Environment

Scott pans carbon tax tradeoff as costly for Vermonters

carbon tax
Rep. Johannah Donovan, D-Burlington, center, at a news conference Monday in Barre. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger
Legislators pushing to reduce or replace existing taxes with a levy on carbon dioxide pollution are pitching the idea as tax relief to residents and a boon to in-state businesses, while the governor panned it as increasing the cost of living.

Four lawmakers submitted skeletal bills Tuesday proposing various scenarios, but all would tax carbon emissions, a contributor to climate change. Each of the bills would be revenue-neutral, their sponsors say, meaning they wouldn’t bring in more than the taxes they would replace already do.

One of the bills would eliminate the state sales tax. Another would return the proceeds of the carbon tax to Vermonters through regular dividend checks paying everyone the same amount. A third would slash property taxes. The fourth would halve the income tax rate for the lowest tax bracket — to 1.75 percent — and double the earned income tax credit for 40,000 Vermonters. It would also eliminate income tax for businesses taking in less than $400,000 a year.

Gov. Phil Scott said the proposals would increase the cost of living for all Vermonters.

Phil Scott
​Gov. Phil Scott​. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
“To grow our economy, we must focus on policies and initiatives that make Vermont more affordable and encourage growth through smart policy and incentives, rather than discouraging growth through taxes, fees and onerous mandates from Montpelier,” Scott said in a statement emailed by his spokeswoman, Rebecca Kelley.

Scott has already sought to address environmental issues with a proposed sales tax holiday on electric vehicles and certain energy-efficient products, Kelley wrote. Scott proposed in his budget this year a two-week holiday on sales taxes on hybrid and electric vehicles.

Another opponent denounced the proposed taxes as a scheme to redistribute money.

“Obviously we’d need to see the details of these plans … but really a wealth redistribution scheme doesn’t seem like the way to jump-start the economy,” said Rob Roper, president of the free-market group the Ethan Allen Institute.

Taxes in general are a form of wealth redistribution, Roper said, but he characterized this as different in that the taxes Vermont now has in place pay for public services.

Legislators behind the bills have not proposed spending the carbon tax revenues any differently than the revenues from the taxes they would replace. The four sponsors are Reps. Diana Gonzalez, P/D-Winooski, Johannah Donovan, D-Burlington, Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, and Martin LaLonde, D-South Burlington.

Roper said the climate appears to be changing and that humans are likely to have contributed to that phenomenon. But he said a carbon tax is the wrong response.

“My proposed solution is to let the free market deal with it,” Roper said.

He said the United States and Europe have done an exemplary job of addressing global climate change using the free market.

Of the European Union’s 28 countries, 14 have carbon taxes in place already, said Vermont Law School professor Janet Milne, who is director of the Environmental Tax Law Institute.

Vermonters should allow the market to develop technological solutions to climate change, Roper said, and instituting a carbon tax would disrupt the economic forces that would accomplish this.

But the bills’ sponsors say they’d be a boon to in-state businesses.

SARAH COPELAND HANZAS
Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas
Eliminating the sales tax would give Vermont businesses an edge against competitors on the internet and in sales-tax-free New Hampshire, said Copeland Hanzas.

“If we want to give an advantage to downtown and border communities … we really ought to think about finding a different source of (tax) income so we can ratchet down that sales tax,” she said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“Where do we want to stimulate the economy? I’d say we want to stimulate the bricks and mortar (businesses) and Main Street,” Copeland Hanzas said in an interview. “If you talk to downtown retailers … it doesn’t take long to recognize that spending money in downtown shops keeps it in the neighborhood. Sending it to Exxon Mobil does not.”

“Let’s open it up and have a conversation,” she said. “Let’s ask downtown retailers how they would like to have people come in and shop tax-free.”

Copeland Hanzas’ bill, and the other three carbon tax proposals, exist only in short form, meaning they identify what end result sponsors are seeking, but they still require various committees to flesh out the details, the sponsors said Tuesday.

Democrats panned the governor’s treatment of the issue of climate change and accused Scott and his party’s leadership of blocking honest discussion of the subject.

“What’s interesting is that the governor claims to be on track for 90 percent renewable energy in 2050 … and we have yet to see any tangible results come out of that office that actually address climate change,” said the executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, Conor Casey.

