NFIB Vermont announces results of legislative voting record
Vermont’s leading small business association—the National Federation of Independent Business/Vermont—today announced the release of the 2011-2012 NFIB Vermont Voting Record. The voting record tabulates eight House and six Senate roll-call votes.
NFIB tracks the key legislative issues identified by its members every session and tabulates a score for every lawmaker. The Voting Record serves as a tool for small business owners and citizens about the decisions their elected officials make on issues critical to our economy. There is no more effective way to gauge the performance of politicians than examining their voting record. While most elected officials claim to support small businesses, the NFIB voting record gives citizens a picture of what their elected officials are up to in Montpelier.
“With two out of every three new jobs created by small business; this has been another difficult legislative biennium for small businesses in Vermont,” said Shawn Shouldice, who serves as NFIB/VT’s state director. “But these issues are not just critical to small business owners they are important to all Vermont citizens.”
“In the Senate 9 of 30 and in the House 43 of 150 achieved a score of 60% or higher. Small business makes up 96.8% of the economy; NFIB/VT works hard to inform lawmakers about the importance of small business to the Vermont economy. They are the backbone to our economic growth and competitive position. Based on these scores we have our work cut out for us,” said Shouldice.
Small businesses in Vermont expressed deep concerns over the health care reform measures particularly the formation of Health Care Insurance Exchange, mandatory work breaks, higher taxes on energy, unionization of childcare workers, and other initiatives that would put negative pressure on the state’s weak economy.
The issues are described below the voting records.
Breaks (H.41): Requires
employers to ensure each employee
has paid or unpaid breaks from work
totaling at least 30 minutes during
six consecutive hours of work. This
legislation opens the door to additional
mandates and imposes unnecessary
consequences on employers. a “no”
vote supports the nFiB position.
Passed the House 72–61–16.
Amendment (H.202): Proposed
by Reps. Heidi scheuermann (stowe)
and Oliver Olsen (Jamaica), this
amendment ensures neither employers or employees would be required
to contribute to financing the Vermont
health benefit exchange or Green
Mountain Care if the employer or
employee chooses not to participate in
the program. a “yeS” vote supports
the nFiB position. Failed the House
Energy Act of 2011 (H.56): The
2011 omnibus energy bill passed
the senate with a 55-cent-per-month
charge on all Vermonters’ electric bills
to fund the development of renewable
energy projects. This was replaced
with a proposal from the governor’s
administration that offered developers
grants on renewable energy projects.
The lump-sum grants, which are worth
up to 50 percent of the total cost of the
renewable energy projects, are meant
to entice developers to take the cash
rather than a tax break over a five-year
period. However, this proposal only
shifts the cost of financing the Clean
energy Development Fund from one
party onto other parties, rather than
finding a permanent solution to sustain
the fund. a “no” vote supports the
nFiB position. Passed the House
Mandating Childcare Unionization (H.97): Allows all early-
childhood educators to form a union
and creates a new model of collaboration with the state. The legislation
opens the door to a slippery slope
of increased costs for taxpayers and
further budget problems for the state
of Vermont. a “no” vote supports
the nFiB position. Passed the House
Miscellaneous Tax Bill
(H.436): Raises more than
$85 million in state revenue, including $24 million in taxes on managed
care organizations; increased taxes
on upper-income tax brackets to
raise $30 million to $40 million; a
27-cent hike on cigarettes; and a
1-cent increase in the state property
tax rate to cover a $23 million deficit
in education spending. a “no” vote
supports the nFiB position. Passed
the House 94–48–7 and the senate
17–10–3, and was signed by the
2012 State Budget
(H.558): Merges revenue
from the Catamount Fund into
the state Health Care Resources
Fund (sHCRF), which comes
from the employer Assessment
originally imposed on businesses
for the Catamount Health Fund.
The Legislature failed to gain input
from the business community
before passing this legislation. a
“no” vote supports the nFiB
position. Passed the House
101–37–10. Passed in the senate
27–3–0. signed by the governor.
An amendment by Reps. Clark
(Vergennes) and Higley (Lowell),
allows for the purchase of health
insurance plans outside of the
exchange. a “yeS” vote supports the nFiB position. Failed
the House 57–80–12.
Renewable Energy Portfolio (S.214): introduces
some of the most costly provisions of the session by adding an
additional 77.5 megawatts of total
capacity on top of the 50 megawatts approved in the “standard
offer” projects from the previous
biennium. Also allows for existing
small hydro projects to qualify for
a standard offer price, but will not
count toward an overall cap. The
new standard Offer Program will
include limited market considerations, resulting in set prices far
above market value. a “no” vote
supports the nFiB position.
Passed the House 103–34–12
and the senate 21–4–5, and was
signed by the governor.
Single Payer Healthcare
(H.202): An amendment
by sens. illuzzi (essex) and Miller
(Chittenden), allows for the purchase of health insurance plans
outside of the exchange. a “yeS”
vote supports the nFiB position. Failed the senate 11–19–0.
(H.559): An amendment by sens.
illuzzi (essex) and Miller (Chittenden), allows for the one-year extension of purchasing health insurance
plans outside of the exchange, until
Jan. 1, 2015. a “yeS” vote supports the nFiB position. Failed the
Childcare Unionization (H.781): Proposed
by sen. Kittell (Franklin), this
ammendment calls for the creation of a working group to study
and report on how to: increase
state subsidies for child care
services; increase participation
of providers in the development
of state child care regulations; as
well as an analysis of the number
of child care providers receiving
state subsidies. Also allows for
the creation of a union on July 1,
2013, without legislative intervention. a “no” vote supports
the nFiB position. Passed the
senate 16–13–1. signed by the
Employment Based on
Credit (S.95): Mandates
that employers doing business
within the state be required to pay
their employees on a weekly basis,
unless the employer communicates through written notice that
employees will receive payment
biweekly or semimonthly. a “no”
vote supports the nFiB position. Passed the senate 20–6–4.
Passed the House 94–19–36.
signed by the governor.
The NFIB Voting Record is available to the public online at http://www.nfib.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=q-DBJA39T-g%3d&tabid=1083.
Source: NFIB. Montpelier, August 2, 2012— NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.