State carbon tax would raise gas prices by as much as 88 cents a gallon - VTDigger
 

State carbon tax would raise gas prices by as much as 88 cents a gallon

David Deen

David Deen, D-Putney, chair of the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee. File photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Lawmakers say they will push for a statewide tax on carbon dioxide pollution.

The Legislature’s Joint Energy Committee last week reviewed two draft bills that would raise the tax on gasoline by up to 88 cents per gallon.

Economists say the tax is a preferred method of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and legislators say they’ve included measures to counteract the regressive nature of the tax.

Rep. Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the tax will discourage people from using fossil fuels.

“It’s a tax concept I certainly believe in: Tax bad things and try to get people to move away from these things,” Sullivan said. “You do bring in revenue, but you also reduce the impact to society that carbon emissions have. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to see the change this bill would bring about.”

Ninety percent of the revenue generated by the carbon tax would be used to cut other taxes, Sullivan said.

The largest tax cuts would go to low-income people who would be hit hardest by the regressivity of the carbon tax, according to Rep. David Deen, D-Putney, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Sullivan.

The legislation would also push the sales tax down from 6 percent to 5 percent.

The remaining 10 percent of revenue would pay for energy-saving measures such as improved home insulation and infrastructure for public transportation.

Another carbon tax bill, written by Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, would likewise remit 80 percent of the revenue to taxpayers.

A carbon dioxide tax is the means most economists prefer to reduce carbon emissions, said economist Dick Heaps, of Northern Economic Consulting in Chittenden County.

Such an approach interferes least with the free market, he said.

“You want to intervene with the lightest step possible,” Heaps said. “You don’t want to have the government tell you how to produce less carbon, and how much to consume.”

A carbon tax leaves it up to consumers to decide whether to live near their workplace, or whether to purchase an electric car. Economists prefer a carbon tax to a ban on carbon emissions, for instance, or a requirement that all commuters take public transit, Heaps said.

The tax would produce results, too, he said.

Cigarette taxes provide a good example of this effect at work, Heaps said.

“Raising the cigarette tax does reduce cigarette consumption,” he said. “With a carbon tax, you set the tax so as to reduce carbon to a [desired level], and if the tax isn’t high enough to get there, well, raise it again. If it’s set too high, then lower the tax.

“We’ve seen it time and again in markets, you raise the price, people will eventually consume less,” Heaps said.

Vermont can’t make the tax work on its own, however, Heaps said.

“I think it would be really bad policy for Vermont to do this for itself,” he said. In-state sales tax has harmed businesses along the border with New Hampshire, which does not collect sales tax, Heaps said. The same would hold true across the state if Vermont enacted a carbon dioxide tax without doing so in concert with its neighbors, he said.

“Vermont is too small to do something like this by itself,” he said. “We can at best do it as New England as a region.”

Carbon tax

File photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

An economy the size of California’s may be able to pull off a carbon dioxide tax on its own, he said, “but if you’re little old Vermont, you’re going to want to spend the effort convincing everyone else to do it first.”

Deen said he considers it a priority to get other states on board.

“The original intent was to recruit other states to do the same thing as us, starting here in New England, and I’m still working on that,” he said.

Deen said he’s open to revising the bill so that it would take effect only after other New England states pass substantially similar legislation.

And while other countries continue to emit carbon dioxide pollution, Deen said that people in the United States bear responsibility for reducing emissions.

“This notion that India and China and whatever countries are not going to do something – we’re still the biggest energy-consuming country in the world,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t have some responsibility for the amount of discharge that goes into the atmosphere.”

Both bills propose to begin applying the tax in 2018 on fuels including coal, diesel, gasoline, kerosene, propane and others.

Distributors would under both bills carry responsibility for paying the excise.

Deen and Sullivan would set the tax at a rate of $10 per metric ton of carbon dioxide pollution, and raise that amount by $10 per ton per year until reaching a maximum of $100 a ton.

Pearson’s bill takes the same tack, but would start at $50 per ton.

At $10 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution, drivers would pay a 9 cent carbon tax per gallon of gasoline; at $50 per ton, consumers would pay 44 cents a gallon. At the maximum rate of $100 a ton, drivers would pay 88 cents per gallon of gasoline in carbon dioxide taxes.

Mike Polhamus

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  • Jamie Carter

    “I think there are a lot of people out there who want to see the change this bill would bring about.””

    Mrs. Sullivan, I think a lot people out there with think you and your colleagues have complete gone bonkers.

    While people can choose to quit smoking. People can’t afford to sell their home and move closer to work. People can’t afford to drive nothing but a prius or tesla…

    This tax has to be one of the most idiotic pieces of legislation I’ve heard proposed? And here’s what will happen, LESS revenue. If the average fill up is now going to cost you$16 more, that’s incentive to literally drive more to NH or NY or MA. Ergo, the state won’t even be getting the existing tax. I know you want to get other states on board, but lets face it. The rest of New England is not as crazy as Vermont’s legislature.

    Just wow.

    People can choose to quit smoking.

  • Ann Meade

    Unbelievable. Driving in Vermont is not doing a bad thing, it is going to work, getting groceries, living life. I know that someone will throw numbers at me telling me I am wrong but I believe that when gas prices are high it impacts the entire economy. People feel like they can’t afford to do anything. Anecdotally, I have had the conversation with so many people that the economy feels on the upswing, great tourist season. You can thank lower gas prices for that. And the logic of cutting other taxes as a result reads like fuzzy math to me.

    • Jim Manahan

      Driving in Vermont is not going to be a good thing under this proposal. Essentially, tell the tourists to stay home and keep their money out of Vermont. Tell the skiers to stay home and don’t spend their money with Vermont’s ski areas. Just an incredibly dumb idea all the way around, but some are buying the nonsense that 90% will go toward tax cuts, and hoodwinked into thinking this will create jobs.

      • Bill Christian

        The many anti-tax comments are all from people who either (1) don’t believe in climate change and the eventual depletion of fossil fuels, or (2) believe it and don’t care. Neither choise is legitimate. The earth is more important than “tourist dollars”. A tour of Vermont in an electric bus may become a very good choice of holiday. We CANNOT keep on as-is. To believe that we can is selfish or stupid or both. Sorry but it is true. We MUST make hard choices.

        • If you think that adding an 88 cent tax on fossil fuels will create jobs and cut carbon emissions you are only dreaming. Maybe you should pay for my gas to go to work, buy my natural gas to heat my house this winter. Your tax plan will only cause heartache for any Vermonter living here. You you want to know why people are leaving the state? Think for a change and do something to help Vermonters instead of taxing us to death.You must have rocks in your head to think this is a good idea OR you have more money than brains.

        • Justin Jackson

          It is not about climate change, it is about how rich liberals justify their extravagant and wasteful lives. By paying a tax they think that somehow they are absolving themselves of sin. I am not rich and I have to work and commute for a living. I don’t have “carbon guilt.” If you want to reduce carbon how about you donate your extra income to fight climate change, because for my part I haven’t got the money. An oppressive tax on the working class is not a very progressive way to solve the climate crisis.

        • Stacy Stillson

          That is simply not true! Remarks like that are the reason people keep calling proponents of this tax elitist, and as a lifetime liberal, you guys are really ticking me off! How out of touch can you be? You are elitist! Even if only ingenously so.The reason people are objecting is because they simply cannot afford it. Vermont is a rural state with practically NO public transportation, insanely high property values in areas near good jobs, ever increasing rents, and a fairly large population of people like me who, raising our families on 20 to 40 thousand a year, are barely keeping our heads above water. The idea that people like me can just buy a better car, Sell my house to move closer to work, is completly insane. We live where we can afford too, we buy the cars we can afford to! The proposed carbon tax is so spectactularly regressive that I am ashamed that any citizen of my state would dream of supporting it. Let’s find a way to reduce our carbon without crushing our struggling working class!

    • Dave Fortin

      They say they will use it to cut other taxes. I don’t believe it for a second. This is just another attack on the middle class who will feel it most.

    • Patty Prince

      Just recently gas, propane and oil have gone done nationwide, people are actually breathing a bit easier. They are able to afford food and clothing, maybe go on a small vacation. And the greedy government who drive their gas guzzling SUVs and wear their designer clothes , want to take that all away from them. We own apartment buildings, and we pay all of the utilities. We make very little money, actually last year was the first year we made any money because the fuel to heat them was insane! They are insulated and are still super costly. I know for a fact that our 27 tenants live pay check to paycheck because Vermont is so expensive, I also know that this year our rents have been on time and no one has had to move out because if financial hardship they are all actually making a living. This will all go away when they charge this new tax. Everything will go up! You all know that politicians have their own agenda, I guess they want to keep Vermont as a state that the super rich and super poor can enjoy. This sounds like a third world country to me instead of a democracy.

      • Bill Christian

        So it is all right to continue as-is? You don’t care about the future? You think that fossil fuel will not run out? You think our great grandchildren will be ok with a permanent unchangeable 1200 ppm CO2 in the air?

        • Clarke Comollo

          Get Beijing to stop pumping all that crap in the air first, then get back to us

  • Tom Sullivan

    “A carbon tax leaves it up to consumers to decide whether to live near their workplace, or whether to purchase an electric car”

    In most cases, people don’t commute long distances by choice, they do so because they can’t afford housing that’s close to their jobs.

    The carbon tax bill is simply an elitist progressive attempt at a money grab. Republicans will reap the benefits next year.

    • Mary-Alice Shemo

      About going it alone, there are people here in NYS working toward the same goal. It’s the smartest approach, incentivizing use of creativity in reducing carbon emissions. In many cases, when people have finally decided for whatever reason to do so, they’ve found the outcome PROFITABLE! We have GOT to find a way to do this. BTW, “elitist” & “progressive” have exactly opposite meanings, don’t belong in the same sentence.

      • Tom Sullivan

        Hey Mary

        “BTW, “elitist” & “progressive” have exactly opposite meanings, don’t belong in the same sentence.”

        elitist – considered superior by others or by themselves, as in intellect, talent, power, wealth, or position in society,

        a person having, thought to have, or professing superior intellect or talent, power, wealth, or membership in the upper echelons of society

        Progressive – of a group, person, or idea) favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.

        Am I missing something?

        • John McClaughry

          Actually, yes. Although early (1900) Western progressives were pro-democracy, when Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson refined the term to mean that the wise, well educated and selfless would be charged with making the public decisions, instead of leaving them to a show of hands among the ignorant, selfish and venal populace. There is a wealth of literature on this point.

    • lester french

      This is a democrat dream to place more people under welfare control. There is no public transportation for many workers. Increase cost of fuel will drive up the price of food as well as other products bought in VT. Next step will be road blocks at border crossings to tax people who shop other states.

  • michael saunders

    I like this idea. A lot of people will switch to wood pellets which is a good thing for the local producers. Also it will be interesting to see all the unintended consequences of the tax. You might see an increase in the states use of coal as more people switch to electric cars.

    • Jamie Carter

      It’s a tax on gasoline, not on heating oil so wood pellets won’t likely see a significant increase.

      It’s unlike more people will switch to electric cars as the main problem is the battery life. If an electric car has a range of 100miles, in the winter with defrost, etc that range becomes 60-70, or 35 miles round trip. That’s not practical in rural VT. If you are traveling less then that, the tax isn’t going to hit you that hard to the point where you are considering paying a few 1ooo extra on a car to save a few bucks at the pump.

      • Townsend Peters

        You’re wrong Mr. Carter. It’s a tax on fossil fuels, including gasoline and heating oil.

        • Jamie Carter

          Do you have link to the actual proposal because the article here twice states is a tax on gasoline, but nowhere do I find where it states it will also tax heating oil.

          “The Legislature’s Joint Energy Committee last week reviewed two draft bills that would raise the tax on gasoline by up to 88 cents per gallon.”

          “Both bills propose to begin applying the tax in 2018 on fuels including coal, diesel, gasoline, kerosene, propane and others.”

          I don’t see heating oil in there, maybe as others but since it would be the second major source seems odd to omit it.

          • Trinna Larsen

            Hi Mr. Carter,

            Here is a link to the bill showing that the tax is on all fossil fuels producing carbon pollution, not only on gasoline. I also think it is odd that Digger referred to the tax as one on gasoline as opposed to what it actually is. Strange.

            http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2016/Docs/BILLS/H-0412/H-0412%20As%20Introduced.pdf

          • Jamie Carter

            Thanks for the link Trinna Larsen.

            It’s even worse then I thought… many many farms will be out of business that’s for sure. Those tractors don’t exactly get good mileage.

        • Randy Jorgensen

          Everyone will rush to the stores to buy electric heaters to keep their houses warm in the winter because heating oil is now out of reach causing electric rates to go even higher and more “on demand” electrical generation plants to be fired up to compensate for the increased load.

          Brilliant!

          • Bill Christian

            That is a stupid statement. Learn economic principles. Fossil fuel fired electric costs will go up too. There will be a move to heat pump heating with renewable energy. Due to COST. A carbon tax is very intelligent because it actually focuses specifically on fossil fuels. It does not tell you what to do or how to do it. It just says “don’t use so much fossil fuel because we absolutely cannot keep doing that. Do whatever else you can. But burn less fossil fuel. When YOU burn fossil fuel you are harming MY great grandchildren. That is not fair and I am not willing to let that happen. Support a carbon tax.

    • Jodi Lathrop

      Where do you think wood pellets come from? The production of wood pellets require the use of diesel fuel. This bill put put most if not all loggers and excavators out of business. The profit margin form logging companies is only 3-4%. No new people are going into this filed all the old loggers are retiring. I predict in the next 10 years wood pellets will become more costly than a gallon of fuel. The dictates what fuel can be burned in what machines wood pellets are not priced like home heating fuel they are a wood commodity. So if loggers disappear so do your pellets and biomass wood chips. Of course Canada, China, Russia and Mexico will all be able to produce them cheap. So you will put your neighbor out of work but still be able to feel good about burning them.

    • Bill Christian

      Not if we tax coal as well! A carbon tax will have to be national to be very effective. But Vermont can lead as it often has.

  • So we impose a carbon tax which will hit the poor and middle class rural Vermonters the hardest. Then we “return” some of that tax to the poorest, the bulk of whom already reside in urban areas where mass transportation is easily available. And then we use the rest to create new programs that we hook to an evaporating income stream, meaning we can’t sustain them.

    Of course, that means the middle class and rural poor, especially those living along the Connecticut River, will once again suffer the most. And the response is that rural homeowners can move or buy cars they can’t afford?

    Another Vermont initiative that New Hampshire will welcome as a golden business opportunity.

    Please Representatives, take a short breath from the idea that Vermont will lead the world to reverse climate change and recognize how badly what’s left of the middle class is suffering. There’s a reason so many expressed frustration during the last election. It’s reflected in closing schools, vacant stores and “For Sale” signs all over the place. But those folks aren’t moving to Chittenden County, they’re moving out of state. How long do you think we can keep this up?

    • Bob Stannard

      As I read this article, Joe, I believe that the sponsors are willing to wait until other New States concur. I’m not getting the sense that they’re suggesting we go it alone.