“I believe the Republicans have created a dishonest narrative on some of the ways we can address climate change,” Casey said. “Is carbon pricing the be-all, end-all? No. There are going to have to be a million ideas considered to address what may be the biggest crisis facing us. But the fact is, it deserves a day in court.”


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Mike Polhamus

Recent Stories

  • Adam Maxwell

    I could have sworn the legislature balked at legalizing marijuana but here I sit, reading grown men in 2017 talk about how we should leave climate action to the “free market.” Somebody must be smoking something…

    • Matthew Davis

      Or they are not smoking enough of it…

  • Mary Daly

    This seems to be all smoke and mirrors. Make it confusing enough so folks won’t know when they are getting screwed. Thank you Phil for standing firm on this issue. Yes, the climate seems to be changing and i’m sure we the people have some effect on the process and we can clean up our act so to speak. More likely it is caused by the cycle of the world as in the past. What is it about supporting businesses and the economy that the Democrats don’t understand?

    • Owen Farnsworth

      Mary, You are quite right, complexity is an insidious tool used some in this legislature. In 2014, when property taxes were the major issue, Dave Sharpe and his Education Committee leveraged the complexity of the school tax formula. They actually buried a large property tax increase in Act 46. The addition of a “yield” factor to the formula shifted 14% of the tax burden from income based tax payers to property based tax payers. And, everyone, the public, the press, and other legislators were bamboozled by the ploy.

  • Lester French

    Democrats pushing this agenda must be on the drugs they are supporting. Vermont doesn’t contribute in any significant way to global warming and likely helps to mitigate the effects because of our high percentage of trees. As a group they fail to recognize the effects of natural contributers such as volcanoes and forest fires. Pushing for electric vehicles and public transportation is not a viable option for many rural Vermonters and the financial impact for home heating and transportation will hurt a large percentage of the population.

  • Christopher Daniels

    The Ethan Allen Institute doesn’t recognize the science of global warming. It doesn’t acknowledge the physics of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It works at the behest of its industry donors to obfuscate and confuse the average person into believing that carbon dioxide is harmless and has no impact on our climate.

    Under the guise of ‘free markets’, the Ethan Allen Institute believes in the right of corporations to pollute. No environmental solutions have ever been produced as a results of ‘the free market’ when the free market rewards corporations for externalizing costs. Environmental solutions come when the We The People (aka. the Government) enact environmental regulations that create markets for solutions. Waiting for corporations to do this on their own in the absence of government regulations is non-sense.

    • John Grady

      ‘free markets’

      AKA Robber Baron Economics which works just like the Game of Monopoly which ends when the losers go Galt and quit playing the game. People can find a way to justify anything in their own minds if they put some effort into it. Greed and selfishness are examples of finding a way to justify things by renaming them.

      Ron Paul reminds me of Mr Burns in the TV Cartoon The Simpsons. Greedy miser who spends all day counting his money and probably can’t sleep at night because of being worried somebody might steal a penny from him.

    • John McClaughry

      Every single assertion in Mr. Daniels first four sentences is false.Here’s what EAI has been saying for the past decade: “From 1850 to 1940, long before anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions became significant, the planet warmed significantly as it emerged from the Little Ice Age. Again since 1977 earth has experienced a slight global warming trend in the lower troposphere, where the greenhouse gas effect is greatest.”
      “There is no scientific evidence for detectable anthropogenic global climate forcing that produces these recurring effects; and there is little or no prospect that human intervention, even at enormous economic and social cost, can detectably alter the result of these natural processes.”
      John McClaughry [AB physics 1958, MS nuclear engineering 1960]

      • Willem Post

        John,
        Vermont and all of New England was covered with a layer of ICE at least one mile thick!

        Then, about 30,000 years ago, out of the blue (there is NO scientific explanation), all that ice melted, and by 10,000 years ago, it was mostly gone. No CO2 was involved.

        The WORLD’s ocean water level rose 300 ft, and the Irish Sea and The English Channel were created.

        The current melting and warming is an ongoing process started many years ago, that may be slightly increased by manmade activities.

