FACT CHECK: PHIL SCOTT CONTINUES LYING TO VERMONTERS ON PUBLIC RADIO
Montpelier, VT – Governor Phil Scott appeared on Vermont Edition on May 1, 2023 and continued his campaign of spreading disinformation to Vermonters about the goings on in the legislature as well as key components of various bills. The Vermont Democratic Party seeks to correct this disinformation spread by Phil Scott during this recent appearance.
FACT CHECK: Phil Scott claims that S.5 - the Affordable Heat Act - will “punish people who can't afford to do anything different than they're doing today.”
REALITY: Any argument that suggests this bill is meant to punish Vermonters for not installing climate-friendly heating options and upgrades is fundamentally dishonest. The Affordable Heat Act only requires fuel dealers to offer opportunities to low- and moderate-income customers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels to heat their homes. This isn’t a tax and no fees will be added to your heating bill. In fact, low- and moderate-income Vermont families will save up to $7,500 annually on heating costs with these additional resources - saving them money while heating oil prices continue to climb.
FACT CHECK: Phil Scott says his main concern is that the bill won’t come back to the legislature for approval, and that once the bill gets sent to the Public Utility Commission, “there is no turning back.” He says this isn’t how the legislature should work.
REALITY: Phil Scott is lying about what this bill does. This is in fact not how the legislature works. The Affordable Heat Act actually has more legislative scrutiny than normal. The passing of S.5 set a review process in motion that includes public hearings, written comments, legislative reports, and another full round of legislative review and approval in 2025. The legislature even has the opportunity to put a stop to this bill if they think the PUC’s proposal doesn’t save working Vermonters enough money. Not only has the Affordable Heat Act undergone hours of debate and countless amendments, but it will be studied extensively by the PUC and go through the entire cycle again before it can be implemented.
FACT CHECK: Phil Scott says that the bulk of the climate action responsibility should fall to other states. He says that Vermont isn’t “contributing to the degree other states [are].” He wants the process of this bill to be spread out over years.
REALITY: We simply do not have time to wait on climate action. Scientists around the world agree that if we don’t start drastically reducing our carbon emissions in the next few years, the damage will be irreversible and catastrophic. Yes, Vermont is a small state, but we live on this planet just like everyone else. We are a state that takes care of our community, and this is another very important way we can do just that.
FACT CHECK: Phil Scott believes that the Legislature hasn’t “had much of an appetite” for anything he has proposed around “expanding mental health services, expanding substance use prevention, treatment, recovery, all kinds of things trying to bring jobs to rural Vermont.”
REALITY: This year alone, the Legislature agreed with a number of the Governor’s proposals on mental health and substance abuse, including funds for a two-year pilot program to better address substance abuse and mental health in a way that supports kids and families across Vermont. In fact, the Governor proposed roughly $375,000,000 for mental health and substance abuse programs and the legislature passed roughly $384,000,000 - an increase from his FY24 recommendations.
FACT CHECK: Phil Scott is “not 100% sold” on waiting periods, saying there is “no data to support” it.
REALITY: Studies show that a waiting period reduces gun homicides by 17%, with some states seeing up to a 27% reduction in gun homicides annually. The suicide rate in Vermont is higher than most states across the country with 88% of gun deaths in our state being suicides. According to a Vermont Public investigation, an average of 63 people died per year by suicide using a firearm. A waiting period could save at least 11 Vermonters a year It’s not clear if this information simply hasn’t been seen by Phil Scott, or if he does not believe that it’s accurate, but his assertion that there is “no data” to support it is patently false.
This is not the first, nor will it be the last time, that Phil Scott gives an interview filled with lies and misinformation. The VDP would hope that after six years in the highest office in the state, Phil Scott would respect Vermonters enough to not promote harmful falsehoods live on radio or television.