HAVE SO MANY SEPARATE ENTITIES TAKING PART IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM?

>> I WOULD ARGUE THAT WE HAVE WAY TOO MANY. I AM A STUDENT OF VERMONT HISTORY. IN THE MID 1960s, YOUNG MAN NAMED PHIL HOSPITALIZE, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE -- FILL HOF, HE TRIED TO MAKE 12 DIFFERENT DISTRICTS IN THE STATE AND THAT WAS A TOTAL DISASTER. LATER IN THE 80s THE GOVERNOR TRIED TO CONSOLIDATE. SHE STOPPED THE EFFORT IT BEGAN BECAUSE THE EXPLOSION FROM THE GRASSROOTS.

>> I THINK IT IS BOTH. YOU'VE GOT TO CURB SPENDING. I REMEMBER GOVERNOR DOUGLAS PUTTING SOMETHING ON PROPERTY TAX AND THAT WAS SOMETHING CONTROVERSIAL. I THINK YOU HAVE TO CURTAIL THE SPENDING BECAUSE IT IS UNSUSTAINABLE AT THIS RATE. SECONDLY YOU HAVE TO REINVENT SORT OF A FUNDING MECHANISM.

>> JOINING US TODAY, STEVE TERRY, MIKE SMITH -- WE'LL BE I truly realize that what I'm doing is for a great cause And it's not about disabilities it's about celebrating their abilities I've made a difference Now it's your turn to make a difference

>>> WELCOME BACK YOU CAN QUOTE ME. I'M JOINED BY JULIE KELLY. THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US. LET'S DIVE BACK IN. WE DISCUSSED EDUCATION. WE DISCUSSED OPIATES AND THE ECONOMY. NOW, THE BIG ISSUE THAT IS STILL LEFT OUT THERE IS HEALTHCARE. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE EXCHANGE ROLLOUT AND HOW IT IS GOING IN YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

>> YOU KNOW, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE'VE GOT SEVERAL THINGS GOING ON. FIRST OF ALL, WEAVER MONITOR, THE STATE, TRYING TO INTRODUCE A NEW SYSTEM. THIS IS NOT BEING PARTISAN. I WOULD THINK THE RECORD IN THE PAST OF STATE AGENCIES ROLLING OUT NEW I.T. SYSTEMS HAS NOT BEEN, SHALL WE SAY VERY SPECTACULAR. THE OTHER IS THAT THE STATE OF VERMONT WAS IN EFFECT CREATING A NEW BUSINESS AT THE SAME TIME. THE COMBINATION OF THOSE TWO ELEMENTS AT THE SAME TIME LED TO WHAT WE HAVE SEEN WHICH WAS A VERY FLAWED ROLLOUT THAT IS HOPEFULLY STARTING TO GET FIXED WITH SOME NEW MANAGEMENT OF THAT SYSTEM.

>> THEY ALWAYS DO BUT IN THE INTERIM I THINK IT TOOK AN ENORMOUS OF TIME TO GET FIXED. IT'S CLEARLY A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY ESPECIALLY AMONG SMALL BUSINESS. I HAVE CREDIT TO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THE HOSPITALS IN THE STATE THAT REALLY STEPPED UP TO TOOK OVER THAT UNCERTAINTY TO SOME EXTENT. THE QUESTION I HAVE ABOUT THE STATE EXCHANGES AND LARGER PLANS, IS HOW ARE WE GOING TO FUND IT? HOW ARE WE GOING TO FUND IT WITHOUT MASSIVE INCREASES TO INDIVIDUALS IN THE EXCHANGES OR CUTTING BENEFITS? THAT IS THE TRICKY QUESTION. SINGLE PAYER, HOW DO YOU FINANCE A SYSTEM THAT DOESN'T CRUSH THE SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES AND HOW DO YOU NOT DRIVE LARGE BUSINESSES OUT OF STATE. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT BUSINESSES ARE NOT OVERWHELMED. ALL OF THOSE QUESTIONS ARE UP IN THE AIR.

>> AT LEAST FROM MY PERSPECTIVE I THINK YOU WON'T SOLVE THE HOW TO FUND IT UNTIL WE HAVE TO APPROACH THE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE OF TAX REFORM IN VERMONT. YOU CAN'T IMPOSE THE FUNDING OF THIS IN MY JUDGMENT ON THE CURRENT TAXES.

>> LET ME JUMP IN QUICKLY. THE SENATOR'S PLAN CALLS FOR 11% TAX ON EMPLOYEES AND 2% TAXES ON WAGES EARNED FOR THE EMPLOYEES. IT'S SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER BECAUSE OF FEDERAL PAYROLL TAX DEDUCTIONS BRINGING IT DOWN TO THE 7% BALLPARK. THAT WOULD FUND $1.6 BILLION. IS THAT ENOUGH? DO WE NEED TO DESIGN A BENEFITS PLAN BEFORE WE DESIGN A FINANCING PLAN AND DOES IT HAVE TO OCCUR THIS YEAR?