      • Renee Carpenter

        Conceptually, perhaps, a carbon tax is a good idea–at least in theory, but–as usual–the impact is greater the lower one’s income. Very regressive.

        A more progressive idea is to tax wealth–upper incomes, capital gains, financial transactions, second homes, luxury items, including certain vehicles, and pouring those increased revenues into a massive expansion of weatherization programs, and subsidies for lower income home owners to convert to greener heating systems, solar hot water, photovoltaics, etc; and to increase subsidies for new, affordable, energy-efficient homes (preventing excessive costs of homelessness, increasing stability for families, etc., etc…).

        “The legislation would also push the sales tax down from 6 percent to 5 percent”–a very bad idea, in my opinion because Vermont needs to increase certain sales taxes–including rooms & meals–to increase revenue for a variety of reasons.

        Time to broaden our thinking out of the “green energy” box to include a more holistic approach to meeting the needs of all Vermonters, including the most vulnerable, in the fairest and most progressive way possible, while lowering our carbon footprint. This should not be an either/ or proposition.

        If Vermont is to live up to its perceived exceptional progressivity, it must broaden its approach to be truly progressive.

    • Owen Shindler

      More inanity from Montpelier.

      Perhaps the fine people of Vermont will finally wake up and retire this incredibly idealistic Democrat Legislature! We are like a miniature version of Congress who believes that the solution to everything is more taxes. We are already suffocating under the burden of high taxes and low wages. So the solution is more taxes?

      The secret to a healthy society is jobs… Without good jobs, nothing works. So why don’t we lead the charge to make Vermont the best place to do business. Create some programs to attract more business and create more jobs. What you are proposing does just the opposite. You will
      increase the cost of everything. Take a hard look at Vermonters and their needs and take the option of taxes off the table for a change. Try reducing government and lowering taxes. I know you can do it.

      We do not need our legislature to play God and save the universe. We don’t even have an environmental problem in Vermont. We are one of the cleanest states with a tiny population. But we are facing significant challenges. We spend big money on education and get very little in return. Why, because most of the youth are leaving the state after graduation for other locations in the country that offer more opportunity…JOBS. Young families that do have jobs struggle with a very high cost of living which was dramatically increased with act 60. That does not just effect property owners but also the rental market because either way, those taxes have to be paid.

      If you really want to reduce fossil fuels, try creating a program that enables every Vermonter to super insulate their homes thereby eliminating the fuel demand. Then, you can put a few solar panels on the roof and be net zero. The other benefit is that we can stop trashing the beauty of Vermont with solar fields and bless the people of our state by virtually eliminating their fuel bills. That would be a proper use of our money.

      So many people have responded with good thoughts. I truly hope someone is paying attention.

  • Dave Bellini

    I strongly disagree with this legislation. Let’s call it what it really is: A giant pay cut on working Vermonters. It is unrealistic to expect people to drop everything, pull their kids out of school and move elsewhere to cut down the commute. Usually, two people have to work in a household just to get by. One household often has two workers employed in different towns.
    Vermont is not Fairfield County Connecticut. Folks can’t ride the rail into the city.
    Seriously folks, this would hurt workers.

  • Kim Fried

    These people believe it or not are “our” legislators. What world do they live in? Where did they come from? This law plus the energy strategies these same legislators and the Governor have put in place is dooming our state. Vermont now longer exists, it’s just Montpelier and Burlington. Can we have a law to change the name of our state, it certainly is dishonest to continue to call it Vermont.

  • Peter Everett

    Looks like I’ll have to sell my home for pennies on the dollar.
    Who the hell would pay market value for a home in, this overtaxed, state if this were to go through? Worst mistake I ever made was moving here. Maybe the beauty of the state intoxicates ones senses to the reality of the actual cost to live here. The negative now far outweighs the positive of Vermont.
    If I could break even on selling my home, I’d be gone ASAP. Chances of that are slim to none. Stuck here I am!!!!

    • Randy Jorgensen

      The max exodus of folks leaving the state will finally allow for a reboot of fiscal sanity.

      People complain that young folks having kids are moving away now, wait till this passes. Those of us that have 3 or more kids and have to drive vehicles that don’t get 50 MPG will have ANOTHER reason to leave the state.

      Pass it and WATCH it happen. I dare these folks to.

      Peter, it’s not worth holding on to a sinking ship as it goes down. It’s like holding a loosing stock, sometimes you have to cut your loses. Moving BACK to this state in 2009 was the worst fiscal mistake I have made in my life. I have chalked it up as a learning experience, but won’t make the same mistake twice. More then I can say for our elected “elitist” officials.

  • Moshe Braner

    Some of the revenue should be used to (1) maintain the roads and (2) reduce the fixed fees on automobiles such as the annual registration.

  • Nick Spencer

    I would support a pilot test program for the carbon tax. Implement it in Montpelier alone for the first 3 years and see how it impacts their economy. Then you might have an idea of how Vermont would be affected by going it alone in the US. You might be able to avoid hearing the Lawmakers talk about “unintended consequences” when it really is just bad legislation.

    • Neil Johnson

      Genius……well put.

  • John Grady

    Selfish flatlander baby boomers looking for a pat on the back from their social circle propose throwing thousands of struggling Vermonter’s in the poor house by destroying their jobs and others might hang on to their low paying jobs and see no benefit from a sales tax reduction because they have hardly any disposable income to spend on taxable items but will get creamed by the carbon tax.

    Wealthy flatlanders have no clue or don’t care about Vermont’s working class. The oil will be burned on planet earth whether in Vermont or the northeast or the United States.

    They probably know it and their main objective is to destroy the Vermont economy some more to drive humans out of here so they can have their own nature preserve all to themselves and don’t care how many people they make suffer in the process.

    Vermont doesn’t have enough junkies, make life harder on the young and working class, support the trust fund babies carbon tax and destroy the economy some more.

    • Jan van Eck

      Unfortunately, the first two paragraphs of your Comment are accurate observations.

  • Tony Elliott

    Bad idea. If you want to create behavior modification, be sure there are viable alternatives to choose. Drive less? Buy an electric car? We just plain aren’t there yet. Most folks can’t move to be closer to their jobs and the premiums on hybrid and electric cars make them pretty unaffordable. It’s coming, but this is not the road to get there. Bad for citizens and bad for business.

  • Peter Everett

    Revenue projections are just that…projections. Never do they equal what is expected, most always far below expectations. Therefore, what does the Legislature do, in their esteemed wisdom(????)? Raise other taxes to offset what they projected in the first place. Win – win for those in power (more of the taxpayer’s money to waste). Lose – lose for the taxpayers (need I explain?). Time to drive those in power out of office (better yet, out of state). Someday, reality will hit this state. Most likely, not in my lifetime.

  • Carl Werth

    Voting this in should be a HUGE help in getting more Republicans elected to the legislature next November.

  • Rory Malone

    This is a spectacularly bad idea. Outside of some environmentalists and a small portion of the legislature, I can’t imagine any other interest favoring such a massive tax. If something like this happened it would very likely cripple the VT economy. People would stop spending money at stores or restaurants, it would certainly decimate the drive-in tourism/skiing/leaf peeping segment.

    Wow. I’m actually shocked at how wrong headed this idea is and terrified the legislature may actually support it.

  • Laura Mistretta

    Climate change is happening and is already taking a toll on our state and our towns. How many more “100-yr floods” can our roads and bridges handle? We need to start tackling the source of climate change and provide the state with funding to help all Vermonters transition off of fossil fuels. A carbon pollution tax that is phased in over time will have a very minor impact on fuel costs (much less than the price fluctuations we have seen over the last two years when gas was over $4.00 per gallon). Yet, this SLIGHT increase in cost will help fund critical state programs like low-income weatherization and public transportation that will help us all reduce our use of fossil fuels. We need to get serious about climate change and a carbon pollution tax is far and away the best and simplest thing we can do.

    • All people who have disposable income or are on programs or who work for programs will support this tax

      • Bill Christian

        Also people who care more about our planet and our grandkids than about keeping our soft fat bottoms comfortable.

  • Dotty Kyle

    Boy, it sure seems like the fossil fuel folks are out in full force! And they haven’t done their homework, they just spout conservative talking points. Sorry, guys – do some real research.

    As the grandmother of six, ages 8 through 24, I care deeply about the world we’re leaving them. For the past five years, since I first learned about British Columbia’s fee on carbon polluters, I’ve wondered why we in the US aren’t following suit. Of course, I knew all along – big oil, gas and coal, with their propaganda machine in full flower, has fed misinformation to voters, whipping well meaning people into an outrage about how a price on carbon pollution will brutalize the poor, elderly and disabled. Not so!

    In fact, putting a price on polluters, with the revenue returning to Vermonters in the form of a combination of tax rebates, subsidies for energy efficiency retrofits, small business tax reductions and cash payments to low-income Vermonters will save Vermonters money. It will also have the effect of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and help move Vermont toward our State energy goals.

    Energy Independent Vermont, the organization behind this effort is more than just a coalition of “greenies” like the Sierra Cub and 350VT. They’re a diverse group including low-income advocates, academic leaders, Vermont businesses and Town Energy Committees. Serious research, by Regional Economic Models, Inc (REMI), details the economic, fiscal, emissions and demographic implications of a carbon price policy in Vermont. Their report can be found at http://www.energyindependentvermont.org

    Energy Independent Vermont has done their homework. Now it’s time for us to do likewise. We’ll see that this proposed legislation is a no-brainer. Learn more – and get involved. That’s what real citizenship is all about!

    • Rob Roper

      “…putting a price on polluters, with the revenue returning to Vermonters.”

      In this case, Vermonters ARE the polluters. Anyone who drives, heats their homes, grills a hamburger is a polluter in the eyes of these legislators. So, this law would essentially take money from Vermonters, and return a smaller fraction of that take, but with serious strings attached. It’s a bad deal for the taxpayers. Give me $100, I’ll give you $90 back and tell you how you have to spend it.

    • Max D. Meridi

      …”As the grandmother of six, ages 8 through 24, I care deeply about the world we’re leaving them.”…

      Having Children Brings High Carbon Impact
      http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/having-children-brings-high-carbon-impact/comment-page-14/?_r=0

    • All of this assumes that increased CO2 in the atmosphere is a problem, a contention that is hardly proven, and indeed is extremely unlikely. As one speaker at the recent 2015 Annual GWPF Lecture said:

      “It does boggle the mind in the face of our knowledge that the level of CO2 has been steadily falling [from a geologic perspective] that human CO2 emissions are not universally acclaimed as a miracle of salvation. From direct observation we already know that the extreme predictions of CO2’s impact on global temperature are highly unlikely given that about one-third of all our CO2 emissions have been discharged during the past 18 years and there has been no statistically significant warming. And even if there were some additional warming that would surely be preferable to the extermination of all or most species on the planet.”

      Who was this speaker? Was he some Koch Brother funded crackpot? Hardly. These remarks were given by Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace. You can read his full remarks, which are somewhat long but worth the read, here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/15/greenpeace-founder-delivers-powerful-annual-lecture-praises-carbon-dioxide-full-text/

      • David Bell

        It is a contention shown to be true through decades of research; the results of which have been accepted by 97% of climatologists and every credible scientific organization on the planet.

        And while your quote may not come from a koch funded crackpot, the blogger you link to does.

        One thing the person you quote cannot claim to be is a climatologist; so why are you pretending his dubious and highly misleading claims should be treated as credible?

    • My mother is elderly and living on ss, I can tell you right now that her life will change dramatically, she lives in rural Vt. There will be no bingo no seeing her friends and the temperature in her house will be 62, she will probably eat less too… But if you think that’s not an impact, then go for it!

      • Bill Christian

        Did she go to bingo when gas cost $4.75? We are talking about raising gas from $2.00 to $2.09 the first year. You are being hysterical and illogical. The tax is modest, gradually growing, as it should, to give us time to figure out what to do. You won’t have to shoot your mother to put her out of her misery!

  • Glenn Thompson

    From the article,

    “Rep. Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the tax will discourage people from using fossil fuels.”

    How do people like this get voted into public office?

    What about those who rely on their livelihood that requires driving from point A to Point B, to point C, etc, etc, etc to make a living? Think about that, the next time you walk into a supermarket to purchase a loaf of bread, or any product…anywheres…how did it get there?

    I wish people who end up in Montpelier would do one thing….THINK, before proposing such lunacy!

  • peter starr

    Why stop here? Every Vermonter should be Taxed.
    According to The fart facts.com http://zomoetdat.nl/thefartfacts.com/index.html
    Vermonters fart 14 times a day with a content of 9% carbon dioxide per fart! So about every 11 months each Vermonter would reach a ton, so I say about $11.00 a year should cover it.
    If you are going to rape the good people of Vermont why not go all the way?

  • Elizabeth Parker

    This article is a pot stirrer. Many people have worked long hours to vision what needs to be done to eliminate Vermont’s dependency on oil. Vermont imports $2 billion on fossil fuel each year. That is money going out of state hemoraging our economy. Developing new energy sources within the state for example methane and hydrogen will create jobs and go a long way to keeping a couple of billion dollars in our local economy. No one wants to stress the working poor who in the winter have to choose between transportation costs, heating costs and putting food on the table. Vermont has had higher gas prices. Starting out with a tax of nine cents a gallon will not break the bank. My estimate is that for a family using 30 gallons a week they will be paying $1394/year which is a lot! An income tax rebate needs to be put in place so that there is an immediate reduction in VT taxes taken out of the paycheck of those in lower income brackets. The carbon tax will generate $35 million in revenue during the first year at nine cents. I do not approve of the use of this tax for any other purpose than to support low income weatherization, dramatically improved public transportation, provide incentives for low income Vermonters to purchase energy efficient cars, and funding businesses that are developing alternative fuel sources.
    As Vermonters we have an obligation to support all our population and one of the biggest steps we can take is to end our dependency on imported fuel and use our Yankee ingenuity to create new solutions. For those in the business sector who fear Vermont’s call to go it alone until contiguous states join in, I say please do not be short sighted. Yes there might be some challenges for businesses on the state borders or even the state as a whole. Soon, however, as Vermont pulls ahead in developing the infrastructure to provide energy needs from local sources the business win will be tremendous. $2 billion kept within the Vermont economy will go a long way to building up our business community. Do not throw the baby out with the bath water! I ask our legislators to build in clear tax rebates for those with income challenges and I applaud the courage of Vermont’s legislature to take on the elephant in the room. Income inequality will be stemmed when Vermont’ energy needs are met locally.

    • Jan van Eck

      Actually, in all candor, “income inequality will be stemmed” when there is opportunity for decent-paying jobs available for all. You are not going to get there by trying to tinker with “energy needs.” Doesn’t work that way.

    • Jeffrey D. Marshall

      Giving tax breaks to people who don’t pay much, if any, taxes to begin within, or who are minimally able to fill out a tax form, or who are working underground because that’s the only way to make ends meet, is a typical asinine Republican proposal, not worthy of the Democratic Party.

    • Bill Christian

      Math lesson: a family using 30 gallons a week x 52 weeks a year and paying 9 cents a gallon tax will pay $140 a year for the tax. Dilbert said “sometimes it’s better not to explain the filtration system to the turtle”.

