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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics? Behold, a special Good Friday edition of The Scoreboard, for the week ending March 29:

Winners:

Wind — First it was a moratorium. Then it bolstered local control. Now it's just a study. Sure, anti-wind legislation passed the Senate this week, but only after its teeth were knocked out. Now look for the House to further defang it.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith — In their escalating tax fight, both men win. By railing against the House's broad-based tax hikes, Shumlin looks like a fiscal conservative outside the Statehouse. Inside the building, Smith gets credit for standing up to Shumlin and opposing the governor's own proposed tax hike on working Vermonters. Runner-up losers: Shumlin, Smith and the Democratic Party, because other than people who read this blog, most Vermonters just hear a bunch of Dems arguing over how much to raise their taxes.

VPR's Kirk Carapezza — For shamelessly goading Shumlin into providing a little more color at Wednesday's weekly presser. Color he got.

Pot jokes — They didn't quite hot-box the Statehouse, but House Judiciary Committee members got to sample — or at least eyeball — a couple baggies of kind bud Thursday as the po-po educated them on what an ounce of pot looks like. As if they didn't already know!

Queen City partisanship — It's still looking like Democrats v. Everybody Else in the looming April Fool's Burlington City Council presidency showdown, as 7D's Kevin Kelley reported this week. But as Kelley asks, who would want the job?!

AP's Dave Gram — Oops! Turns out an administration official may have uttered that much-disputed $2 million figure after all, as the Burlington Free Press' Terri Hallenbeck discovered early this week.

Heady Topper & Switchback — After four rounds of voting, the Waterbury and Burlington brews are facing off in the finals of (SHAMELESS PLUG!) Seven Days' 2013 Vermont Brew Bracket, sponsored by Three Penny Taproom (think they'll give me a free Edward next time I'm in there for dropping their name?). Drink — I mean, vote — early and often.

Losers and ties after the jump...

Tie Score:

"Welfare reform" — The House rejected Shumlin's proposed 36-month limit on Reach Up benefits, opting instead for a 60-month limit (with some exceptions). That won't yield any budget savings this year, defeating the initial purpose of the caps. Huh.

The lakes — The House backed shoreline protection legislation this week, but not before seriously watering it down. Now enviros are worried a two-year rule-making period would prompt a lake-shore building boom.

House Republicans — They took a stand this week against what they called a bloated Democratic budget. But did anybody hear them?

 

Losers:

Single-payer — The surprise resignation this week of Green Mountain Care Board chairwoman Anya Rader Wallack is a blow to Shumlin's single-payer plans. Now all eyes are on her proposed replacement, Burlington restaurateur Al Gobeille.

Campaign finance reform — The Senate unexpectedly adopted a controversial amendment Thursday night limiting corporate contributions to politicians. Then they tried to kill the underlying bill. It'll be fun/depressing to watch the Senate continue to squirm around whether to subject themselves to tougher campaign finance laws. Don't count on it.

Sausage-making — As VTDigger's Anne Galloway reported Thursday, things got messy this week as House Democrats maneuvered around the committee process to soften proposed limits on Reach Up recipients. What started out as behind-the-scenes grumbling burst out onto the House floor Thursday night as Republicans and Democrats sparred over process during debate on the budget.

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About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Bio:
Paul Heintz is a staff writer and political editor for Seven Days. He wrote the "Fair Game" political column from May 2012 through December 2016.

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