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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Democrats fire at former member Salmon over unemployment proposal

Judy Bevans shot some sharp criticism at Tom Salmon, a former Democrat who just switched to the Republican Party, after he suggested the state should signficantly lower the maximum benefit paid to unemployed Vermonters.

Bevans, Democratic Party chairwoman, wrote, "Just two weeks after switching parties, our state's Auditor, Turn-Back-Time Tom Salmon, testified this week that he supports turning back the clock to 2000 and reducing the state's maximum weekly unemployment benefit from $425 to $300!"

Technically, Salmon didn't testify before the Unemployment Trust Fund Reform Study Committee, but he shared his idea publically and followed it up with a letter to the committee. The Democratic Party has corrected its description of his comments.

Bevans paired Salmon's comments with the news that the Douglas administration and the Vermont State Employees failed to agree over how to save $7.4 million without layoffs. She argued Gov. Jim Douglas refused "to meet the state employees union halfway in their negotiations, a move that could result in as many as 300 pink slips for state employees."

Her double-pronged jab: "Seems that the Republican version of economic stimulus calls for fewer jobs and a weaker safety net. A little backwards, if you ask me."

No surprise that Democrats are bitter, but what did Salmon gain from airing this idea?

Salmon's letter to Sen. Ann Cummings, D-Washington,and Rep. Michael Obuchowski, D-Rockingham, explains, "I hope to be a voice that adds productive material to the process."

The unemployment trust fund has a problem -- too little money coming in and a whole lot going out, thanks to the recession. It will become insolvent in January.

Salmon argues against significantly increasing employer contributions because that would slow the state's economic recovery.

Instead he suggests giving Vermont workers fair warning that the maximum benefit would shrink from $425 a week to $300 a week beginning at some date in the future -- such as next July 1. "We should forewarn Vermonters that the UI is not a strong or sustainable solution in assisting them in their household revenue/workforce planning."

Provocative stuff. Does it have appeal, I wonder? Lots of Vermonters can probably imagine themselves out of work these day, so how do they feel about signficantly reducing the maximum benefit -- since that would impact all the benefit levels? Not even the business groups that testified at the study committee's meeting Tuesday suggested such a dramatic change in benefits.

-- Nancy Remsen

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I read Bevans' attack on Salmon. Note that she does NOT propose a solution to the unemployment fund's insolvency problem, she just attacks Salmon. We know why she doesn't offer a solution -- because the only solution is higher taxes and she's AFRAID to mention that.

Guess what? Salmon's right.
"Flop. Flop flop flop. Flop. Huh? Flop. Flop flop. Flop flop, flop." said Tom Salmon.
Actually, the best solution to the unemployment problem would be replacing this clown with a competent governor.
Salmon is now appealing to the GOP right wing conservative base.

Even the VT (GOP) Chamber opposed cutting below last years $409 weekly.

Seems as though Salmon has not reviewed his Auditor's job description recently.

Oh wait, Salmon is an opportunist and is actually running for Gov or Lt Gov!!!
Tom Salmon will be living on $300 per week when he is NOT elected next year
No way. Daddy or Sugar Daddy will hook him up.
"Actually, the best solution to the unemployment problem would be replacing this clown with a competent governor."

Actually, the best solution would be replacing the legislature with a bunch of competent people who graduated from college and have heard of the term "economics."
I do not agree with the substantial cuts to unemployment benefits. Especially when so many are out of work and there are very little jobs available. Although no one else is bringing up other alternatives. At least Salmon is starting the conversation and throwing out some ideas. If you are going to disagree with his ideas then at least do it by offering other options.
I totally agree - at least he brave enough to start a conversation. The rest just want to win.
"very little jobs available"

Very "little" jobs available?

You mean, very "few" jobs available.

English a second language?
Pollina for Governor.
The next Governor is going to have to say some things voters don't want to hear. Tom Salmon seems to have the courage to do that.
Yeah, but will Vermont voters -- any Amrican voters, for that matter -- ever vote for someone who tells them the truth, rather than merely what they want to hear?

I'm not optimisitc.
Democratic Party - Democratic Reform Party

As Democrats of the Democratic Party, we join together in seeking reform within the Democratic Party.

Many Democrats already know their elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer following in the time-honored footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of our great Nation. More importantly, we as democrats see our elected representatives within the Democratic Party abandoning the values and principles as set forth within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

At the very least, many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer abiding to the sole reason the Democratic-Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson - "Strong state governments with a weaker federal government."

This is only the beginning of our problems as Democrats, for many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party have clearly set their own agendas over the members of the Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people. Overall, many of them no longer think of themselves as being our elected representatives, and now refer to themselves as leaders in the true form of tyrants.

Most Democrats already know their pleas are only being answered by repeated insult and injury by their elected representatives within the Democratic Party. Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to worthy and honorable Democratic Party candidates.

So spread the message to everyone of our fellow Democrats, for the Democrat members are taking back control of the Democratic Party. Also, please don't forget to contact and request the Unions and other outside contributors to follow our lead as patriotic Americans. Thank you!

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