  • “….they have hardly any disposable income to spend on taxable items but will get creamed by the carbon tax.”

    My thoughts exactly.

    “The carbon tax bill is simply an elitist progressive attempt at a money grab.”

    There is no money left.

    “Republicans will reap the benefits next year.”

    One can only hope!

  • Kathy Blume

    I’ve been sitting in on many of the conversations about the development of a carbon pollution tax, and I can tell you first hand that everyone involved is extremely concerned about this as an environmental justice issue as well as a policy for reducing our carbon footprint.

    Nobody wants to burden working Vermonters. The conversations engage that particular issue all the time.

    That’s why there’s so much of an effort to also weatherize homes, build locally owned renewable energy projects, increase public and shared transportation networks, and make sure that the revenue from the carbon pollution tax benefits the average Vermonter to offset the increased cost of fossil fuels.

    Nobody said tackling climate change was easy. It’s the hardest thing facing humanity as a whole, and it’s certainly no cakewalk for Vermonters. But it is our moral and ethical obligation to give it our all.

    And this is not a crazy, radical, left-wing idea. The concept of a carbon pollution tax is supported by people like Robert J. Shapiro – former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Paul Volcker -former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, George P. Shultz – former Secretary of State, Gregory Mankiw – former Chair, President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Lawrence Lindsey – former Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President on Economic Policy under President George W. Bush. Among many others.

    Even the Wall Street Journal supports a carbon tax.

    • John McClaughry

      I just searched the Wall Street Journal and although there are a couple of op ed pieces arguing that revenue neutral carbon tax plus zero renewable subsidies and energy deregulation would be an improvement over the subsidy and regulation carnival we have now, I can’t find an editorial supporting a carbon tax. The most recent op ed by Oren Cass (Manhattan Instititute) (4/30/15) is titled “Carbon Taxes in Revenue Fantasyland”.

  • John Greenberg

    To read all the wailing in these comments, you’d think that 1) the majority of Vermonters are poor, and that there are no offsets for those who are, 2) that fossil fuel use is fixed in granite, and that 3) the proposed tax is IN ADDITION to all current taxes. In fact, all of these points are false.

    1) In any version of a carbon tax, most of those paying the new tax would not be poor, since the majority of Vermonters are not poor. In the Dean-Sullivan proposal, sales tax – which EVERYONE in Vermont pays – gets cut from 6 to 5 cents. It’s not certain that the poorest Vermonters own or drive cars, but it is certain that all of them pay sales taxes.

    2) The whole point of the tax is to make the greater cost imposed on heating a home provide an additional incentive to reduce the cost of heat by other means: e.g. weatherization. That’s true whether you live in a mansion or a trailer.

    The amount of fuel needed to heat a home depends on its weatherization level – to coin a term: if you add insulation or otherwise improve the house’s performance, you will be able to heat the same space to the same temperature using less fuel.

    If fuel prices are low, there is little incentive to do so (or for builders of new homes to build in high levels of heating efficiency). As fuel costs rise, the initial cost of insulation and weatherization is offset by the increased cost of fuel, making efficiency more economically desirable and returns on efficiency investments higher and quicker.

    The same is true for transportation: you may have no choice about driving to work, but you DO have a choice about WHAT to drive.

    In 2015, according to EPA, the best car model (excluding electric vehicles) gets 50 mpg; the worst, 10. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/best-worst.shtml That’s a large spread.
    It means that the same commuting trip can take up to 5 times more gasoline, according to which car you drive. (For trucks, the spread is 12 to 33 mpg or roughly 3 times).

    If carbon taxes are imposed and people understand that fuel prices are going up, they will consider a more efficient vehicle the next time they buy a car, especially if their current vehicle is on the lower end of the mpg spectrum. Without the price increase, there is less incentive to do so. That’s especially if doing so requires giving up something else about the car which the consumer happened to like. Price and mpg are only 2 of many factors in consumers’ vehicle choices.

    As it happens, most of the most fuel-efficient cars in the US market (including the Prius) are in the bottom quartile as to cost (meaning that ¾ of the cars on the market are MORE costly): if you can afford a car at all, you can afford a fuel-efficient car.

    Keeping energy cheap invites waste, as decades of cheap energy policies (including subsidies for the production of carbon-based fossil fuels) amply demonstrate.

    Subsidies, military interventions in the Middle East, etc. – have insured that American energy is cheap relative to many parts of the world. (Even today, governments around the world provide hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies to fossil fuels). American auto manufacturers responded to these price levels by producing larger, heavier and less efficient cars.

    Carbon taxes will prompt precisely the opposite response: manufacturers will have an incentive to produce more comfortable, more efficient cars at lower prices, because suddenly, that’s what their customers will want.

    Finally, in both plans discussed, most of the revenue (80-90%) raised by the carbon tax is revenue neutral: other taxes (e.g, the sales tax discussed above) are cut while taxes on carbon are increased.

    In short, many of the arguments presented here are totally specious.

    • John McClaughry

      “Revenue neutral” means the same amount goes out as come sin. Your peculiar definition of the first 80-90% being “revenue neutral” omits the awkward fact that that the remaining 10-20% is a 0% neutral government tax grab.

    • Scott Whittemore

      Not poor? One third of Vermonters are on Medicaid.

    • Neil Johnson

      Well, John this could be true, but it’s not. See we could have affordable 50mpg cars for less than $10,000 all over the place. In the early eighties we had the K- car that got 40mpg, and had the aerodynamics of a brick.

      But now our safety regulations are so high, we can’t do that. Our cars weigh too much and cost too much. So the average person doesn’t save any money.

      Then you make is such that they aren’t mobile for a job and you’ve strapped them from advancement. Even more so if they have to move and sell their house in order to walk to the next job.

      People on this forum have commons sense and actually live in the real world. Unlike some of our representatives.

    • Moshe Braner

      “… the poorest Vermonters… all of them pay sales taxes.”

      – That is not really true, since (thankfully) we don’t charge sales tax on food and clothing. But everybody who pays gasoline taxes also pays for vehicle registration. That is why I suggest that the registration fee be reduced. Both that and the per-gallon tax are parts of the same rationale: increase the variable costs, and decrease the fixed costs, to encourage conservation. The same should be done with electricity. The $1.50 per meter fee for funding clean energy is counter-productive. It should be replaced with a per-KWH fee.

      It is true though that nowadays one can buy a used Prius for no more than other used cars, and they generally cost less to maintain.

      Alas people forget very fast how much fuel cost just a couple of years back, and are now buying larger vehicles again. The current low price is temporary. A couple of years in the future the likely increase in the pre-tax price of gas will make the 9 cents, or even 88 cents, carbon tax a minor footnote. Plan accordingly.

      • John Greenberg

        Moshe Braner:

        “That is not really true, since (thankfully) we don’t charge sales tax on food and clothing.”

        And poor people buy NOTHING other than food or clothing? Really?

        • Moshe Braner

          Poor people mostly pay for housing, utilities, transportation, food, and clothing. Sales tax is not charged on any of those (other than minor things, such the parts portion of auto maintenance, or the non-food items at the grocery store). They have little money for other purchases.

          • Robert Joseph

            Cept for sugary drinks and diet soda (but not maple syrup) and prepared food…and clothing over $100…and fuel surcharge on garbage collection…and 1% local option tax….and don’t forget this tax would impact home heating oil and propane….which I guess aren’t considered “utilities” in your world….even tho those are the only 2 choices most Vermonters have.

          • John Greenberg

            Moshe:

            The Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy does state by state analyses of how taxes impact people in each of the bottom income quintiles, as well as their impact on the top 15%, 5% and 1%.

            Its “Who Pays?” report finds that for the lowest income earners in Vermont (and I suspect elsewhere as well) general sales taxes have the HIGHEST impact of all income groups. Indeed, the PERCENTAGE of income paid for general sales taxes (obviously not the amount) goes DOWN as income rises. See page 124 of the pdf here: http://www.itep.org/pdf/whopaysreport.pdf. If you have a better source of information on the topic, feel free to cite it.

    • Obviously this thinking is what is propelling this green thinking forward.
      So let’s propose this:
      All revenue from the 88 cent tax goes to each and every household to put in solar, wind, and geothermal. Let give everyone an electric car also. Without the Vermonter actually having to pay the bill for the renewable energy. I would go for that. Oh ya that’s not possible now is it? The cost of all that is not viable. So all this tax is going to do us hurt any chance of using the now extra money to maybe buy the renewable energy for themselves. With is tax how will we be able to find that money for a greener Vermont.

  • Trinna Larsen

    First of all, I would like to point out that this article discusses the increase in cost of gas at the MAXIMUM taxing rate. The actual tax rate that this act would begin with would cause no more than a 10 cent raise is gas. I have seen prices raise up to $4.00 a gallon within a month for reasons a lot less important than saving this planet.
    I would also like to discuss how the goal of this bill is to create a stable transition to clean energy systems throughout Vermont. No one creating this bill is expecting people to stop driving, as stated by many comments above, that would be ridiculous. The purpose of this bill is to fund projects such as increased public transportation and the weatherization of homes, consequently causing the reduction of use of fossil fuels. The rest of the revenue is going directly back to the people to keep from harming anyone financially.
    Climate change is affecting people all over the world in very obvious ways. Whether it’s melting glaciers, super-storms, mass flooding, or mass wild fires, climate change is destroying lives. We the people need to take a firm stance against climate change and this is a realistic way to do so. This bill is following in British Columbia’s footsteps and hopefully cause others to fall in ours.

    • Jamie Carter

      “The actual tax rate that this act would begin with would cause no more than a 10 cent raise is gas. ”

      On top of the 55 cents we ALREADY pay.

      If you want more money to effect change find an existing pot of money to use. There is only so much we can do.

      Secondly, if we need to collect it to then give it back it’s a bad idea. Overcomplication already wastes millions of dollars in this state as it is and only allows for mismanagement.

      Either tax everyone or no one. Why single out those that live in rural VT because they can’t afford to live in Chittenden Country while then in essence giving those that have enough money to live in the progressive bastion of Burlington what amounts to a tax break since they are only commuting a few miles?

      This is the most poorly thought out and regressive proposal I’ve witnessed in my 40 years in Vermont.

      • John Greenberg

        Jamie Carter:

        “If you want more money to effect change find an existing pot of money to use.” In essence, that’s precisely what the bills propose: as just one example, one of the existing pots is 1 cent currently collected from sales tax which would be collected from the additional (yes) gas tax in the future.

        • Jamie Carter

          OK, John… I’m not sure you were understanding of what I meant, but lets just go by what you said. This is in fact taking from another pot.

          They are shifting from income tax and sales tax in favor for a higher gas tax.

          So basically they are going to take money from the middle class of vermonters… those that depend on commuting to work and back, some of us quite a distance. And then give it back to the poor (who don’t drive much) and the wealthy (those that can afford to buy things).

          Great idea, keep screwing the middle class to redistribute the wealth to the poor and the rich.

          • Trinna Larsen

            I would just like to clarify that this bill would not be placing a tax on gasoline. It is designed to tax the importers of fossil fuels based on the amount of carbon pollution they produce.

            The 10 cent raise in gasoline prices is the projected response of the fuel companies. The 90 percent of revenue going back to Vermonters is meant to offset these predicted responses. The increase in fuel would not be benefiting the VT government whatsoever, but reducing the amount of fossil fuels imported and consumed absolutely will. This bill will not only force fossil fuel companies to pay for our clean energy initiatives through the 10 percent of the tax revenue, BUT ALSO move Vermont away from the need to import fossil fuels from other states, therefore greatly stimulating our economy which always benefits the middle class.

      • Bill Christian

        The tax is 49, not 55 cents a gallon. And it is nowhere near enough to pay for roads, so I help pay for roadwork with my income tax, so that you can drive more cheaply.

    • Peter Everett

      Trinna,
      You must understand that the Legislature does not know the meaning of the word MAXIMUM. Today’s Maximum is tomorrow’s MINIMUM.
      The Legislature’s dictionary has a different meaning than the one you or I use. Time that people understand that, has arrived.

  • Valerie Mullin

    “Rep. Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the tax will discourage people from using fossil fuels.” Maybe Ms. Sullivan, it will discourage more people from going to work. Imagine if gas prices go up again to all time highs, then add the tax on top of this? A gas tax won’t just affect Vermonter’s who are trying to get to work and home, it will affect the cost of goods brought to our state or moved by gasoline, so higher prices for pretty much everything. It will not just be the “rich” who’ll pay the price. The article does not mention what the higher price for heating oil will be. Again, all Vermonter’s will pay the cost of Montpelier’s super majority taking more and more of their income.
    http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/25/state-carbon-tax-would-raise-gas-prices-by-as-much-as-88-cents-a-gallon/#.Vi17AQEezQU.facebook

    • Jan van Eck

      Perhaps Rep. Mary Sullivan, the author of this newest version of fuels engineering, could tell us how she commutes from Burlington to Montpelier where she holds court on her energy ideas? Perhaps, she leads by example and takes the public bus?

      If not, then I would have to conclude that the purpose of her “carbon tax” is to advance a peculiarly elitist, if not Calvinist, view of external punishment upon other people, those upon whom it would inflict financial pain. Unfortunately, those people are the folks living below the poverty line, struggling to find the money just to get to some miserable job that pays nothing.

      I would posit that society is better off if you go the other way, and abolish all taxes on fuels. A tax that whacks poor people is hardly Christian.

  • Linda Gray

    Some facts to consider as you evaluate this proposal:
    – Vermonters spend $2 BILLION each year on fossil fuels, 80% goes out of state. The less we use fossil fuels, the more $$ stay in Vermont.
    – British Columbia enacted a carbon pollution tax on its own in 2008, not as part of a regional effort, and it has had good results, both environmental and economic (see http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-insidious-truth-about-bcs-carbon-tax-it-works/article19512237/)

    • Jamie Carter

      If you add a tax on to gas, vermonters are still going to spend 2B a year on fossil fuel. The part you are struggling to grasp is that people can’t sell their homes and move closer to work. The housing market hasn’t recovered and the closer you move to a city the more expensive it is to live… not to mention the LACK of housing.

      Electric Cars do not have enough range for rural VT and hybrids cost 1000’s more, not enough to financially justify the purchase IF people could afford to just up and trade in.

      • John Greenberg

        Jamie Carter:

        “The part you are struggling to grasp is that people can’t sell their homes and move closer to work.”

        But they CAN drive more efficient cars, which do NOT always cost more.

        In general, though of course not always, the cheapest cars are the smallest, which are also the most (or among the most) fuel efficient. Thanks to cheap energy policies in the US over many decades, however, Americans have generally preferred larger, less efficient cars, except when gasoline prices spike. Conversely, because of much higher gasoline prices, Europeans and Japanese buyers have generally preferred greater fuel efficiency.

        I took a look at lists of car models from Motor Trend (http://www.motortrend.com/new_cars/29/15_30/page3.html?sortOrder=VehicleJATOMsrp.min|ASC) to get a sense of what the car market looks like in 2015. A total of 707 models are listed. Motor Trend uses the following 2 categories for the cheapest ones: up to $15,000 (10 models); $15-30,000 (181 models). Together, they constitute the cheapest 27% of the models. (There are 4 more categories as the price rises).