        • Don Dalton

          THAT is a rational view. No one denies the effects of CO2, but the entire question, and the greatest uncertainty, lies in feedbacks to CO2, yet these uncertainties are touted out and paraded as absolute certainties. Rather odd, I’d say. It seems we’ve lost our reason, or rather, we’ve given it up in favor of the sound bite and whatever the newspapers tell us.

      • Jason Brisson

        While I don’t agree with the carbon tax, your quotes above are quite misleading. You yourself have called CO2 “plant food”, what happens when there’s fewer plants to take in this “food” and convert it to oxygen?
        Carbon dioxide is a cycle, and while there’s no smoking gun to say that humans are to blame for the rise in CO2 emissions–we are to blame for the cycle breaking down. The deforestation over the last 200 years has significantly impacted the planets ability to change CO2 into oxygen. Forests are the lungs of our planet. Regardless of whether we are producing more carbon dioxide or not, whats in the atmosphere is not as able to be removed by natural processes because of us humans.
        Planting trees and industrial hemp at record levels worldwide for the next 100 years might help, but surely won’t solve the problem. Anything is better than EAI approach that: “there is little or no prospect that human intervention, even at enormous economic and social cost, can detectably alter the result of these natural processes.”
        That seems an awful lot like giving up on future generations of Americans. If “it’s too overwhelming, so we won’t try” were truly values Ethan Allen held dear, Vermont would not be a state today.

        • Glenn Thompson

          “You yourself have called CO2 “plant food”, what happens when there’s fewer plants to take in this “food” and convert it to oxygen?”

          Jason, you bring up a valid point. One doesn’t even need to understand 5th grade science to answer that question. Here is the direction we are foolishly heading in.

          “The rapid growth of Europe’s biomass industry, driven by the region’s renewable energy targets, is chipping away at southeastern forests.”

          https://thinkprogress.org/american-companies-are-shipping-millions-of-trees-to-europe-and-its-a-renewable-energy-nightmare-ef1fdcca1cb4

          Add to this biomass issue, the fact that forest areas are being clear-cut to make way for Industrial Wind and Solar, just exactly what are we accomplishing?

      • Christopher Daniels

        Mr. McClaughry continues to demonstrate his efforts to cast doubt on the science.

        • Edward Letourneau

          The science is questionable to all rational people. Its an unproven theory, yet you liberals want to change and tax the lives of Vermonter’s out of existence for it.

          • bill_christian

            The science is questionable to gullible people who listen to the extremely clever liars who are paid very well by the oil companies.

          • Don Dalton

            What a bunch of nonsense! Listen to yourself: “I’m not going to listen to him because he’s paid off by the oil companies.”

            I’ve asked before for proof of this: let’s see it. All we hear are smears– that’s it. There’s no proof that scientists who disagree with the mainstream view are paid off, yet we all our spout this over and over and over as if there is. This sounds like propaganda to me.

            Stop and ask yourself: why are we all led to believe that legitimate, credentialed scientists who disagree with the mainstream view are “paid off”? Why is it that in science so much is up for debate, and in climate science there are so many uncertainties, yet we are all told that there is “no debate” about the feedbacks to CO2 warming, which could be negative, neutral, or positive? Why are we so incurious about this rather curious state of affairs?

      • bill_christian

        The Ethan Allen Institute is doing for fossil fuel companies exactly what a group of experts did for the tobacco companies. Lie with extreme skill to keep people buying and dying by the million for as long as possible. Millions of lives were lost while a few very smart and despicable people made a lot of money fooling the American public, who are pretty easy to fool. Dying of lung cancer is not a good way to go, either.

        • Matt Young

          Bill, you’ve got it backwards, The Al Gores of the world are the ones doing the fleecing. They love sheep that do their work for them.

          • bill_christian

            Koch Industries has fooled you exactly the way Big Tobacco fooled millions for decades. Same playbook. You are being scammed. They are very clever. They know your buttons. They play you like a puppet. “Govmint bad, oil companies good.” They know what you want to believe. There’s nothing wrong with smoking, there’s nothing wrong with burning coal, goody-two-shoes govmint wants to control you… This is an IQ test.

