Montpelier, Vt. – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Phil Scott’s Communications Director Rebecca Kelley today issued the following statement in response to the Vermont National Education Association’s (NEA) opposition to an opportunity to provide Vermonters millions in property tax relief without reducing teacher benefits:
“Governor Phil Scott has been working with the Vermont School Boards Association and Vermont Superintendents Association to evaluate a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure teachers do not pay more for healthcare, while also generating up to $26 million in annual savings for property taxpayers through new Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI) health plans. It would be a win for taxpayers, a win for teachers and a win for our education system as a whole.
“Yet, unfortunately, the Vermont NEA walked away from what was intended to be a positive and collaborative discussion convened by Governor Scott with an apparent unwillingness to even consider this discussion.
“The Vermont NEA’s position is particularly perplexing considering that in 2015 and 2016 it opposed cost containment measures in the Act 46 education reforms by saying, ‘the inexorable growth in health care costs’ as the ‘root’ of any excess growth in school budgets.
“Given the significant economic and affordability challenges Vermonters are facing – as we continue to lose six people from our workforce, three students from our schools and see nearly one baby born exposed to drugs every single day – Governor Scott is unwilling to pass up an opportunity to find millions of dollars in savings to invest in early care and learning, support our state college system, or provide much-needed property tax relief to Vermonters.
“The Governor hopes the legislature look seriously at this proposal, despite the NEA’s response.”