        When you look at the cars themselves, you find that the very cheapest 10 vary in fuel consumption from 23 mpg to 34 mpg city and 31 mpg to 42 mpg highway. In today’s market, those numbers aren’t too shabby.

        The Prius C is the 41st cheapest model, meaning that 94% of the cars on the market cost more than it does. The larger Prius is 134th, putting it in the bottom 20% as well.

        I admit that this isn’t especially scientific, but barring a link to a more scientific analysis, it will have to do.

        • Jamie Carter

          John, I’m sorry but I don’t have the cash to trade in my relatively efficient car to purchase a new car. And in fact this one will have to go at least another 4 years minimum. I dare say I’m in a better position then many who are driving 10 year old cars because they can’t afford a 2015 and are going to get hit even harder then me.

          That said, if you want to buy me a Tesla then I’ll gladly accept and do my part to reduce my carbon footprint. Let me know when you want to deliver it.

          • Randy Jorgensen

            Greenberg writes:

            But they CAN drive more efficient cars, which do NOT always cost more.

            No they can’t always. Those of us with kids are pretty limited in our selection. You fit a family of 6 in a your PRIUS and come back and let us know how that goes.

          • John Greenberg

            Jamie:

            If you’re already driving a “relatively efficient car,” the why are you so concerned about the impact of a small rise in gas taxes?

            Let’s do some arithmetic, shall we? The average “new vehicle fuel efficiency” for 2013 light-duty passenger vehicles was 36mpg. http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_04_23.html. Or if you want to assume that everyone drives an average old car (11.4 years old), 30 mpg. http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_26.html_mfd

            The average miles driven per capita in Vermont is around 12,000 (http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/42000/42400/42431/Vermont_Transportation_Energy_Report.pdf, p. 17), meaning that the average Vermonter, driving the average 2-year old car will consume 333 gallons of gasoline per year, or in an 11 year old car, about 400 gallons.

            The consequence of the gasoline portion of this proposed tax will therefore be around $30-36 per year on average. By way of an affordability yardstick, the average cost of a used car was $16,000 in 2014 (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/02/18/record-used-car-prices-in-2014/23637775/), meaning that the gas tax would come to less than .2% of the cost of owning a car.

            One last point. These taxes are proposed to phase in gradually, rising each year for up to 10 years. That would suggest that the tax would get more onerous over time, and perhaps it will, but it’s important to note that American cars will be required to get over 50 mpg by 2025, so that as the tax rises, AVERAGE fuel efficiency will as well.

          • Glenn Thompson

            John Greenberg,

            “but it’s important to note that American cars will be required to get over 50 mpg by 2025, so that as the tax rises, AVERAGE fuel efficiency will as well.”

            This is going to be fun to watch….when 2025 rolls around and the automakers tell Washington the 50 mpg figure can NOT be achieved since Americans are not interested in purchasing small nor electric powered vehicles, but more than interested in buying pickup trucks and SUV’s. Since some 2016 models are already on the market….that 50 MPG figure will not be achieved in nine short years.

        • Glenn Thompson

          What John Greenberg didn’t point out, a majority of people who live paycheck to paycheck can’t even afford the cost of a new econobox! Those people will purchase a used car. I would suggest to John and others to check used car prices anywheres they want and learn that smaller cars are not necessarily the cheapest nor the best value for the money!

          FYI, as a commuter vehicle, my last new car was in 1984. Makes no sense for anyone with limited income to purchase a brand new $15-20K cheap econobox when they can spend less than that on a 3 year old vehicle that would be more enjoyable to drive and at the same time match their family’s needs! JMHO!

        • If our country is so concerned with fossil fuels then it should begin at the beginning. The government should be TAXING the car makers so they don’t make anymore vehicles that use fossil fuels, make wind and solar just as affordable as a new furnace. That way the consumers have no choice but to buy greener. Making our world greener.

      • Bill Christian

        The government cannot and should not do this. WE must take care of ourselves and our earth for our children. If we care. Government just makes rules to guide us. Final choice is ours. That’s why carbon tax is such a good idea.

    • Tom Sullivan

      Hey Linda,

      Australia also enacted a carbon tax, and it didn’t work out very well for them as they repealed it last year.

    • John McClaughry

      Two facts about the BC carbon tax. One, the nearest tax jurisdiction in Canada (Alberta) is 600 miles from where people live in BC . BC people don’t cross that border for cheaper gas and diesel. By contrast, sponsor David Deen’s town is abut 1/4 mile from Walpole in low-tax NH.
      Two, the BC carbon tax turned out to be revenue-negative in 2012-2013 – the tax rate cuts exceeded the carbon tax proceeds by C$260 million – so it was popular with those who enjoyed more cuts than increases. You can bet the Vermont legislature won’t make that mistake!

  • Michael Nadeau

    To all who have commented out of genuine concern, I applaud you for speaking your mind. Forums like these are democracy at its core. But to be constructive, we must listen to each other with an open mind (and open heart). I am one of the “poor” referenced in some of these comments, and can therefore appreciate the views of those who oppose this type of legislation. On the surface, and without much research, it can sound quite scary; dare I say downright dumb; just another hare-brained idea of the privileged class. But I am not ignorant, so I must consider all the relevant facts.
    To begin with, the headline immediately puts the reader up in arms. There are many ways this discussion could have been framed other than to jump ahead 10 years and blast the $.88 cents/gallon banner. The proposed carbon fee wouldn’t even begin until 2018, and even then only at $.09/gallon. At the current rate of climate change, we’ll be lucky to even see 2028 at the $.88 surcharge, assuming there is even any oil or gas to buy!
    The way I see it, so much will have changed by 2028 that the communities who have taken the most proactive steps towards efficiency, investing the most in renewable energy infrastructure, will be far ahead of the others. Vermonters will reap the rewards from this forward thinking.
    So for those of you who jumped so quickly to bash this legislation, I encourage you to visit Energy Independent Vermont’s website, read the REMI report and look into what British Columbia has been doing for nearly a decade. Just Google it and read. This is a time to educate ourselves, not build fences to hide behind.
    I commend Laura Mistretta, Dotty Kyle, and Elizabeth Parker for your intelligent, heartfelt comments. And to the rest of the poor folks out there like me, struggling to make ends meet, I urge you to read more about this topic. If you want your lives, and the lives of your fellow Vermonters to improve, we must act smarter, not harder, toward a more rational, intelligent future.

    • Bob Stannard

      Well said

    • Eileen Foster

      The arrogance of reasoning that it’s “only $.09/gallon” is the core distinction.

      For many Vermonters that “$.09/gallon” is a meaningful expense. Peter Miller, a phenomenal photographer who has chronicled life in Vermont, shared what is in my opinion one of the finest editorials ever published on VtDigger. Every legislator should read it.

      Imagine the impact of “$.09/gallon” on the many Vermonters who share Peter Miller’s experience.

      http://vtdigger.org/2014/03/26/peter-miller-cold-weather-hard-state/

      Considering the fact that Vermont’s “Green Energy Plan” will have absolutely zero impact on global warming, this proposed carbon tax is an absurd burden to place on struggling Vermonters.

    • Neil Johnson

      It’s called bait and switch, puppy dog sale.

      Pass a feel good law now, have all the penalties latter on, such that it’ s done when, I’m out of office.

      They did it for ACT 60, the Affordable Care act (you’ll notice all the big taxes occur after President Obama is out of office. They scheduled it 8 years after enactment, it wasn’t a mistake!)

      It’s the no money down deal buying a car, free payments for the first 3 months….to a person who can’t afford it.

      How about we allow folks to buy fuel efficient cars, we allow manufacturers to make them. That might be a help. NOT everyone can afford or wants to spend their money on a Tesla

    • Bill Christian

      Thank you.

  • Dave Bellini

    Ten cents per gallon in 2018 it is still an added cost that will escalate. Working Vermonters cannot afford this. We are finally seeing some temporary relief from high gas prices but gas prices are volatile. In 2018 gasoline and heating fuel may be much higher. I think the representatives underestimate the difficulty many Vermonters have regarding “choice.” Many Vermonters can’t afford new or electric cars, solar panels, a new furnace, new windows, more insulation, etc.
    These things are not optional for many. Deliberately, making gasoline and heating oil more expensive is unjust to people forced to rely on them. I wish everyone could afford organic, locally grown food too but reality is different. Should we put a special tax on food purchased at the Dollar store, Shaws and the Price Chopper ??
    It’s the same thing. Should we force everyone to shop at City Market and Hunger Mountain Coop ?

  • Clarke Comollo

    While China , Russia, India etc.spout thousands of ton tons of emissions in the air every day we in V to pay a higher tax to compensate for their excesses. Are you insane? Get out and visit the real world. You may sell your own car if that makes you feel better.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cow-emissions-more-damaging-to-planet-than-co2-from-cars-427843.html

    • John Greenberg

      Clarke Comolo:

      “While China , Russia, India etc.spout thousands of ton tons of emissions in the air every day we in V to pay a higher tax to compensate for their excesses.”

      “China will boost the tax on gasoline, naphtha, solvent oil and lubricating oil by 0.12 yuan a liter, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Finance’s website yesterday. The levy on diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil will increase by 0.14 yuan a liter. The new levels are effective starting today. [11/28/2014]” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-11-28/china-to-increase-fuel-tax-to-curb-pollution-carbon-emissions

      “New Delhi has raised the excise duty on petrol and diesel as it struggles to fund ambitious infrastructure development plans while meeting tough fiscal deficit targets for the current financial year.

      The basic excise taxes on the fuels have been raised by Rs2 per litre as of Friday, the third increase since November, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi uses the recent drop in global oil prices to put Asia’s third-largest economy in order.” [1/2/15] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b4338b70-9258-11e4-b213-00144feabdc0.html

      “Get out and visit the real world. “

      • Randy Jorgensen

        Greenberg writes:

        http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b4338b70-9258-11e4-b213-00144feabdc0.html is behind a wall or a bad link.

        “China will boost the tax on gasoline, naphtha, solvent oil and lubricating oil by 0.12 yuan a liter”

        Yes, they they will at the same time the government CUT prices of gasoline and diesel.

        “The retail prices of gasoline and diesel will be cut by 180 yuan and 230 yuan per tonne after taking the higher tax into consideration, the National Development and Reform Commission announced in a separate statement.

        This the 12th retail fuel prices cut since July 2014, as the government reacts to lower global crude oil prices.”

        http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2015-01/12/c_133913905_2.htm

        The state of Vermont doesn’t have the luxury of controlling fuel prices, thankfully.

        So your premise is, that fuel prices are currently low and the state should seize the moment and implement a carbon tax when the consumers guard is down? Much like the Chinese government has done 6 times in a 12 month period?

        • John Greenberg

          Randy:

          Financial Times is behind a paywall, but you can read the article for free (or at least I just did) by cutting and pasting the quotes I provided into Google and then going to the article.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      Clarke,

      Locally speaking there is no money to made curbing cow emissions in Vermont. The Progressive elitists aren’t interesting in it.

    • Bill Christian

      China and India are working extremely hard to reduce their carbon emissions. Extremely hard.

  • Craig Powers

    Another poorly thought out idea from those in Montpelier who think VT should be the world leader in solving every problem.

    Climate change will not even be dented by VT’s teeny footprint and its population will suffer economically.

    This reminds me of another reckless and poorly thought out folly…Shumlin’s single payer pipe dream.

    Are there any good candidates out there to run against Sullivan, Deen and Pearson? Remember how good old Mike Fisher was vanquished after his stewardship of the single payer fiasco?

  • Jeffrey D. Marshall

    As a progressive who supports the goal of reducing carbon emissions, I have just two words for this proposal: utter madness. Oh, two more words: political suicide.

    • Bill Christian

      I am extremely proud of the sponsors of this bill. Politics at its finest. Doing what is actually right for the future of our children. So much easier to just do what’s easy and lazy and ignore the consequences.

  • Bradford Little

    Even if every argument in favor of this kind of legislation were valid, if ONLY Vermont takes this kind of approach, then Vermont ( residents, part time residents ,visitors, and businesses ) WILL indeed pay a steep price and see no physical return. Passing such legislation for a “feel good about doing something” reason is another exercise in idealistic ignorance of fact.

  • John Grady

    If higher prices would eliminate consumption it should have happened when gasoline and heating oil was pushing $4.00 a gallon.

    Back around 2000 fuel was around $1.00 a gallon so we have already had years of higher fuel prices and no drop off in consumption.

    Their goal is more poverty because they know poor people use less energy.

    They want to destroy the middle class while having no plans at all to crimp their own lifestyles or else they would be aiming to shut down airports, ski slopes and other wasteful high energy users. The Stowe & Aspen Jet Set Ski Bunnies aren’t going to crimp their own lifestyles and target horse farms and country estates or apply a McMansion tax on excessive square foot housing.

    What Vermont should be doing is cutting schools spending over 50% and using part of the savings to replace obsolete old housing with small energy efficient housing and give tax breaks to owners of energy efficient vehicles and raise the registration fee’s on energy hog vehicles.

    They should be lobbying for sin taxes on entertainment, frozen food and other things that waste energy.

    It’s evident their plan is to drive the middle class out of Vermont and they don’t care how much suffering they cause in the process.

    I’ve made tons of home improvements to reduce my energy use to save money. No government help received so the programs don’t help the working class. They are just for show and don’t do much.

    http://heatsquad.org/testimonials/

    One elderly woman probably living by herself reduced her heating cost from $6,000 to $4,000 which is insane. The house needs to be torn down if that is the best that can be done. She still uses over 5 times as much energy as I do to heat her house.

    A Carbon tax will have little effect on me, I use pellets and wood and don’t drive much. It’s going to crush the working class and either the Carbon Phobia Cult knows it and doesn’t care or they are financially ignorant and believe the hype by their Cult leaders that would wipe out most of the human race like a ant hill without a second thought because they are revolted by human over population hurting nature.

    It’s just another version of Jim Jones and his cult members. A crazy guy with a vision and a bunch of dreamers willing to blindly believe the guy had the answer.

    Yes Vermont should become more efficient to improve the quality of life for it’s most vulnerable residents. The numbers on Medicaid, EITC, free school lunch & Food Stamps is horrible and the GREEN Cult lies about the state of the economy while tons of people live in poverty in Vermont.

    • Dev Martin

      Most of those who “followed” Jim Jones were injected and not with cyanide and many were instead shot from behind. Prior to that they were held against their will….

    • Bill Christian

      Gasoline usage DID drop, a LOT, when gas passed 4 dollars. Sales of SUVs and pickups tanked. Sedans made a big come-back every ad mentioned MPG. Now, with gas near 2 dollars, it has reversed to its former state, and MPG has disappeared, because, “who cares”. Fact. Not a great many facts in these comments and not a lot of caring about the future. My truck is not as important as the lives of my great grandchildren. Maybe because my butt isn’t extremely wide.

  • Bob Stannard

    Based on the number of negative comments posted here it should be pretty clear that we, as stewards of this planet, stand little hope of success in dealing with climate change.

    Not to worry, though. The planet will right itself at some point. Its inhabitants will, one day soon, wish that they had taken action to keep the planet from doing so.