    • Christopher Daniels

      A perfect example of why waiting for free markets to solve pollution problems can be found in our very own dairy industry. For years now, the problems with spraying manure on fields and the cropping of land up right to the top of bank of streams and rivers has been well documented. There is no regulation requiring buffers, nor are there regulations preventing the spraying of manure. Farmers continue these practices year after year. Why? Because it’s economical. The free market is making its voice loud and clear.

      • Kyle Williams

        Christopher, actually there are regulations on when manure can be spread and minimum buffer zones for the storage and spreading of manure. All there at the agriculture.vermont.gov website.

        • bill_christian

          Since farms are without doubt causing great harm to Lake Champlain, then the regulations are not extensive enough, farmers are cheating, or both. Right?

    • Edward Letourneau

      Where did all the CO2 come from that warmed the earth 10,000 years ago and melted the mile thick ice that covered 1/2 of our planet? It wasn’t fossil fuel burning?

      • bill_christian

        The temperature increase that we are creating will be far, far higher than the change that eliminated the last ice age.

        • Homer sulham

          Post the data please.

          • bill_christian

            Here is a very entertaining overview, but it is very solid scientifically. Each line downward is 100 years. Each line left-right is 1 degree C (about 2 “real” degrees). Spoiler alert – we are in the middle of doing something crazy right now.

            https://xkcd.com/1732/

          • Don Dalton

            This is a computer-generated scenario, well and good. In science, we should always test our models against reality. So far, despite ever-increasing amounts of CO2, we are at the low end of model predictions for surface temperatures. Moreover, for the mid-troposphere, the models are way off from observations: the troposphere isn’t warming nearly as much as predicted. All of this evidence tells us that the catastrophic scenario is not the most likely one. We, as a society, deny this. We deny there is any discrepancy between models and observations. Yet those who point this discrepancy out and insist that we must follow the evidence are called “deniers” and “anti-science.”

            Code words and phrases: denier, anti-science, no debate, 97% consensus. When we’re young we’re taught there are two sides to every debate. These code words and phrases teach us that there is only one side to the debate. We aren’t supposed to look at the other side, are we?

            For my part, if Enron, which went down in a blaze of fraud, advocated carbon taxes, then that tells me that this whole thing might be a scam: keep jacking up the price of carbon, trade carbon credits and derivatives and all sorts of financial instruments, and some people will get very, very rich off this scheme, but not, I suspect, you or I. You are naive if you think this could not be true.

  • Paul Drayman

    It’s interesting, and “deserves a day in court”,

  • Bradford H Morgan

    If we want to let “the market” solve the problem, then shouldn’t all the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry be eliminated? If a carbon tax is developed, it should consider matching those in other northeastern states.

  • Owen Farnsworth

    Ms Copeland Hanzas might consider asking our remaining small town general stores whether a carbon tax might threaten their very existence. These urban legislators seem to care little for our small town rural comunities.

    • Willem Post

      Owen,
      Democrats like taking money from whomever/wherever and create centralized government control.
      That has the side effect of defunding local control.
      Local people cannot be in control, if the means are taken away by Montpelier folks.
      That is one reason country stores are under so much pressure.

      • bill_christian

        See my comment above. Less fossil fuel equals healthier local institutions.

    • bill_christian

      It is likely to be GOOD for them. If people don’t drive as far, they buy local instead of driving far to the big box stores. High fossil fuel prices will, in may ways, push us toward the life we lived in the late 1800’s. An active LOCAL life, and trains to go wherever we want and to bring us what we need.

      • Matt Young

        Billy, most of us like freedom, really don’t need you or anyone else telling us what mode of transportation to use or how far to travel.

    • Mary Daly

      Sarah Copeland Hanzas lives in Bradford and her father owns a furniture factory there. Bradford has lost several businesses over the years.

  • John Grady

    Golly gee wiz I’m really looking forward to hearing the details of making VT affordable and how growth is going to lead to prosperity.

    • Tim Vincent

      And all those great “green” jobs.
      LMAO
      Mowing the grass between the solar panels.
      And oh yeah, let’s cut carbon emissions while China builds a new power plant EVERY month.

