Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott issued the following statement regarding the paid family leave bill being considered by the House:
“It’s important to know, I support universal access to paid family and medical leave. That’s why my Administration put forward a voluntary program that is now being implemented.
“Today, however, the House of Representative is considering a bill that, instead of being voluntary, would impose a mandatory and regressive payroll tax on Vermonters, costing an estimated $117 million every year. The House also envisions building and funding a new program from scratch, requiring the addition of over 60 new state employees. This will be no easy task, as we are currently facing a workforce shortage and presently have over 800 open positions in state government that we’re unable to fill.
“This bill would rely on building out a whole new division, a complicated IT system, and more. My plan offers universal access to paid family and medical leave more efficiently and more cost effectively, and with far less risk to the State by using a third party administrator who knows what they’re doing, and wouldn’t have to start from scratch.
“With record state surpluses and high inflation, it is counterintuitive to force a new broad-base tax on already overburdened Vermonters – especially when there is an alternative path to achieve our goal.
“The Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan my Administration is moving forward with provides Vermonters access to paid family and medical leave insurance faster, with a more stable, predictable system, provided by an experienced outside entity that is fully capitalized, and without imposing a new, regressive universal tax on workers and employers.”