    • Elizabeth Parker

      Bob, Well said!

    • Jamie Carter

      Bob you are exactly right. The planet will right itself at some point. That’s exactly the way the world works. Every year thousands of species go extinct and another one evolves to take their place. Someday humans will to, allowing a more intelligent species to take over. Who are we to think we are then end all be all and that we can somehow stop climate change and evolution and create a static world where we are the top species, and moreover why would we?

    • But Bob, perhaps you missed the story… in the past few weeks both Chris Recchia and Asa Hopkins of the PSD have both admitted that Vermont’s energy policy has nothing to do with global warming. Fixing climate change is not the goal. We are not even interested in influencing other states/countries.

      http://watchdog.org/243691/energy-plan-not-about-global-warming/?utm_source=hoot&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=ss

    • Bill Christian

      It may not be as bad as it seems, Bob. Online commenting brings out the very most ignorant amoung us. Um, that said, I guess I’ll sign out. 🙂

  • fred moss

    Carbon Tax??????

    Who do I send the bill to for the 4 acres of trees that I own?? If the Government can make stuff up, and YES global warming is a giant hoax, then I want someone to pay me for the trees I support that scrub the air.

  • jason wells

    Thank god I live on the NH border!!!! Did this plan not fail in a big way last session??

  • Kim Fried

    Bob Standard, you’re right and you can take a good share of the blame for polarizing many concerned and dedicated citizens with you’re constant name calling and redundant preaching which supports nearly every thought that comes out of Monteplier. It appears that you are finally realizing this based on your comment above. Good.
    Let’s try solving our=Vermont environmental problems by getting Vermonter=citizens involved rather than having these “who ever they are” legislators make every decision based on saving the world, rather than thinking of the welfare of the citizens they “represent”.

  • Linus Leavens

    Who benefits from the monetization of carbon? The elites who have prepositioned their investments in carbon trading, carbon sequestration, & climateer profiteering. Not Vermonters. Not We the People .

    • Bill Christian

      Who benefits from not running out of fossil fuels, and not seriously and permanently altering the atmosphere? Not you, not me. Our great grandchildren. Do we care about them? I hope so.

  • Randy Jorgensen

    Based on that presumption Bob, you would support NOT increasing the federal borrowing limit so we as good fiscal stewards don’t pass that burden onto our children as future inhabitants of this country. Those children whom have NO say on the matter.

    Or does being a good “steward” not go both ways? Perhaps only when it fits your retired political agenda?

  • Willi Waizenegger

    “Eonomists say the tax is a preferred method of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and legislators say they’ve included measures to counteract the regressive nature of the tax.”

    It’s also the prefered way to help bankrupt small businesses that depend on getting around the state. Do we really need to drive even more businesses out of state? Seriously, is raising taxes the only thing the state’s super majority knows how to do? Is that really the only thing in their skill set?

    And then they scratch their heads wondering why our talented kids don’t come back here after college is done.

  • Eric Brattstrom

    Many economists would agree that our system (capitalism), in its present form, cannot combat climate change because environmental pollution is almost never reflected in the cost of goods. An obvious solution to the conundrum is a nation-wide carbon pollution tax. For years, independents like Vermont’s own Senator Sanders and Republicans like former Congressman Bob Inglis have been proponents of taxing fossil fuels – because they externalize their pollution costs on the public. They propose returning the revenue raised to people and businesses and helping people make investments in clean energy and conservation measures. Clean energy jobs are solid, good jobs, as has been shown right here in Vermont.

    In his book “Capitalism & Freedom” the guru of free market capitalism, Milton Friedman, dismisses air pollution damage casually calling it “neighborhood effects”. But whether in the form of acid rain or CO2, this is serious stuff – nothing to be flippant about. In truth, the proposed carbon pollution tax would have a “neighborhood effect”; in the good, local jobs created. Putting a fair price on the pollution from fossil fuel, taking away the subsidies, and reallocating those revenues to good use is a win-win situation for all.

    Several states are exploring a policy that would impose an in-state carbon pollution tax. Vermont is one of them, along with MA, RI, WA, and OR. Vermont legislators who are willing to analyze this proven, market-based mechanism deserve our support for their efforts.

    To again quote Milton Friedman, “It is hard to know when [environmental pollution] …effects are sufficiently large to justify particular costs in overcoming them and even harder to distribute the costs in an appropriate fashion”. Taxing carbon is working well elsewhere, from British Columbia to Sweden. Vermont can, with citizen support, also realize the benefits of such a forward-looking policy. This non-regressive fee and dividend will help fight greenhouse gas pollution and energize our economy. EnergyIndependentVermont.org describes this effort in detail.

    The effect of carbon pollution has been discussed by scientists since 1896. Presidents as far back as LBJ were warned about global warming by their science advisors. Few Presidents took action and when they did, subsequent Presidents rescinded their decisions. Here in Vermont we have seen three 500 year storms in just 11 years. It will take tens of thousands of years to bring CO2 pollution back to an acceptable 350 parts per million. Many species will pay by extinction. In the meantime we must show true courage and act morally, for we do share this planet with a couple of billion other species.

    A carbon pollution tax is a simple and fair way to make polluters pay and provide the money for people to adjust. 90% of the fees will go back to those who need help the most. The proposed legislation makes sense to those who do their homework and set aside the scare tactics of those who profit from business as usual.

  • Ken Swierad

    All I can say is we sure have a lot of “nut cases”in Montpelier!!!
    Tax, Tax, Tax, enough, cut as any sane person would do when money is tight. I see where Medicaid is 38 million in the hole, but we can find the funds while we are way LOW in the gas tax revenue, so we will have to raise some taxes?? Why can we find money for one and not the other? CRAZY!!!!!!!!

  • Mark Moore

    I’m interested in the calculations on this:

    “Ninety percent of the revenue generated by the carbon tax would be used to cut other taxes, Sullivan said.

    The remaining 20 percent of revenue would pay for energy-saving measures such as improved home insulation and infrastructure for public transportation.”

    Wish I could allocate 110% of my revenue!

    • Townsend Peters

      Sullivan’s bill has 90 percent cutting other taxes and 10 percent going to programs. Digger got it wrong.

      • Cate Chant

        That is what the VTDigger story reports. The 10 percent figure has been corrected. — Cate Chant, VTDigger

    • Kati Gallagher

      Just to clarify, that’s not how the policy is written- it’s a mistake on the part of the reporter.

      • Actually we had it right all along. Commenters have misread the story …

        • Mark Moore

          If you were correct, why the change?

        • Glenn Thompson

          I understood the article just fine!

          From the article,

          “Ninety percent of the revenue generated by the carbon tax would be used to cut other taxes, Sullivan said.”

          “The remaining 10 percent of revenue would pay for energy-saving measures such as improved home insulation and infrastructure for public transportation.”

          First point, this is a great example of “wealth redistribution”. Those who travel a long distance to their jobs or need a vehicle for their jobs, and those independent business owners who delivery products to stores, etc, get crucified under this proposal.

          Second point, the taxes on fossil fuels, are paid upfront by the consumer. Money out of their pocket *immediately*. The so-called benefits of the other 10% can not be realized immediately. And how long will it take to get public transportation to find its way into rural areas of the state?

          This proposal is pure madness! No other way to describe it!

    • John Greenberg

      Mark Moore:

      Two bills are discussed in the article. The Sullivan-Dean bill uses 90% to cut other revenues; the Pearson bill uses 80%. Obviously, in the Sullivan bill, only 10% remains, whereas in the Pearson bill, 20% remains.

  • Mark Keefe

    “It’s a tax concept I certainly believe in: Tax bad things and try to get people to move away from these things,” Sullivan said. “You do bring in revenue, but you also reduce the impact to society that carbon emissions have. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to see the change this bill would bring about.”
    Bravo Mary Sullivan, I am one of those people. I hope to see all legislators who support this bill change over in the next election.

  • Jodi Lathrop

    Easy solution. Vote in a Governor that will refuse to sign the bill. This legislation is a another nail in the coffin of the wood products industry, agriculture, developers/home builders/excavators. The economy will slow to a grinding halt.
    You can’t make electricity, wood pellets, biomass wood chips or many other products without burning diesel fuel. To tax it more and more will just drive out competition and cause monopolies to form and when this happens the price of everything will sky rocket. Good plan Montpelier,good to see the plan to ruin free enterprise just like you folks did with healthcare and insurance! Legislation with no education will bankrupt this state!

    • Jan van Eck

      Reader Lathrop’s observation that the tax on liquid fuels will be a “nail in the coffin” of various industries is not totally accurate. Something else will take place.

      Specifically, the wood pellets and biomass chips business will migrate to Maine. Home builders will migrate to New Hampshire – and people will commute from there to remaining VT jobs, using lower-taxed NH fuels. Agriculture will migrate to Indiana.

      These economic industries will not be in “the coffin.” They will flow to where the input components naturally allow them to function, if not flourish. It will not be taking place in Vermont, that’s all. That is the price you will pay for doing your “carbon tax.” So go ahead and do it, as long as you understand the consequences.

      Before I get pounced on for being a Neanderthal bent on climate destruction, I would remind readers that I manufacture electric commuter bicycles – precisely what folks would buy if liquid fuels were unavailable or so expensive that an alternative was obligatory. Add five bucks a gallon to the price of gasoline and I will sell lots of bicycles. That said, I would shudder to put my economic success on the backs of theories of compulsion. Eliminate all fuels taxes and let the market decide what people want. Fine by me. Happy to compete in that environment.

      • John Greenberg

        “Specifically, the wood pellets and biomass chips business will migrate to Maine.”

        Why would they do that if the market for their product in Vermont expanded?

        Yes, producing wood pellets requires some use of fossil fuels, but if fossil fuels are taxed, it is probable that at least some homeowners, currently using fossil fuels for heat, will switch to wood pellets, which because they would not be taxed would obtain a competitive advantage (at least relative to un-taxed pricing).

        Intuitively, at least, the increase in revenues due to the switch caused by the tax would more than offset the small increase in production costs.

        Indeed, intuitively, the precise opposite should occur: businesses producing non-fossil products will migrate TO Vermont, not from it.

        • Jan van Eck

          I should know better than to attempt to respond to anything John Greenberg writes, but here into the Valley of Death I go:

          The wood pelletizing business will flow to Maine because the business is capital intensive. Larger plants will provide greater economies of scale, and that is where that industry is headed. You then need a large market to absorb the output. Wood pellets are in demand in Europe, and Maine has a number of deep-water ports that specialized chip-carry ships can dock at: Portland, Searsburg.

          You also need economies of scale in collecting the wood. Maine has historical advantages in that, including rail lines set up to haul wood, and the land nearer the rivers is flat enough for both rail and lower-cost trucking. Maine has a lower net wage rate, and low-cost hydropower, that surplus capacity coming from the closure of their pulp mills. Both wood chips, wood pellets, and torrefied wood products are the logical beneficiaries of these factors. You also end up with quite a bit of wood shavings and other cut material from the lumber industry. That becomes a feedstock for wood chips (assuming preferred pellets come from hardwoods, only those slash products would be targets for the pellet industry).

          A further developing market is hydraulically compressed discs of softwood shavings or sawdust, that end up the size of hockey pucks. Again this machinery is capital-intensive and you end up with economies of scale when you have a market to absorb the output; Europe is an established market for pucks.

          Vermont is a relatively small market; it does not support a wood pellet industry with the economies of scale you will get in Maine. Since there are good rail lines from any plants located there, the costs of shipping in finished pellets would end up less than local producers can price-point at, so the local industry would take a hit. While you can see some industrial boilers being converted, at great expense, over to pellets, particularly down in your neck of the woods (Windham County) compliments of free cash handed over by Entergy, that picture is not so rosy in the rest of the State. For the individual homeowner, coming up with a $3,000 hit to buy a pellet stove, then another $3,000 hit to install it and new chimney work, is just not in the budget: poor Vermonters do not have either the capital or the credit to handle any conversions, at least not on any great scale.

          Remembering that Vermont bankers are notoriously conservative, I foresee no groundswell of bankers lining up to finance heating system conversions to wood pellets. It also means that older people – and VT has lots of older people – would now have to go manage a pellet stove. Considering the stuff come in by 50-lb bags, that again is an obstacle. It is not logical to conclude that large numbers of homes are going to switch over to pellets simply because the cost of heating oil, or propane, is shovelled upstairs. Net result: most Vermonters will continue to burn oil for heat, and will be paying a tax with residual discretionary dollars that they do not have. In short: the poor become destitute.

          Not a particularly Christian approach, in my view.

          • John Greenberg

            Jan Van Eck:

            Most of your response has no relevance at all to the proposed Vermont carbon tax under discussion here.

            In your last 2 paragraphs, you talk about the “great expense” of “industrial boilers being converted,” but simply ignore the fact that some industrial users will either need new systems (new construction) while others will have to replace old ones. This law would provide a bit of an incentive to choose wood over oil.

            Similarly, if the argument in your last paragraph were correct, there would be no wood pellet stoves in Vermont. Clearly, some folks ARE using them, and the new law would simply provide a bit more incentive for this option.

          • Willem Post

            Jan,
            Wood pellets are being exported from the US Southeast to Europe.

            A study was made of the CO2 emission/kWh. It turns out it is about 12 lb/kWh from forest to exhaust in the UK.

            Making pellets is notoriously energy intensive, and then shipping them to the UK, etc, makes it worse.

            Here is an excerpt from this article. I hope it will be posted on VTDigger:
            http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2225851/economics-and-co2-emissions-montpelier-district-heating-plant

            THE TRAVESTY OF US SOUTHEAST WOOD PELLET EXPORTS TO EUROPE

            A 2013 study, published in Environmental Research Letters, analyzed the CO2 equivalent emissions of exporting wood pellets from the US Southeast to the UK.

            A breakdown of the biomass lifecycle, according to GHG emissions, is as follows:
            See Table 4, which shows 5 of the 7 CO2 emissions components.

            – Pellet production accounts for about 48%
            – Shipping the pellets across the Atlantic Ocean accounts for about 31%
            – Burning the pellets accounts for about 10%*

            * Emissions due to combustion are about 1.8 kg of CO2/kg of pellets, or 1.8 lb CO2/lb of pellets.

            That means the A to Z process of getting wood from the forest, turning it into pellets, transporting the pellets from the US to power plants in the UK, and burning the pellets, would release about 1.8/0.1 = 18 kg of CO2/kg of pellets.

            If the power production is at an efficiency of 30%, then 7,750 Btu/lb of pellets x 2.2 lb/kg x 0.30/(3,413 Btu/kWh) = 1.5 kWh/kg of pellets would be produced, or 18/1.5 = 12 kg of CO2/kWh for the A to Z process, if CO2 sequestering by regrowth would be ignored.

            EVENTUALLY, 100% sequestering would, at the very most, offset about 2 of the 12 kg!!! Such an environmentally harmful way of having the UK, Germany, etc., meet their EU CO2 obligations should not even be allowed to exist by EU rules, and the US should not be aiding and abetting. However, some folks are making money.