    • Peter Everett

      Prosperity? Yeah, in another state. Financially choking the residents surely is the ultimate goal of the Legislature. I’m sure that, like me, most are tax poor. Work to pay taxes, then more taxes, then more taxes. Hell, I’m even taxed twice on some of my income. What a great state!!!! If I could break even on selling my home I wouldn’t need to complain, I would be long gone. Thing is, no one wants the burden of living and working to feed an obese government. Still here, unfortunately.

  • Spencer Putnam`

    It’s unfortunate that the governor has not bothered to take a closer look at these proposals for putting a price on carbon. All four of them are revenue neutral–any increase in taxes on fossil fuels will be directly tied to reductions in other taxes. That does not “increase the cost of living to all Vermonters.”

    What will stimulate the Vermont economy is reducing our reliance (and expenditures on) imported fossil fuels, increasing our tax competitiveness with neighboring states, and creating employment in the green jobs sector. A proposal that offers all these benefits as well as reducing our carbon footprint deserves more than a dismissive comment based on ideological differences.

    • chris wilmot

      I will gladly give you two hamburgers tomorrow if you give me one today…

    • bill_christian

      Governor Scott is an intelligent guy and he knows that a carbon tax will NOT take money from the average Vermonter. He know what revenue-neutral means. But he knows that there’s a passionate group of his supporters who oppose the tax without understanding it. So he’s afraid to stand up for what he knows is right. He also knows that climate change is real and very serious. But he doesn’t say it loudly, because he relies on the votes of a lot of people who don’t understand the world.

      • Homer sulham

        Has any new tax ever been revenue-neutral?

        • JohnGreenberg

          Please cite instances of taxes which were proposed as revenue neutral, but weren’t.

          Most taxes are NOT proposed to be revenue neutral, but rather to raise needed revenue. It’s hardly surprising then that they accomplish what they set out to do.

    • Peter Everett

      “All 4 of these proposals are revenue neutral” until they’re not. Again, basing these proposals on “projected” revenue. I think the Legislature’s record, in recent years, developing budgets is less than exemplary, resulting in cuts each year. Seems revenue hasn’t met their “projections”.
      To believe that their ” projections” will hold true doesn’t hold much water. Any cut in taxes will be short lived, if cuts are even made. Remember, “we heard the voters” that they spewed several years ago. Where did that get us? More taxes.
      Think, if you lived out of state, where would you spend vacation money? Vermont? Gas almost $1 higher than surrounding states. Meals/rooms taxes at 9-11%. Most vacationers have only so much to spend. Many will choose more affordable states to vacation, leaving Vermont with less than “projected” revenue again. How to make it up? You got it! Increase those taxes that were cut. Maybe doing this gradually, or, all at once. Either way, it’s the resident who winds up (hate to say it to his way) getting screwed, once more.
      These politicians are no more qualified to speculate on “projected” revenue than you or I. Time for government to concentrate on what they are to do, not expanding what they do. If you look at it, each year government takes a bit more of our freedom from us. Many believe less freedom is OK (socialism). It is only until the money runs out. Look at the mess Greece is in. People revolting because government no longer has the funds to give the people what they demand. Are we getting to that point? Decide for yourself, don’t ask government to answer for you. You will surely be disappointed (sorry, Bernie).

  • Tom Hughes

    Gov. Scott and the naysayers might want to recall his inaugural address when he said, “Doing things the way we’ve always done them and hoping for a different result, will not bring about the change we need.”

    Representatives Copeland-Hanzas, LaLonde, Donovan and Gonzalez have proposed reforms that align Vermont’s tax code with our needs and priorities. Their reforms would cut property and income taxes, eliminate the sale taxes, and provide quarterly dividend checks. In exchange, they’d put a price on pollution.

    Knee jerk opponents of the proposals are opposing tax cuts for working Vermonters and defending fossil fuel industry profits.

    These legislators have reached across the aisle. Progressive Rep. Diana Gonzalez has even proposed the same “carbon dividends” plan as Republican cabinet secretaries Baker, Shultz and Paulson. Together, they have started a conversation about tax reform and climate action that Vermont needs to have.

    • chris wilmot

      Working Vermonters will be the ones affected. The money won’t trickle down to them as promised

      • bill_christian

        Yes it will.

