Campaign for Vermont: Legislative session blunts hope for shared prosperity

For immediate release
May 1, 2012

Shawn Shouldice 802-371-7923

Budget grows faster than economy,

Subsidies will boost electric rates,

Health care a risky bet

Montpelier (May 1, 2012)– Campaign for Vermont Founder Bruce Lisman announced a new radio advertisement today putting a spotlight on the fiscal consequences of this 2012 legislative session.

“In January of this year, Campaign for Vermont applauded Governor Peter Shumlin’s commitment to taking care of Vermonters but voiced concern for the lack of fiscal constraint in his state budget,” explained Lisman.

“Governor Shumlin’s proposed overall increase of near 6% and general fund increase of 5.5% are fiscally risky ventures. These increases, on top of a 15% increase over the past 4 years, will come back to haunt Vermont’s taxpayers.

“Together the Administration and legislature have led us down three risky paths ; a new health care system of unknown costs, increased electricity costs to pay subsidies for more expensive alternative energy, and their continued abdication of the leadership necessary to enact education finance reforms that protect property taxpayers. Moderation has not been highly valued this legislative session,” Lisman said.


Press Release


  1. John Ryan :

    Seriously? Why on earth should we care what Lisman’s right-wing vanity project cares about anything?

    • Albert North :

      John Ryan, Because it is our money that is being spent! Most people don’t get a 5.5% raise each year!

    • Kel Varnsen :

      Nothing makes a fool angrier than telling him the truth. Think about it.

  2. Doug Hoffer :

    This is really getting tedious.

    It’s easy to criticize the legislature and the governor (heck, we all do it sometimes). But it’s much harder to stand up and offer real world alternatives. Exactly what does Mr. Lisman propose?

    The CFV website and the endless press releases keep referring to a robust dialogue. It’s been totally one-sided thus far.

    • Kel Varnsen :

      In your world all is well when everyone agrees with you? I can’t imagine the folks Mr. Lisman writes about are all that willing to dialogue with him. Instead they think if they ignore him and his message he will go away. Let’s hope for the sake of Vermont he hangs tough. The spendaholics in the Legislature who want to bring us government-run healthcare have no idea what they are doing and left unchecked will ruin our state.

      • Doug Hoffer :

        You miss the point.
        Mr. Lisman has carefully avoided telling us how he would deal with the many issues before us. Criticizing without engaging your opponents is not a dialogue. It’s a PR campaign with no substance.

        • Kel Varnsen :

          Your argument is the same as used by clueless legislators. I have heard the same from them. When I have voice my opposition to their irresponsible spending and other initiatives they challenge me by asking what I would do. Well they are the ones who asked for and received the responsibility for decision-making and are in fact being paid for it. Asking me what I would do or what my plan is is merely avoiding responsibility, which seems to be what they do best. As the previous poster stated, increasing the budget 5.5% when incomes are stagnant or dropping is irresponsible, but these people do not care.

          • John Ryan :

            Well, if Shumlin would drop his GOP-lite schtick and raise marginal rates, that wouldn’t be a problem, would it (except for Mr. Lisman, of course)? Lisman’s just another GOP blowhard pushing for the same crap as the rest of ’em. He’s just not a foaming mouthbreather because he realized VT’s not a big tea party state so that won’t fly here. Better to go under the radar and push the GOP agenda as “nonpartisan.” No thanks.

  3. Art Bell :

    Hope he serves good Vermont cheese with that endless whine

  4. Avram Patt :

    I guess I still don’t get this “Campaign for Vermont” thing. What exactly is the point? What am I missing?

  5. walter carpenter :

    “In January of this year, Campaign for Vermont applauded Governor Peter Shumlin’s commitment to taking care of Vermonters but voiced concern for the lack of fiscal constraint in his state budget,” explained Lisman.

