Republicans in Montpelier have once again made clear exactly where their priorities lie with a pair of vetoes shooting down two pieces of widely supported, impactful legislation: paid family and medical leave and a minimum wage increase.
Both bills would have made a critical difference in the lives of working Vermonters, particularly low income and marginalized families. Cost of living analysis shows that $10.75 is not enough to cover basic costs of living. Right now, Vermont’s minimum wage falls well below the state-defined livable wage of $13.34 per hour, making it nearly impossible for full-time employees earning the minimum wage to make ends meet. Similarly, when paid leave is not available, the consequences range from poor infant and long term health outcomes to a lower likelihood that employees will return to work after an illness or having a child.
Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson (D-Milton) deserves commendation for her leadership and her yes vote on both bills. Her efforts were critical bringing these initiatives forward and, despite Republican obstruction, we are confident that she will keep fighting for working Vermonters.
We can’t say the same for Representative Leland Morgan (R-West Milton). Rep. Morgan used his vote to make Vermont less affordable for working families, working in lockstep with Governor Phil Scott to once again deny Vermonters the raise and support that they both need and deserve.