      • JohnGreenberg

        “The money won’t trickle down to them as promised.” Any evidence for that claim? In particular, under one of the plans, the earned income tax credit is raised, which benefits ONLY low-income taxpayers. How would that NOT trickle down?

    • Skyler Bailey

      What about “let’s impose a huge new tax, lie about what it will accomplish, how much it will cost ordinary people, and the purposes to which the funds will be allocated, and then find a way to claim victory while simultaneously blaming the catastrophe on the opposition” is NOT the way we have always done things?

    • Willem Post

      Just for clarification: Democrat Tom Hughes is Campaign Manager of Energy Independent Vermont. EIV is a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, academics, and advocates with the goal of addressing climate change and as VPIRG puts it, “grow the economy by putting a price on carbon pollution.”

      My comment: The RE part of the economy would be growing, all the rest would be paying for it for decades, at the rate of about $1 billion/y for 33 years (2017 – 2050), as estimated by Vermont’s Energy Action Network.

      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-s-90-percent-renewable-energy-goal-to-cost-33-billion-by
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-energy-independent

      • bill_christian

        This would make sense if fossil fuel will last forever and did not permanently alter our climate in an ominous way. But that is a pretty crazy belief.

    • bill_christian

      Intelligent Republicans, who understand economy, the environment, and the limits of natural resources, support a revenue-neutral carbon pollution tax.

  • Edward Letourneau

    I’m paying around 600 a month in taxes and fees to the town and state. And I don’t see anything in return for my money, but somehow taxing the oil I need to have heat is going to fix everything. — What world do these people live on?

    • Glenn Thompson

      “What world do these people live on?”

      Oz?

    • bill_christian

      Did you go to school? Who payed for that. Santa Claus? Do you drive on the roads, or use anything that was delivered by roads? Don’t tell me your gas taxes pay for them. They don’t come anywhere close to paying for them.

    • David Fischer

      It definitely wont fix everything, but it’s a start, and it’s a message to the rest of the country that we can pay the actual costs of burning carbon and still be strong as a state.
      Saying that you dont see anything from your taxes seems a bit exaggerated. Do you buy goods in VT? Do you drive around in VT? Have you or your kids or the kids of your friends ever used VT’s school system? Ever been in a public library? Have you ever needed to call the fire department or the police?

      • Matt Young

        Unfortunately my family used a Vermont public school system, it was the worst experience of our lives.

  • John McClaughry

    The Democratic Party’s executive director is quoted as “accusing Scott and his party’s leadership of blocking honest discussion of the subject.”
    Honest discussion? That’s the last thing Casey & Co. want. Their position is “the science is settled; our children are facing a ‘horrid future’ (Shumlin); we must suppress carbon emissions now by some combination of government mandates, prohibitions, and taxes; and we must revile the ‘climate deniers’ (“Merchants of Doubt”) financed by fossil fuel interest and the Koch Brothers.”
    Six years ago Democratic Speaker Shap Smith called for a forthright discussion about climate change. I wrote him a thoughtful letter expressing my enthusiasm for such a discussion. He never replied, and of course there was never any such discussion – just more insults, charges, and propaganda. Spare us.

    • Willem Post

      John,
      And to add insult to injury, Senator Bray is working on a “Miscellaneous Energy Bill” that includes going from the aspirational goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050” to a 90% state mandate.

      On pages 18 to 25 are specified in detail what various Town and Regional Energy Plans HAVE to include, such as schedules of implementation and cost estimates, to get Plan approval from the DPS.

      “The Plan SHALL SEEK to implement the goal, and to ACHIEVE the goals…”.

      http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/WorkGroups/Senate%20Natural%20Resources/Energy/Misc%20Energy%20Bill/W~Aaron%20Adler~Draft%202.1%20-%20Miscellaneous%20Energy%20Bill%20~4-5-2017.pdf

      Towns are objecting to such coercive requirements, and to the requirement residential buildings and other buildings will have to get rid of their propane, gas and fuel heating systems and replace them with heat pumps.

    • bill_christian

      Shumlin is correct, and you work for a “grassroots” organization funded by Koch Industries, the largest private coal and oil company in the United States. Tell us again how it’ll be fine if we keep on burning fossil.

      • Dan DeCoteau

        And how do you heat your home and fuel your automobile? Do you walk or ride a bus if you need to go out of state? Do you fly when you go on vacation?