>> THE ONE THING I LEARNED ABOUT HEALTH CARE FINANCING, WHATEVER THE COSTS ARE PROJECTED THEY ARE NEVER RIGHT. THEY ARE ALWAYS MUCH HIGHER THAN WHAT THEY ARE. THE PROBLEM THAT I SAW IN ANY OF THESE PLANS AS YOU ARE FINANCING, HOW DO YOU DO THIS WITHOUT CRUSHING SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES. LARGE BUSINESSES HAVE LEGS, THEY HAVE LEGS AND CAN MOVE. BY AND LARGE, LARGE COMPANIES CAN'T. HOW DO YOU AVOID WITHOUT CRUSHING SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES. I DON'T SEE THE ANSWERS THERE. NOT IN ANY PROPOSAL I'VE SEEN SO FAR.

>> THE THING THAT IS SO INTERESTING, YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ALL THE NEW TAXES AND PEOPLE THAT ARE CALLING THE HEALTH EXCHANGE THE REGULAR PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS CAN'T EVEN GET THROUGH TO SIGN UP. THE IDEA OF ASKING THESE SAME PEOPLE, GO AHEAD, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE YOU PAY MORE.

>> IT HAS TO WORK BECAUSE OTHERWISE YOU WON'T FINANCE IT FOR THAT REASON. VERMONTERS ARE PRACTICAL PEOPLE. THINK THEY DID POLLING, YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED YOU WOULD FIND THAT IN THEORY THEY LIKE THE NOTION OF A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM IF THEY CAN AFFORD IT. THAT IS HUGE IF. I KNOW IN AND MIKE IS RIGHT IT'S NOT $1.6 BILLION. FOLKS ON THE GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE BOARD ARE SAYING PRIVATELY IT COULD BE $2.5 BILLION. HOW TO DO THAT, YOU CAN'T DO IT WITH A PAYROLL TAX. MY VIEW IS THAT UNLESS THERE IS A RATIONALE PLAN AT THE END OF THE DAY THAT THE GOVERNOR WON'T HIT THE SEND BUTTON ON THE FINANCING PLAN UNLESS THAT IS CLEAR AND UNLESS VERMONTERS CAN UNDERSTAND IT.

>> THAT IS FOLLOW-UP. GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING A TAX ON HEALTHCARE CLAIMS TO COVER 14 EVERY BUDGET. IS THIS YEAR ANY DIFFERENT?

>> JUST TO TOUCH ON IT. YOU DON'T SEE THE PAYROLL TAX TO MOVE FORWARD IF IT DOES. WHAT OPTION IS THERE IF NOT THE PAYROLL TAX?

>> THAT IS WHY I MENTIONED TAX REFORM. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A COMBINATION OF SOURCES THAT ARE STILL THE RANGE OF WHAT MAKES VERMONT AND UNLESS WE CAN DO THAT THIS PROBABLE WILL NOT WORK.

>> THEN WHAT HAPPENS?

>> WE REVERT TO SOME KIND OF HYBRID. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER WE'RE COVERING 94-95% TODAY. WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS FOR 4-5% IN TRYING TO FIGURE THAT OUT. IF WE LOOK AT IT LIKE, THAT THAT IS A LOT SMALLER NUT TO CRACK THAN SAYING HOW ARE WE GOING TO GIVE US COVERAGE OF HUNDRED PERCENT.

>> MOVEMENT IN THE LEGISLATURE, IT APPEARS SOME KEY FIGURES WHO HAVE PREVIOUSLY BLOCKED A PROPOSAL TO BAN CELLPHONE USE WHILE A DRIVER IS BEHIND THE WHEEL TEXTING IS CURRENTLY ILLEGAL BUT ALL HANDHELD DEVICES. A REPRESENTATIVE OF CHESTER AND HOUSE SIDE SAID THEY WANT TO HEAR TESTIMONY. THE GOVERNOR SAID... CAN THIS MOVE FORWARD?

>> WITH ALL DUE RESPECT I THINK THE GOVERNOR IS WRONG ON THIS ISSUE BECAUSE IT IS QUITE CLEAR USING HANDHELD CELLPHONES WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING IS INSANE AND VERY DANGEROUS.

>> I'M ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE. IT'S UNBELIEVABLE. I'M AN ABUSER ON THIS. I'M ON MY CELLPHONE CONSTANTLY WHEN I DRIVE. I THINK THE DISTRACTION OF COFFEE AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE CAR -- YOU HAVE TO BE A GOOD DRIVER AND ALERT. I'M NOT CONVINCED THAT YOU CAN'T USE YOUR CELLPHONE AT THE SAME TIME.

>> HANDS FREE DEVICES WOULDN'T SOLVE THE ISSUE?

>> IT WOULD BE FINE. I THINK I CAN GO EITHER WAY. IT'S NOT A HUGE ISSUE TO ME.

>> I HOPE YOU ARE DRIVING BEHIND ME. [ LAUGHTER ]

>> WE'LL LEAVE IT THERE.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

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