            This is a far worse boondoggle than the US corn-to-ethanol program, which, on an A to Z basis, is about CO2-emission neutral, but is derided by the EU.

            http://www.forgreenheat.org/issues/docs/TomdeHaan.pdf
            http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/287061/us-corn-ethanol-program

            The US Southeast exported to Europe about 1,650,000 ton and 3,250,000 ton of wood pellets in 2012 and 2013, respectively; likely 5.7 million ton in 2015.

            See URL, with photos, regarding the unsustainable clear cutting of US Southeast forests to enable Germany, UK, etc., to meet the EU CO2 emissions standards, because the EU declared biomass emissions to be CO2-free!! Germany, the UK, etc., are co-firing the pellets in their coal-fired power plants!!
            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/16/3644889/woody-biomass-is-thicket-of-trouble/

            In the US Southeast many forests are managed. It takes about 20 – 25 years from harvest to harvest; in Maine about 35 – 40 years. One may wonder how long it would take to deplete the soil to significantly affect crop yields. If 3,250,000 ton were exported in 2013 (a lot more was harvested but not exported), that would be 1,300,000 cords/yr of wood being cut from a given area, and a same area being planted that has just been cut, etc. That means about 20 – 25 such areas are in various growth phases at any point in time; more area if more tonnage is exported.

      • Doug Hoffer

        “Eliminate all fuels taxes and let the market decide what people want.”

        It is the failure of the market to account for the immense and destructive external impacts of fossil fuels that got us into this mess. The “market” is not really suited to solving such problems.

        • Jan van Eck

          Not at all. The market has been savagely distorted by governmental action.

          Specifically, after WWII various regulatory bodies kept electric street-car and electric inter-urban fares arbitrarily low. With rapid inflation, the streetcar companies instantly ran in the red, and folded. You used to be able to travel by inter-urban from Iowa to Maine, on interconnecting cars. Those souped-up trolleys routinely ran at 95 mph. I have actually operated one of these antique machines on a museum track, and can assure you they were fabulous machines.

          Government policy built vast road networks, including the Iterstates, but more tellingly “parkways” around major cities, including NY, DC, Baltimore,all which made auto travel rapid and convenient. By interfering in the market with vast federal dollars, the government distorted the development of the market. Had government units not done so, we still would have fast, comfortable electric inter-urban cars running everywhere,as they do in Europe.

          I remind readers that the Berlin-Zoessen Trolley ran at 125 mph. That was in 1903.

          I appreciate that Mr. Hoffer is a disbeliever in the market as an organic regulator of economic activity. I rather suspect it comes from a lifetime spent in various Government jobs, which tends to provide a somewhat distorted view of how the world works. That said, I invite him to explain to the masses how his background grants him unique insights into the functioning of an unregulated market. Cheers to all.

          • David Bell

            The market has utterly failed to regulate nearly every major environmental crisis or significant health crisis seen over the past few decades.

            Government regulations were the only thing to curb smoking, pollution causing acid rain, use of chemicals that have caused ozone depletion or CO2 emissions.

            Show me a list of countries whose unregulated capitalistic markets have resulted in the curbing of negative externalities associated with pollution.

          • Doug Hoffer

            You “rather suspect”? You could easily check my bio, which would tell you that I have spent exactly 7.5 years in government service (5 municipal and 2.5 state). I am 64 so that is hardly “a lifetime.”

            Moreover, your inference that only those working in the private sector can truly understand markets is challenged by those who brought us the Great Recession.

            My view about the market’s inability to account for the massive and destructive externalities caused by fossil fuels is shared by most economists, so they are not really new or “unique insights” that I need to justify. As to that, I don’t recall asking you to justify your qualifications to express your opinion; I simply responded to your statement.

          • William Hays

            I believe our trolley system, and, to a lesser extent, the interurbans fell victims of the cabal of General Motors, Firestone Tires, and Standard Oil, and a few smaller entities, under the guise of “National City Lines”. They bought up the over-taxed trolley systems, for a song, junked them, and substituted buses, made by GM, running on Firestones, and fueled by Standard Oil. They were found guilty of ‘restraint of trade’, or somesuch, and paid a ~$2,000.00 fine!

        • John McClaughry

          I agree that harmful externalities from fossil fuel combustion need to be accounted for. That’s why we make fossil fuel plants install scrubbers and use lower sulfur coal. That’s because coal burning gives us SO2 acid rain and other respiratory assaults (as well as environmental damage from coal mining).
          However CO2 is not a harmful externality. It is, basically, plant food, which is why hothouse operators enrich the inside atmosphere with CO2 to get more value from their crops.
          There is no scientific proof that the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 3 molecules per 10,000 to 4 molecules per 10,000 has had any detectable effect on climate.

          • John Greenberg

            John McClaughry:

            These proposed laws would largely impact oil, natural gas and coal as well as their derivatives. In addition to sulphur oxides, all of fuels also emit nitrogen oxides, which are also acknowledged toxins. Accordingly, your own logic suggests that you should support the law since, in your words: “harmful externalities from fossil fuel combustion need to be accounted for.” In other words, we do not need to debate the merits of the greenhouse gas theory in order to support these bills.

          • Bill Christian

            Most intelligent people disagree with you. “I’m not a climate scientist” but tripling the fourth-largest component of our atmosphere, bringing it permanently up to a level that last existed before mammals existed (not just humans), when the world was a steaming tropical swamp… maybe it’ll be okay, but what if it ain’t, as seems very likely?

  • Homer Sulham

    If anyone thinks the poor or middle class will benefit from this has never learned anything from the past.

  • Irene Stewart

    After reading the column and many comments written by some who drank the ‘kool aid” , I truly believe that this carbon tax will NOT be voted in by the Vermont Legislature. Why? Businesses will close. Tourists will NOT come to Vermont. People who currently have to commute one hour or more to get to work five days a week, will decide to stay home, go on welfare, food stamps, LIHEAP, Medicaid, etc., and it will cost the State of Vermont millions of dollars in lost revenue, and more in tax revenues to support them all. Many, many houses will be on the market and will not be sold even for their assessed valuation. Will all those that commute to Chittenden County daily, from Washington County, Orange County, Addison County, Lamoille County, Franklin County, be able to afford a home in Burlington and its suburbs, comparable to what they currently have in these counties? The column says that burning wood would be a great alternative to oil. Really? Seniors in the 80’s and 90’s should be stacking wood, carrying wood into their homes, keeping fire going night and day to keep warm? Apartments on the third or fourth floor of old homes should have some old wood stove installed and be burning wood? What are you thinking of? The answer is: you do not think. You drink the “kool aid” and think that the sales tax will be reduced.
    You think that your houses will be equipped with foam insulation, new windows, new siding, and that it will all be paid for with a new tax. Any legislator that votes for this preposterous off the wall idea this coming winter, will certainly not be back there the following year, after the election. VT cannot reduce anything alone. Do it nationally, devote your time to a national campaign, but VT cannot afford to go it alone. Have you ever seen taxes cut here? No, they only go up. Dream on, kool aid lovers.

  • Ralph Colin

    Proposers of this carbon tax have one objective in mind: establishing a new record to go into the Guinness Book.

    First state to have no residents at all!

  • William Hays

    Wow! Even the Dems and Progs agree it’s ‘do-able’: lowering the sales tax! Let’s join our neighbors in NH and reduce it to zero! Nada; nichivo nil; nunca; nic; nul, et al. Maybe the New Hampshireites would shop in Vermont!

  • Rich Lachapelle

    This taxation proposal with a “rebate” for low income folks will mimic our present property tax structure with it’s rebate system. This allows people who can show ON PAPER a “low income” to skirt the tax like the trust-funders and independently wealthy do now with their property taxes.

    The environmental benefits will be negligible.
    The economic and social devastation will be enormous. This is one more step by the DemoProgs to turn Vermont into a theme park for the rich and those who can use creative accounting to live large and pretend to be “low income”.

    Elections have consequences…

  • Peter Gregg

    This topic has certainly sparked a lively debate. I am adding my two cents: 1. Do our legislators get reimbursed for their travel and lodging? If so, the increased carbon tax cost will be passed on to taxpayers; 2. How will this added carbon tax impact farmers? Can I expect to pay more for my Vermont-produced foods?; 3. will hospitals and doctor offices pass this added carbon tax to my health care costs?; 4. what will projected impacts be to the tourism business? 5. will the added carbon tax fee be added to lift tickets for our major winter revenue stream? If so, this might deter locals from buying their season ticket and out-of-staters deciding to go to NH where the tickets could be lower for both skiing and lodging. 6. can I expect to pay more for out-going flight tickets as a result of passing this carbon tax on to consumers? 7. how will this impact our education costs? If you live in a sending town can you expect to pay more education tax as a result of an added carbon tax? And how can a spending cap on education costs be realized if our legislators continue to add taxes that increase education costs? Finally, has the trickle down impact to tax payers been fully investigated? It needs to be.

    • Zach Berger

      The concerns that are being brought up in the comments are completely understandable. However, the impact of a carbon pollution tax on our economy and co2 emissions in Vermont has been researched extensively.

      Here are the results:

      Overview:
      http://www.energyindependentvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Explainer_Economic-Benefits_final.pdf

      Full REMI Report:
      http://www.energyindependentvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/REMI_Final.pdf

      The facts are in. This is something that will improve our economy, create jobs in Vermont that cannot be outsourced, make it affordable for Vermonters to make the gradual transition to renewable energy, and also drastically reduce our co2 emissions.

      • Craig Powers

        Yeah…and going to Single Payer health care was going to save us $500 million and greatly improve the delivery of it….until it wasn’t!

      • Jan van Eck

        Unfortunately, Mr. Berger, the “carbon pollution tax,” or, perhaps named more realistically, the oil-products tax, will not “Improve the economy and create jobs.” Sadly, such a tax will simply make Vermonters poorer. To improve the economy and create jobs, the better solution is to eliminate the motor fuels (and heating fuels) tax altogether. I appreciate that this is heresy, but here is why:

        Liquid fuels use is mostly a constant (yes, you need more heating oil in a cold winter, but not to haggle. Most winters pretty much require a constant amount of heating oil.) Raising the price of motor fuels by taxing more does nothing to encourage more fuel efficient auto production. The reason is that new autos are not built for the average person, and assuredly not for the poor person. Only one car sale in five in the US is of a new auto; the rest are various hand-me-downs as the auto gets older.

        Who buys a new auto? People with cash, or people with credit – those in the upper quintile of earnings and wealth. The rest buy “used cars,” ranging from two-year-old trade-ins to 20-year-old clunkers. If only the upper quintile are customers, then the auto builders compete with features that those buyers want – power seats, heated seats, GPS systems, fancy sound systems, tilt steering wheels, and big engines with turbos for fast driving. Fuel economy is emphatically not high on that list – ever.

        And the reason is that, for the affluent, motor fuel is not the big expense. Depreciation is. And they don’t much care about that, either! To no surprise, the most profitable vehicles built in the US are the half-ton pickups and whatever uses that chassis – beasts like the Excursion and the Suburban. Yes, the auto builders also offer econoboxes with great mileage numbers, but remember, they are forced to do that by Government edict – the CAFE requirement, or “Corporate Average Fuel Economy” number. On those econoboxes, the builders earn zero. They get built solely to meet the numbers. And to no surprise, neither sturdiness nor longevity are prime considerations for the econobox. (So if you buy one, you still do not get your money’s worth).

        To avoid getting a money-pit, your used car buyer ends up with a used version of the offerings built for the affluent. He ends up burning the fuel that the affluent guy would burn, but does not care ab out. You increase his price with a carbon tax, all you are doing is taking cash out of the poor-boy’s pocket, and you are not accomplishing anything else – because the auto builder has never built a high-mileage auto that has longevity with low maintenance costs. Does not exist.

        If you eliminate the tax, you do not change the fuels use much; nobody goes driving around just for the sake of burning up fuel. What you will do, is put more cash into the pockets of the poorer guys, the ordinary working stiffs. You also create some service-sector jobs by enticing drivers from border States that pay taxed fuels, to come over and shop in Vermont.

        If you are concerned about reducing CO2 emissions, or anything else in the combustion process, then it makes much more sense to put some cash together to buy up very old trucks and old school buses and scrap them. A pre-1985 diesel commercial vehicle can have 100% opacity in exhaust and still pass. You do not need to take many of these off the road to equal the entire production run of the new stuff. Since those old rigs are fully depreciated, they are very cheap to buy and scrap. That has the greatest impact of all.

        Finally, for those of you with a more global outlook, I invite you to think in terms of building new water-bomber aircraft to deal with those monster wildfires out west. These could be built in say Springfield (or even Burlington if you could take over those F-35 hangars) and sell them to the US Forest Service for $50 million a clip. Fabulous and expanding product line, but you do need to scrounge up some risk capital to set up shop.
        Lots of pollution from big monster forest fires.

        PS: I predict that the old-truck-scrapping scenario will be how the VW imbroglio will end up. Nobody is going to spend billions to retrofit all those cars. VW will make a deal to buy and scrap a number of old trucks that equal the pollution load of all the cars. You will be surprised to learn just how few trucks that would come to. And how little it will cost VW. Cheers.

  • John McClaughry

    Judging from the preceding 78 comments, the carbon tax idea is about as popular as the guy who jacked up the price on the cancer drug.
    What puzzles me is how the Digger editor allowed this otherwise well researched story to get into print without having the reporter contact even ONE opponent of the carbon tax.
    For my critique from last December , see http://vtdigger.org/2014/12/22/john-mcclaughry-ready-carbon-tax/.

    • Neil Johnson

      It’s called an agenda. Notice the large increase in reporters before an election…..

      Probably funded by grants.

  • Annie Stratton

    At this time it is nigh near impossible to live in Vermont without driving a car. Changing that is a communal responsibility, not an individual one.

    I do believe that those who developed and support the concept of carbon taxing mean well, but are short-sighted, wanting to get SOMETHING through to head off what will eventually affect all of us in ways we are only beginning to grasp. One letter above supporting carbon taxing cites it as one item in a list of things we need to do to reduce our carbon footprint.

    Other writers, understandably, ignored that observation. For good reason: the unbalanced impact on individuals who will bear the burden of a carbon tax.

    The priorities here are out-of-whack. We as a society have a responsibility to absorb the costs of FIRST providing the alternatives, particularly in the area of transportation. Yes, that costs money too, but if we are serious about what we are doing, then as a community, we need to make that decision and we need to make it before we create a hardship tax that falls disproportionately on the less well off who are already struggling.

  • Liza Honorio

    Imagine if we created a system in which oil companies actually paid for the pollution they create. A carbon pollution tax does just that. By pricing carbon, companies will pay for the damages (pollution) they cause to our air, environment, and health. There is clearly a positive correlation between fossil fuel consumption and increasingly destructive storms, like Irene. If we do not internalize these social costs, we risk going through many more Irene-like storms. We cannot continue let these companies escape the costs, at the expense of Vermonters. We owe it to our kids and grandchildren to save our air, our environment, and homes. Ask yourselves this: Can we handle storms like Irene on a regular basis?

    • fred moss

      No Liza. There clearly is NOT a positive correlation between fuel use and storms. And just because you keep saying it, will not make is so. AND, your lack of understanding for business is laughable. The oil companies are going to pass the cost to you and I. Period.