        • David Fischer

          To be honest I’m traveling down to Philadelphia in a ride share with 5 other people; I want to pay more for the gas I use so that the costs that *do* come from using that gas can be mitigated. I dont expect the ways that the costs are mitigated to be perfectly efficient right off the bat; I know it will take some investment for the appropriate innovations to be made. Let’s take responsibility for ourselves and the impact we have on our local community, society in general and earth.

  • Deborah Billado

    And so Vermont continues another session as the little green petrie dish of the nation. The golden done where all the mad scientists try to out socialize and outspend each other in the race to be first to the cliffs edge. We apparently as in the words of Miley Cyrus “can’t stop and won’t stop it” until we have all been dragged over that cliff. We need more balance in Montpelier folks… The democrats just don’t get the message no matter how many students we are down or how many jobs are lost or how many people leave the state due to the cost of living here. When will we learn. When will it be too late..

    • Willem Post

      Deborah,
      It seems to be a congenital condition. They cannot help it.
      The only remedy is to DE-elect Democrats.

    • bill_christian

      Vermont has been ahead of the rest of the country many times before. First to outlaw slavery, and sent the most soldiers per person to win the civil war. And we are doing it again. We are proud.

  • Skyler Bailey

    My issue with it is that all taxes are either levied on the people directly, or levied on businesses and then passed on to the people through increased prices. Vermonters are taxed out. The legislature is trying to squeeze blood from a stone while hurting the people, businesses, and farmers, all in order to pat themselves on the back by pretending that they have made a global impact by possibly reducing by a couple of percentage points the fossil fuel output of one 15,000th of the world’s population.

    I am not a climate denier, but if your goal really is to decrease fossil fuel usage, pragmatism should tell you that the most effective means of doing it will be those which have the greatest effect while being the least onerous on the population. These proposals meet neither of those guidelines. Backlash against wrong-headed, hasty decisions will not only kill your efforts, but your credibility as well.

  • Dan DeCoteau

    Some people believe that if you plug your electric car into a socket that electricity just happens. So let’s all get electric cars is the mantra. How will we heat our homes in the winter? Burning wood is bad and solar panels aren’t efficient enough! If Vermont changes everything related to energy use, what affect will it have on the earth and it’s weather patterns? Nothing! So the legislature wants Vermonters to suffer the financial burden of their climate change vision for what reason? Vermont has become the progressive Petri-dish for social and environmental justice to save the world while those of us trying to live and stay here get no justice at all from our law makers. It appears to be all those well to do people in the legislature who continue to push for something that will never exist. They ignore the people who actually pull the wagon, pay the taxes, care for and have taken care of this state for generations. Many of whom have moved here because of what has been preserved for generations to escape their urban jungles to save us from ourselves and to push a failed ideology. When will this madness end and commonsense which is apparently no longer common, return?

    • Tim Vincent

      When will those “pulling the wagon” wake up and stop electing these fantasists?
      People get the government they deserve.

      • JohnGreenberg

        “People get the government they deserve.” So why don’t YOU deserve the government you have, rather than the one you want to impose on the rest of us?

      • Matthew Davis

        The fantasists are the ones that believe we should continue subsidizing the most profitable industry on earth to keep gas prices at the pump artificially low….

    • bill_christian

      The efficiency of a solar panel is of no importance unless you are paying for sunlight. What is important is how much electricity you get per dollar spent on the panel. Solar panels are cheaper than a nuclear plant, by FAR. Surprise. Here’s another surprise: on March 11, from 9 am to 2 pm, California got more than half its electricity from solar energy. For 39 million people. That’s 56 times the population of Vermont. So they got 28 times as much as our whole state would need. More, because of all their heavy industry.

      • Dan DeCoteau

        Vermont has true sunlight about 6 out of 12 months. We have cold winters. Snow shoe rabbits used to live in New Mexico. There used to be an ice bridge between Europe and the USA. The earth is 4.5 billion years old and you think you can control the atmosphere!

        • Matthew Davis

          You impact the atmosphere every time you breath…how can you suggest life has no impact on the atmosphere?

