Shumlin remains mum on single-payer financing - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Shumlin remains mum on single-payer financing

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Governor Peter Shumlin's full single-payer financing plan is due January 1 of next year, but legislators leave Montpelier in May most years -- so some have called for a glimpse at the possible taxes the Governor may suggest to fund the universal care system that is estimated to cost between $1.6 and $2.2 billion.

"We're not going to roll out there with ideas until they're ready, and we will when they are," was Shumlin's response Monday.

At a news conference the Governor confirmed that despite his continuing commitment to single-payer he won't be able to keep his commitment to previewing some of the taxes he envisions using to fund it. Both he and an administrator tasked with developing the Governor's financing plan pledged to do so following Town Meeting Day.

"Every detail matters. It's incredibly complicated and you've got to get it right. So, all I'm saying is let's get this right. That's more important than meeting some arbitrary deadline," Shumlin said.

"We need enough time to plan properly," said Rep. Lynn Dickinson.  The Republican from St. Albans says Act 48 required the Governor to put forward a plan last year, despite delays in implementing single-payer because of the federal refusal to grant an Obamacare waiver. She says she's disappointed by the Governor's reluctance to tip his hand. "We just keep asking.  I mean the questions still are, how much is it gong to cost and how are we going to pay for it. What's going to be covered and what that impact is going to be on Vermonters," she said.

"I do not believe that this particular piece will in any way slow down our determination and our ability to get it done in the 2015 - 2016 legislative session," Shumlin said.

The Governor bristled when reporters Monday suggested that it seemed likely a payroll tax will ultimately be on the menu as one of the state's only available means to raise such a substantial amount of money. When asked for other examples of possible tax mechanisms, Shumlin sarcastically suggested a lollipop and gum tax.

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