      • Liza Honorio

        You lack of understanding for Global Warming is laughable. AND yes, the cost will be put onto us. It will also incentive us to use more renewable energies, which will be cheaper in the long run.

        • fred moss

          Feel free to explain Liza. Start with the Champlain Valley. You know it was carved out by glaciers right? How did the earth CHANGE so that the glaciers melted?? Fossil fuels??

          Please touch on finding sea fossils on some of the highest mountain tops on earth?

          • Glenn Thompson

            Just to add, look up the Geological History of the Lake Champlain Basin? During the peak of the last Great Ice Age approx 18,000 years ago, the region was covered by a 1-2 miles thick sheet of ice. That ice all disappeared long before the Europeans found their way into the region. That IMHO, is a dramatic change in Climate for a relatively short period of time. What caused it? Can’t blame that one on man burning fossil fuels!

            From my perspective, there is way to much hysteria and emotions driving a flawed energy policy! Again, man can NOT control the Climate nor the weather. Man can only learn to adapt to it and at the same time develop energy sources that really will replace fossil fuels, not focus on policies that does nothing other than to make people “feel good”.

      • Robert Joseph

        At least she hit all the scary bullet points-
        Evil corporations, Irene-like storms and “it’s all about the children”.

        • Randy Jorgensen

          She missed out on the flood of 1929 in Vermont, so Irene was the first one that was caused by Global Warming.

  • Jamie Carter

    Can’t Burlington just secede from the state and go on their merry progressive way…

    Then both Sullivan and Pearson could sponsor all the carbon bills they want.

    • Bradford Little

      Here’s a novel idea: Put it to a vote …..let the people of Vermont decide. It is our democracy that generations have fought and died for, is it not? The right to choose? ….I think my 5th great grandfather , Captain Remember Baker and the Green Mountain Boys would agree!

    • Neil Johnson

      And they could pay for their own sewer treatment plants too. Great idea.

      • Bruce Wilkie

        And build their own landfill! And Their own wind farms. Chittenden county is not a part of Vermont. Let’s make it official.

        • Randy Jorgensen

          Much like Florida isn’t the “south”.

          I agree with you Bruce.

  • Jerry Coleman

    If you really want to stop whatever progress that we’ve had in a recovering economy…this would put the final nail in the coffin !!! Welcome to the Socialist State of Vermont

  • fred moss

    The hockey stick graph, the study where 97 of scientist agree on Global warming, both have been proven to be false. False false false. Man made climate change is the biggest hoax every. I can’t believe the idiots who are on board with it.

  • Its time for our legislators to focus on proposals that address Vermont’s real problems as opposed to sending messages to the rest of the world about how enlightened we are.

    If Rep. Sullivan and Deen really want to make a positive difference in Vermont, then they should get to work on establishing meaningful siting and development standards for industrial wind and solar development.

    Despite all the study committees and supposedly good intentions, the legislature and the Shumlin administration have accomplished nothing….they have failed in this regard.

  • anna shipman

    As a sales person who has to drive throughout the State of Vermont I am wondering which mass transit options I will be substituting for my current car route? Hummm…. there are none. Would like to live and work in Burlington so I could walk to more services? Yes. Is it an affordable option ? No. Would I like to buy a newer more efficent car? Of course. Can I afford one? No. Your goals are lauable but please what alternatives to travel and heating are you putting forth? This is not something that can be done State by State, particularly here. It will cost Vermont in lost tourism and lost businesses. And that isn’t something that we can afford.

    • James Rude

      There goals are not laudable….they are bases in fiction

  • Peter Everett

    Want to decrease CO2 in Vermont? Watch the continued exodus of residents. Each one expells CO2 at the rate of 60 times per minute. At that rate 24/7/365, there will be no need to raise that money from more efficient autos, heating systems, etc as they develop over the next few years.
    Greater efficiency means less revenue, means more taxes, means more people leaving, means less revenue, means even more taxes. With those in power, it’s a never ending battle to keep revenue flowing in while driving the revenue sources out of state.
    As Margaret Thatcher stated: “Socialism works fine…until the revenue runs out.”. The end is approaching, just a matter of when.

  • Job Tate

    I’m willing to give Reps. Sullivan and Pearson a mulligan on this one. They are members of a platoon of legislators that represent the city of Burlington – which weighs in at about 15 square miles. I represent a district that comes in at 208.7 square miles and is filled with a people that LOVE these vast tracts of wide and wild rural country.

    Driving is a way of life for us – and we don’t complain.

    To tax us because this is a “behavior” that needs adjustment is just the sort of myopic piece of legislation one might expect from a city center and I hope these bills are just meant to start a conversation and aren’t a serious stab at passage.

    • Valerie Mullin

      I’d also add Burlington has a frustration that people who are at the waterfront don’t want to move “all the way up” to Church St. to shop and dine which is a few blocks. And she wants us all to be punished for wanting to drive to make a living and shop in town. Very interesting….

  • Annette Smith

    Four comments:
    1. One of the goals is to shift consumer’s choices to more efficient vehicles. What is the plan for contractors, plumbers, electricians, town vehicles for whom there are no efficient alternatives to the pick-up truck, van, or dump truck? (I have posted this question every time a carbon tax article comes up on vtdigger.org and have yet to see any of the proponents respond)
    2. Doesn’t this really require a national approach? Efforts are underway in other New England states to do this regionally. While I am convinced it makes no sense for such a small state like Vermont to do this, I wonder if it even makes sense on a regional level.
    3. There is absolutely no reason to think this will not pass the current legislature. Given the make-up of the relevant committees and the way the House and Senate have been operating, this will sail through just as H.40 did. At every green event in the last year (VCRD, REV, VPIRG, DPS CEP plan hearings) the carbon tax is the top talking point. VPIRG now has 16 people on staff and a budget of $2.2 million.
    4. The reason for the carbon tax is to come up with a funding mechanism to replace the Investment Tax Credit for solar which is going from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016. This was reported as the reason for the carbon tax at the VCRD Feb. conference, said by James Moore of SunCommon.

    Follow the money. And where is that money coming from?

    • John Greenberg

      “… there are no efficient alternatives to the pick-up truck, van, or dump truck?”

      There are more fuel efficient trucks and less fuel efficient trucks, just as there are for cars. https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/best/bestworstEPAtrucksNF.shtml#noEVs

      • Annette Smith

        Thanks for making my point. 22 mpg, and that’s for 2 WD pick-ups. I don’t call that good mileage.

        A few months ago WCAX ran an interesting story about the vehicles Vermonters drive http://www.wcax.com/story/28885223/the-great-vermont-car-debate

        Overall the most popular vehicle is the Chevy Silverado, so here’s it’s info
        https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2016_Chevrolet_Silverado.shtml
        Combined mileage is 19 or 20 mpg, highway is 22 just like the most efficient on the list you posted.

        So what’s the solution for people driving those? Remember, we’re talking about incentivizing people to switch to more efficient vehicles. If there is nothing more efficient than 22 mpg for a pick-up truck in Vermont, how are these folks who drive these types of vehicles every day going to be held harmless for the tax increase?

        • John Greenberg

          Annette:

          I said nothing about anyone being “held harmless.” I pointed out that, for those who MUST drive less efficient vehicles than light-duty passenger cars, there are still choices to be made.

          Again, it’s important to put this in some perspective. At 20 mpg, the average heavy-duty vehicle driver would use 600 gallons of fuel per year (12,000 miles). At 9 cents per gallon, the tax would add $54 to the ANNUAL cost of driving their vehicles. Many of the folks you mention – plumbers, electricians, contractors – bill more than that per hour.

          • Annette Smith

            So it’s not about incentives to encourage people to get off fossil fuels? It’s just about money? Right.

    • Willem Post

      Annette,

      The carbon tax would increase the cost of ALL fossil fuels, including heating fuels, not just gasoline.

      It looks like RE aficionados are finally waking up to reality regarding the foolish energy policies of politicians.

      To compare the carbon tax with the cigarette tax, as some legislators do, is very far beyond rational, and it shows a complete lack of economic common sense.

      Instead of a carbon tax, Vermont needs increased ENERGY EFFICIENCY and overall MODERNIZATION to reduce energy use/capita, and thereby reduce CO2 emissions/capita.

  • Steve Beck

    Wow, 108 comments. I have never seen that. Perhaps somebody wrote this, but I am not going to scroll down through all of them to see……..but I wonder why they don’t legalize marijuana? The carbon tax would certainly do good, but not as much as legalizing the stuff and collecting tax revenue. Gosh, maybe people would stop driving so much since they can now mellow out in their backyard rather than driving to mountain bike, or to kayak somewhere.

  • Willi Waizenegger

    For all of you who say it’s such a great thing to tax a bad thing in order to encourage other “good” behavior…it would all be well and good as long as there were alternatives already in place to replace the use of fossil fuel without any negative effects.

    Put this in place now and it becomes a race against time: how long can the marketplace sustain this kind of taxation pressure before too much damage takes place in the marketplace. How many businesses will go under or move out of state before acceptable alternatives to fossil fuels come online?

    Guess which will happen first.

    Society cannot pay taxes without the jobs to provide the funds to begin with. Legislators are commiting state fiscal suicide with this. Unfortunately, this is typical Progressive thinking: bleed the tax payers more and more, forever believing there’s an endless amount to tap from.

    Well, there isn’t. How many of you can actually afford this? How many of you are already living week to week…paycheck to paycheck? You forget that VT Health Connect is already due to increase prices by…what was it they said some months ago?…oh, yeah: over 8 percent.

    How much can any of us take? Please remember all of this this coming election year.

  • dale tillotson

    If you have ever had a conversation with Rep. Sullivan you know it begins with she is right and you are wrong and ends with how much better she is than you. Obviously high on my list of least favorite politicians in Montpelier. She rated real low on my list when she worked at Burlington Electric as well. I am sure she had no problems with destroying Georgia mountain so Burlington and only Burlington would benefit by wind power from the project.

  • Keith Stern

    It’s a veiled attempt at wealth distribution, period. They are only going to tax the higher income people because their vehicles pollute, not the lower income people’s? If we don’t get a governor who has the intelligence and the courage to stop the insanity now, we’re done for. The Carolinas are looking better all the time.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      “The Carolinas are looking better all the time.”

      Funny you should mention that, I have been working on purchasing 3 acres this past week in the Carolinas’.

    • Jon Corrigan

      We ‘lower income’ people nearly always find a way to skirt the insanity coming from such luminaries as Ms. Sullivan. We’ll just drive to NH once a week with a 2500 gallon tanker and fill it up with gas – for distribution to our friends and neighbors at cost. Unlike in the past, the next time we have to drag someone from Burlington out of the ditch, we’ll be sure to include our own little ‘tax’, payable in advance.

  • Jamie Carter
    • Rob Roper

      Here’s all the sponsors of H.412…. Reps. David Deen (D-Westminster), Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington), John Bartholomew (D-Hartland), Steve Berry (D- Manchester). Molly Burke (P-Brattleboro), Joey Donovan (D- Burlington), Patsy French (D-Randolph), Diana Gonzalez (P- Winooski), Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier, Willem Jewett (D-Ripton), Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier), Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington), Martin Lalonde (D-South Burlington), Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne), Jim Masland (D-Thetford), Curtis McCormack (D-Burlington), Jim McCullough (D-Williston), Mike Mrowicki (D-Putney), Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington), Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington), Kesha Ram (D- Burlington), Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury), Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury), Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro), Donna Sweaney (D- Windsor) and Maida Townsend (D-South Burlington).

      • Jan van Eck

        I don’t see any Republicans on that list.

        Do the Republican legislators know better, or are they being systematically excluded? Inquiring minds would like to know.

        • Jan:

          As the Senate Minority Leader, I think I can speak safely on behalf of the Senate Republican Caucus by saying we know better.

    • Irene Stewart

      Thank you, Rob for this list of Democrats that are sponsoring this preposterous carbon tax bill. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that the two representatives from Montpelier have signed on to this bill, and if they do indeed follow thru and vote for it, after hearing from their constituents in Montpelier, and their opposition to it, they would certainly not have my vote for the very first time since they were elected.
      Vermonters need to just think for a few minutes: VT was going to lead the country in health care reform. Did that idea work? No. A total disaster and $200,000,000 wasted.
      GMO labeling – VT alone. If this is allowed by the courts, what increase in food prices will Vermonters see at the grocery store? Another fiasco. Seniors on Social Security will not see one extra penney in they checks in 2016, but you want them to spend mightily on something that will not improve their lives one bit, and will prevent them from buying their meds, heat, food, etc. Crazy ideas, from the “kool aid” lovers.

      • Neil Johnson

        These Democrats will be rewarded handsomely for the next re-election by the democratic party.

        Surely this order was handed down from the feds and the president himself.

  • Cheryl McEwan

    Anyone want to buy a house on Lake Champlain? This will be the straw after living here since 1971.
    I could never have imagined that people like Rep. Sullivan would ever consider imposing a tax like this on Vermonters. This is a rural small state and and some of us have to drive to get where we need to go. For them to have the nerve to insinuate that we should all drive electric cars and convert our houses to who knows what OR pay the consequences is outrageous at best and very bad government policy at worst. This is an ideology that has gone wild. IT is already bad enough looking at our pristine farmlands turning into solar fields. Now this! I sure hope there is some real push back on this. These people need to get real!
    Just hope there is someone out there that wants to buy my house.

  • Don Peterson

    Nobody had to be told to pitch in during WWII, but for climate change the response is tepid at best.

    That is because the policies offered to mitigate greenhouse gasses are poorly designed, poorly presented, sanctimonious and the solutions are biased toward the financial sector. Goldman Sachs profits from the crisis, and I pay for it.

    You close a call center in Newport and then penalize the employees who now drive to Williston to work. This passes for energy policy.

    You need constituent buy-in for this , and its high time that the greens admitted they havent yet come up with a solution that doesnt enrich the already rich financial sector. I don’t accept this solution.

    The problem with taking money from me and then giving it all back is the administrative costs required to do so- who gets that job?

    • fred moss

      The enemy was real in WWII Don. The axis powers were not a twisted plot to control the wealth and freedom of a nation.

      The problem with all this is alternative energy, recycling, a clean environment, all get lumped in with fighting climate change. It is intentionally twisted.

  • Clarke Comollo

    meanwhile all those private jets and helicopters in ny and la for the rich commuters. spew more co2 in an hour then i do in months of commuting but it’s my fault that they will be living underwater in 100 years. while we push our cars down the road because we can’t afford to fill the tanks. look at bejing, and tell me it’s my fault. sorry no caps but got a bum wing

    • fred moss

      Nobody will be living under water in 100 years. Take a breath.

      Rich commuters?? Like Obama. He takes a separate plane to fly from the east coast to the west coast because his wife and kids decide to leave 2 hours later. Yeah, they are believers.

      • Jan van Eck

        That’s it, Fred. The fuel burn on that 747 is about one gallon per second (at altitude; a lot more on take-off). Works out to about ten tons per hour, each aircraft, and each has to go both ways. For a fourteen hour flight cycle, each aircraft would have burned around 56,000 gallons.