    As a former ceo of bear sterns which helped to precipitate the great wall street crash of 08 Mr. Lisman is hardly one to tell us or the legislature about fiscal constraint. If others of Mr. Lisman’s ilk had a half of the commitment to take care of people as governor shumlin has, we might never have crashed like we did in the first place.

    • Craig Powers :

      Your one sided statement does not tell the whole truth. The meltdown was a COMBINED effort on the part of Wall Street and the Federal Government opting to look the other way and allow it to happen. Both Democrats and Repubs share in the blame for turning their heads during the run up of the housing bubble.

      A 15% increase in State spending is irresponsible and unsustainable in the long term.

      • Doug Hoffer :

        Adjusted for inflation, the budget only increased about 7% over four years. During that time, the cost of health care (a large part of the budget) grew by 14%. In addition, the recession increased demand for many services so a little perspective is needed.

        There is nothing irresponsible about it.

        • Craig Powers :

          Definitely unsustainable. Just wait till increased demand for health care funding gets put onto the backs of taxpayers beyond the $5 billion in premium the State will be taking. Just wait….

          • Doug Hoffer :

            I guess you forgot that we already pay $5 billion for healthcare.

          • Craig Powers :

            Please read what I wrote one more time. More money needed “beyond” the $5 billion…..

  6. As Senior Managing Director of Bear Sterns, Mr. Lisman must take some responsibility, as do other “Masters of the Universe” for the sub prime derivative mess. In order to prevent bankruptcy, such as Lehman Bros.later that year, Bear was sold to JP Morgan Chase in May 2008 for $10 a share, down from a 52 week high of $133. As usual the “little people took the hit. Mr. Lisman then moved to JPMorgan for about 9 mounts before retiring to Vermont.
    The reason for this little financial review, is that in order for the merger to take place, the Feds(us)bought $29 billion of Bear’s “toxic assets” so you can draw your own conclusions.

  7. Lets not forget that Mr. Lisman’s investment bank, Bear Sterns, needed the Feds(us) to buy $29billion of Bear”s “toxic assets” in order to avoid bankruptcy so that the merger with JP Morgan Chase could take place! Incidentally, JP Morgan paid $10 per share, down from a 52 week high of $133!

    • Lance Hagen :

      Mr. Kilcourse ….. let me guess. You had stock or investments in Bear Sterns

      • Craig Powers :

        Mr. Kilcourse…the feds looked away while this was happening! Two sides to every story! Where was your beloved government when the tab was being run up?

  8. Lance, No, I didn’t..I follow Warren Buffet’s advice. “Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand!” My point was Mr. Lisman is not one to talk about fiscal responsibility, let alone transparency. Also, somehow the top bankers escaped with their fortunes intact. Actually it could have been worse, JPMorgan’s original offer was $2 per share until the Feds took the $29 billion of toxic garbage.

    Side note: Last night’s PBS “Front Line” report on the 2008 Wall Street/derivative fiasco didn’t paint a very flattering picture of Bears Sterns and their overseas deals in Italy.

    P.S. Sorry for the redundancy but my first comment didn’t show up when I first submitted it.

  9. Mr.Powers…the Feds had no regulatory power, unlike the stock market, to govern derivatives and the opaque market they operate in.. Even now, the current congress won’t give the regulators the power to oversee these markets. Just ask Elizabeth Warren. The WS investment bankers got, and still have, a free get out of jail pass that put the officers of Enron, World Com. in jail where they belong.

  10. Joseph Wilson :

    I personally see the struggles of early educators in my area and I do feel they need to be recognized for all their hard work so what I say to the Vermont legislators let do what is right by these women and give them their rights to organize.

  11. Rose Harmon :

    Early educators deserve their basic human right to organize!! They work hard making the minimum amount of money to support their own families. My daughter works 12 plus hours a day then comes home and cares for her family. Then cleans up dinner and gets right to her school work. This is not fair to these women. The state expects them to be educated so they give up their weekends to go to college to get their degrees in early ed but they are not professionals come on!! VT Legislation do what is right and move on!!!



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