Letter to the editor: Phil Scott: Responsible leadership with integrity

Phil Scott: Responsible leadership with integrity

Democratic candidate Sue Minter has advanced policy initiatives that will require raising more taxes on struggling Vermonters while worsening our affordability crisis which Phil Scott was the first candidate to champion. Phil Scott will eliminate annual budget deficits without raising taxes. In the last six years of the democratic majority in the legislature, Vermont has run up deficits of $700 million and passed those costs onto Vermonters with a series of new annual taxes. Vermont simply cannot afford what Sue Minter is offering Vermont as our deficits and tax increases would only increase as they have with six years of Gov. Peter Shumlin. Sue Minter's recent suggestion that 160 services may have to be considered for additional tax revenue evidences she doesn't realize we are living beyond our means.

Lt. Governor Phil Scott has also maintained close relationships with law enforcement and community organizations to monitor our public health crisis involving heroin. To date, candidate Minter suggests we need only a "Crisis Manager" while having no substantive plan to address our public health crisis. Given the emergent nature of our heroin epidemic and Phil's comprehensive plan to address it, makes clear Phil Scott is best prepared to manage our ongoing public health crisis.

As Vermont has suffered multiple high profile cases of fraud, it's important Vermonters know Phil Scott was actually working on anti-fraud measures two years ago. Lt. Governor Scott met with me multiple times and understood the financial implications that Vermont would benefit by passage of the Vermont False Claims Act ("VT FCA") in May of 2015, the key anti-fraud law that Vermont has lacked for over a decade. The VT FCA now provides Vermont and its citizens a legal means to recover public funds embezzled by fraud. Simply put, the Democratic majority in the legislature never made fighting fraud a priority until I discovered fraud at The Brattleboro Retreat who have been under criminal investigation for fraud for over a year.

The federal government provides states an incentive of 10 percent additional recovery from fraud recovered in cases involving public funds. Whenever a multi-state fraud case is now settled involving Vermont, the recovery for our general fund will be much larger because of the VT FCA. Multi-state settlements often come years after litigation is commenced and can amount to huge additional recovery in some cases 20 percent to 30 percent larger than they would have been. Vermont recently received a $6 million recovery from a multi-state settlement involving Wyeth Laboratories and in the future these settlements will be significantly higher.

Phil Scott's support for the Vermont False Claims Act and concern for public funds (your taxpayer dollars) evidences whose side he is on. Early voting available at your Town Clerk's Office, please vote. I'm supporting Phil Scott because his word actually means something as he has the core integrity representative of genuine public servants and will make Vermont proud as Governor.

— Thomas Joseph Wilmington


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