        Rank has its little privileges. Including using all the fuel you want, without giving it a second thought. Besides, someone else is paying for it.

  • Clarke Comollo

    why don’t you guys send your energy about getting carbon scrubbers on those coal fired plants stacks. or every time you fill up your car send a 200 bucks to me so i can afford this. we send the winter with our thermostat at 60 and wear long johns wool pants jackets and hats so we can get thru the winter

  • Clarke Comollo

    i think i’m doing my part, you don’t want nuk energy, oh hell with it, i’m just gonna try to stay relaxed as this will NEVER fly, phew

  • Keith Stern

    “Ninety percent of the revenue generated by the carbon tax would be used to cut other taxes, Sullivan said.” Sure will the Easter Bunny be charge of this? Every time they say one tax will lead to a reduction in other taxes it turns out to be false. They find another way to waste our money.

  • Valerie Mullin

    And don’t forget, the feds will want to tax our tax….. https://gastaxhike.act.freedomworks.org/?source=FWFBgastaxURL#primary_form

  • Cathy carter

    This is so wrong! How much more can you cripple the economy! Our government probably waste more money than any common man I know! So unbelievable! The basic human needs heat, food and water to live and there are many who can’t even find a job that will afford the simplest living style! I say no and will fight against this with all I have!

  • Jan van Eck

    Not to worry, folks. Vermonters have a long history of creative smuggling. After all, they don’t call it “Smuggler’s Notch” for nothing!

    I predict that, if the Legislature actually brings in a carbon tax, then vast quantities of gasoline, diesel and heating oil will be smuggled in from New Hampshire and New York. The logical vehicle will be a 20-foot box truck, looking for all the world like a mattress delivery truck. Inside the roll-up doors will be a stash of 275-gal vertical oil tanks, all filled up with bootleg fuel. They will be slipping in over the Border to furtively sell the good stuff in rural locations, out behind the shed, out of sight.

    The authorities, undoubtedly miffed by this enterprise, will have the State Police set up interception roadblocks at key points, such as the bridges to New Hampshire. Yet I predict the cops will have little taste for doing those busts, and likely themselves end up buyers of the fuel. So, corruption, payoffs, and general (genial?) flaunting of all regulations will be the order of the day.

    Never let it be said that the spirit of free enterprise is crushed by the soulless bureaucracy of the State. All it needs is a cause to go rally to. Sack the Bastille! Vive la France! Vive le Quebec Libre!

    • Keith Stern

      Yes Jan a fuel black market. Then the state can set up a new police force that deals with bootlegging fuel. It will be like Italy where they have a police force that deals with trying to stop the black market where they check people’s receipts as they leave stores and make sure that sales tax is paid.

      • Jan van Eck

        All fuels will then be colored with a special dye, to prove that they were properly purchased as carbon-taxed fuel in Vermont. That, in turn, will motivate some enterprising fellow with a decent chemistry set to craft a duplicate dye, for sale to the bootleggers.

        Yup, the soul of free enterprise will rise above the bureaucracy. It is the nature of Yankee ingenuity. No worries!

  • One should also consider the views of an accomplished scientist, Freeman Dyson, well-known in the physics realm, retired from the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, New Jersey) in 1994, with experience in climate modeling.

    From a recent interview of Freeman Dyson ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/11/freeman_dyson_interview/ ):

    ‘An Obama supporter who describes himself as “100 per cent Democrat,” Dyson says he is disappointed that the President “chose the wrong side.” Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, and humanity doesn’t face an existential crisis. Climate change, he tells us, “is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”‘

    Also:

    ‘Interviewer Question: … but there seems to be an unquenchable thirst for apocalypse.’

    ‘Dyson Answer: Yes. I don’t know why, it’s a mood of the times. I don’t understand that better than anyone else. It is true that there’s a large community of people who make their money by scaring the public, so money is certainly involved to some extent, but I don’t think that’s the full explanation.’

    The State Legislature and UVM has heard from a number of them, I propose they hear from Mr. Dyson also.
    — Rep. Warren Van Wyck (R) of Ferrisburgh
    P.S. I don’t support the aforementioned ‘Carbon’ bills.

  • Kim Fried

    Relax, how I wish. Do you think these legislators care about Vermonters or their constituents? Just look at last years Governor’s race, if legislators had voted with their constituents we wouldn’t be facing this insane carbon tax nonsense right now.
    CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS NOW.

  • Paul Richards

    Another liberal tax on the middle class. Pull the handle, we are all going down! Tyranny is in full swing as the liberals decide what is best for us all, all the while chewing away at every liberty we have ever had.
    Add this to the endless list of sensors mandated by the liberals to be part of our automobiles that do nothing but cost us all money. Yet another tax on us all except hillary who does not drive, figures…

    • Jan van Eck

      It gets even worse than that, Paul. There is the case of the inter-city tour bus fitted with 2015-mandated diesel urea exhaust after-treatment, required by the Feds. The system is set up so that it cannot be over-ridden by the driver if it has to stop to be regenerated; the engine goes to some low power setting and a dash light starts to flash menacingly.

      The story goes that our hapless driver got spooked by the flashing light and the power cut-off, so he pulled over onto the shoulder of the rural Interstate to have the engine go through the regeneration cycle. As he started to lumber back out into the travel lane, the bus was rammed by a speeding truck, killing several passengers and wrecking both vehicles.

      Death by Regulation. The coroner can put that one on the Certificate. Just lovely.

  • Peter Everett

    This,OBVIOUSLY, is another tax to make up for lost revenue. Plain and simple, that is the goal.
    I have a question that I want a LEGISLATOR to answer with no B.S. (if that is possible????).
    The state doesn’t obtain the projected revenue it plans on, so two options are viable: cut the budget,, raise taxes or both.
    The last several years it’s been both.
    As a retired person, I base my spending NOT on projections, rather on what I know I will have. Each year I have less discretionary income becomes taxes I must pay the state increase at a greater rate than my monthly income. I’m not poor because I lived a very frugal life, yet, I’m not so well off that these constant tax increases don’t hurt. They do!!! My wife and I never partake in any of the various things VT has to offer (free or $$$). We spend 24/7 on our property, only leaving for the necessary things in life.
    We have learned that the things we “want” we can do without if we wait long enough. Why can’t the state put off it’s “wants or wants to do” until such time as,the funds are there? Wouldn’t it make sense to hold off on some of the things the state wants until it can afford them, rather than CONTINUALLY raising various taxes on us?
    As a former worker, I look at all the government programs available that make people think twice about working. Free healthcare, food stamps, rent assistance, heat assistance, day care, monthly welfare checks, etc. The list can go on and on. Too me, is is all income….tax free!!!. Why should people work, pay taxes, etc when they can sit at home?
    This may be just a few doing so, yet, it’s wasted tax payer money. How about the single mom getting benefits, yet, lives with her boyfriend who works a good job. This takes place more often than we wish to believe. More tax payer money wasted. There are s o many areas the state can cut back on, with a little bit of honest effort.
    Department of revenue could be more efficient in tracking down these type of “criminals”, yes, CRIMINALS. They steal from the tax payer.
    I believe that if the state really cared about the taxpayer, a lot of money would be saved, resulting in a better life for those that truly need assistance and the tax payer who funds the assistance.
    So Ms/Mr/Mrs LEGISLATOR am I asking you too much to find ways to live with the revenue you know you have, rather than living on projections…which never live up to what is stated? Who knows, you co j of have your CarbonTax with robbing what little you have left us. Yeah, the wage earner would really like to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It’s not right that you keep coming for more.

  • Anne Jameson

    It’s a confirmed fact that our climate is changing to a degree which endangers the future of our children and our children’s children. We can’t ignore the growing reality of the destructive weather patterns caused by climate change as we endure storms like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, or the warming temperatures which will ultimately decrease our apple harvests, hurt (or destroy) our maple yields, and shorten the winter sporting season. Ignoring these warnings will leave our kids growing up today with a very different Vermont in their lifetimes.

    Immediate and effective action is needed to curtail the pollution which is adversely contributing to these climate changes, especially the use of fossil fuels. Levying a carbon pollution tax on fossil fuel distributors based on the amount of carbon pollution created by the fossil fuels they sell is the simplest and most direct way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and critical to help us meet our state goals for greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy.
    Vermonters’ dependence on fossil fuels also drains dollars out of Vermont’s communities. In 2013 alone Vermonters spent $2 billion on fossil fuels, and $1.6 billion left the state to line the pockets of out-of-state corporations. A carbon pollution tax will help us take control of our energy future by directly capturing money from fossil fuel companies to invest back in Vermonters and Vermont businesses. Alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal offer solutions that will keep more of these energy dollars here, in Vermont, and energy efficiency solutions such as home weatherization and public transportation helping us reduce our fossil fuel dependence overall.
    As it stands H.412 dictates that 90% of the revenue from this tax would be returned in the form of rebates and other tax relief to all Vermonters with additional financial assistance for low income Vermonters. The bill also supplies dedicated funding to supplement the Weatherization Assistance Program (low-income weatherization) through the use of the remaining 10% of the tax revenue.
    By passing a carbon pollution tax, we make a winning investment in our economy and our climate future, giving individuals and businesses an incentive to invest in clean energy solutions and protect our world for our children!

    • Paul Richards

      “A carbon pollution tax will help us take control of our energy future by directly capturing money from fossil fuel companies to invest back in Vermonters and Vermont businesses. ” Really? There won’t be any businesses left in Vermont because they won’t be able to fuel their fleets or heat their facilities. All companies within a gas tanks ride of here will come in and take all of the work.
      I’m not talking about community organizers/agitators and non-profits, I’m talking about actual businesses.

      • John Greenberg

        So for an additional roughly $50 per vehicle per year (at the very outside), (offset by reductions in other taxes), every business is going to leave Vermont?

        I’ll stay, thanks.

        So we’ll have at least one left.

        • Paul Richards

          Ever heard of a pipe dream?

  • Dave Bellini

    Do legislators sponsoring this bill believe it “represents” what a majority of Vermonters want?

    • Kathy Callaghan

      No, but I don’t think they care either. That’s why we need a return to actual “representative” government and with that, changes in legislators next fall.

  • Reg Jackson

    What will these fools in Montpelier think of next? Is there no end to their financial tomfoolery? This type of tax will sound the death knell for this state. Even those that have never considered leaving will finally have to under the duress brought on by their own “elected representatives”. People, this is yet another wake up call for us to take back our state from the Moonbats have come in and baffled everyone with their BS. No time left for BS, especially when such a financial stake through the heart of our economy has even got a shot to be considered. VOTE THEM OUT!

  • I didn`t leave the Democratic party, it left me. More so than not.

    • Kathy Callaghan

      Right there with you.

  • David Ames

    Do you know the beef production in america produces 10x the amount of co2 annually then every car in the country?

    Google it. It takes 660 gallons of water to get 1/4 pound of beef

  • Clarke Comollo
  • Thomas Nola

    Here we go again. Another “brain trust” idea from the inept Shumlin administration to cover their incompetent butts. What planet do these people come from? They have no CLUE as to what the average Vermonter deals with regarding taxes and the cost of living here. I love living here yet the expenses that these “brain trust” members impose upon me drastically reduces my retirement income. We are a small state with a decreasing population that can ill afford such unending and brainless political decisions that systematically strips us of our financial freedoms. As a rural state we depend upon our vehicles for work for we don’t have access to public transportation. What the hell are our legislators thinking? I’m afraid that is the issue- they’ve lost the ability to clearly think about the consequences of their decisions, or they don’t care!!! Either way we’re seemingly doomed.

  • curt doyle

    bogus totally.

  • sam shultis

    Notice the approval from the Burlington Democratic class, running out of ways to pay for their pleasures ….

  • Allen Seiple

    I run a property management company and depend on trucks that get about 12 mpg to plow driveways. Do any of the listed sponsors of this bill know how to plow a driveway with a Prius?

    Once again, stupidity by elected officials that have likely never truly worked or earned a living in their lives.

  • Phil Lovely

    It is interesting to note that on reviewing the sponsors of this bill, not one sponsor lives north of the Winooski River. In fact, not one legislator from Grand Isle, Franklin, Lamoille, Orleans, Caledonia, Essex or Orange Counties has signed on to it. What does it mean when legislators representing seven entire counties and the northern 40% of the state do not have one sponsor among them.

    This bill, which would transform the way we pay for energy and put untold millions in new revenue into the hands of our legislature where they may (or not) use it as they say now, is despicable. It is regressive and unlikely to hold low income people harmeless.

  • Sarah Richards

    Say No to this ridiculous Tax. If the proposals of this discriminatory bill wish to reduce carbon emissions let’s begin with changing the 100’s of Fleet cars that are currently hybrids to all being electric as well as all transportation vehicles, plow trucks ,police cars and mandate that all legislators only use electric cars and only car pool with no less than 3 other legislators. What exact measures have been put into place for the heating and cooling of the new Waterbury complex? What does the State house use to heat that building? So before the legislators who clearly do not understand the complexities that the working class face put your money where your mouth is and be sure you are practicing what you preach.

  • Carol Peebles

    As an older retired widow, I would like to say what would happen to the little money I have each month if they actually do this ….I would no longer be able to drive from my little village to the nearest town for groceries, dental/doctor appointments/ see family, socialize at the local senior center, etc. . As it is now I have an old 2004 car…..not able to afford a newer one because of the cost of prescriptions and health insurance increases to Medicare. Having lower gas prices and heating fuel prices this Winter has allowed me to turn the thermostat up to 65 on the coldest days. We all know that as soon as the 88 cent increase is on the gas tax – the price of gasoline will go right back up to $3. a gal. It will never stay down …but I sure am enjoying the low price right now. Come on folks let’s write to our state representatives ( I don’t care if they are Democrat or Republican) and the Governor and let them know we do not want this bill. Thank you listening.

    • Andrew Olson

      I live a rural area of Vermont so driving 30 – 40 minutes one way to get something is not uncommon. Sure, a Prius or Telsa would be cheaper to run but I can tell you those cars are worthless in the kind of snow we normally experience here in the mountains. Not only are they impractical but their energy usage is deceiving. They tout no emissions from a tailpipe which is a lie. Their tailpipe is at the power station.
      Remember a few years back when private interests drove the price of fuel up to 4 and 5 dollars a gallon ? The economy came to a standstill! Nobody drove to work because there was no work. Right now fuel prices are low and we are thriving. See the relationship?

  • Bill Schmitt

    When will there be a tax revenue formula for electric car operators that cheat the Transportation Fund because they are not buying liquid fuels??

  • Brian T Heybyrne

    We will absolutely not let this happen.

  • Brian T Heybyrne

    It’s time to end the tax happy Liberal-Progressive supermajority in Montpelier!!

  • Richard Halada

    Bad politician! No vote for you!
    Living on a fixed income, a sudden cost jump like this in transportation, heating, and- probably- electricity, will be crushing. Other taxes will be reduced? How about the monumental property/school tax? Eliminate that nightmare, and I’ll put in solar collectors and ride a bike to the grocery store! When the unwealthy are finally driven from the state, our legislators may wonder who will fix the streets, respond to emergencies, teach the kids, and serve the lattes.

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