        • David Fischer

          In a world in which snow shoe rabbits lived in New Mexico again, the climate could not support close to the 7 or 8 billion humans it currently does. I, for one, want to fight so that millions and potentially billions of people do not die.

      • Glenn Thompson

        “Here’s another surprise: on March 11, from 9 am to 2 pm, California got more than half its electricity from solar energy.”

        Why don’t you use a figure for the entire year instead of ‘cherry picking’? Someone could make the claim, California gets ZERO % of its electricity when the sun is on the other side of the planet, and they would be correct. At least a Nuclear Power plant is capable of producing continuous power 24/7.

        https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/#generation

  • Jason Brisson

    Its actually revenue negative. If you take taxes that were being paid into the general fund, and replace them with a carbon tax that redistributes the $$ to the people paying it…you no longer have $$ going into the general fund. Either the general fund will not be fully funded, or these carbon tax refunds will eventually be shifted to fix that shortfall, and the whole redistribution scheme fails. Why are we trying to address carbon locally in VT, when nationally our federal government still gives subsidies to big oil?

    • Jim Manahan

      Look internationally what is going on in China, India and elsewhere and any sane person will realize this is foolishness and nothing more.

      • bill_christian

        China is doing more to reduce carbon emissions than the U.S. is. They are working like crazy on it. They have cancelled more planned coal plants than we even HAVE. It is incredible. We must do our share as well.

      • Peter Everett

        “Sane” people running Vermont? Hmmmm.

    • Willem Post

      Jason,

      Exactly right.

      Eliminate the sales tax (about $400 million/y), then tax carbon at $400 million/y and give that money back to the people?

      What happens to all the state activities financed with the sales tax.

      Who decides how much goes to whom?

      This was one truly amazing proposal from a legislator.

      Or would carbon taxes be $800 million/y, and then give $400 million/y back to the people, so the state will have an additional $400 million/y to do whatever?

      • bill_christian

        You do not understand the basic principle of this tax. If we choose to use it to eliminate the sales tax, THAT is how the money is given back. We only have to pay gas tax, not sales tax. They would not send a check TOO. Or if we choose to get checks back directly, it would NOT eliminate the sales tax. Read how the tax would work again, and understand it. There are five different plans. Each one would work. Very obviously, you can’t count money twice, and the DON’T.

        • Willem Post

          Bill,

          That is a worse administrative nightmare than Health Connect, a $200 million failure.

          Considering Vermont’s scarce resources, our only choice is to be rational, instead of knee-jerk.

          • JohnGreenberg

            Willem:

            1) “What happens to all the state activities financed with the sales tax[?] Answer: they are funded by the carbon tax.

            2) Please explain the “administrative nightmare” in either taxing carbon or lowering (or eliminating) sales taxes. Are gas taxes an administrative nightmare?”

            You made this comment about the bills filed last year, and there was NO administration necessitated by any of the tax parts of the proposals.

            There was some involved in the parts of the bill to help poor Vermonters consume less energy, but those proposals do not appear to be part of the 4 bills discussed this time, which is why they’re now 100% revenue neutral.

        • Michael Olcott

          so instead of driving to NH to buy taxable goods i go over to Littleton to gas up, sorry but if i have to drive that extra distance to save on gas im most likely gonna buy what i need for basics while over there as well. lose lose for the state of VT.

    • Peter Everett

      Ah, ha. Someone, thankfully, has caught on to government’s workings. Never, ever would there be a permanent drop in any tax that presently exists. Any reduction will be temporary. Within just a few years (if that long) the need to raise those dropped will rise to previous levels, if not higher. Just remember, government, like auto dealerships, are adept at the old “bait and switch” routine. Never do you get what has been advertised.

      • JohnGreenberg

        Federal income tax rates have declined substantially since 1950, and with a tiny blip during the Clinton years, have not been raised. We’ve gone from 93% top marginal rates to less than 40%.

        Vermont income taxes are now lower than they were in 2010.

        Taxes will go up if more revenues are needed, which is a separate issue having nothing to do with HOW tax revenues are raised. This is a red herring.

    • bill_christian

      You are actually wrong. You pay tax on gasoline INSTEAD of sales tax. So the state gets the money it needs, same as before, but different way. Your point is just plain wrong. 1 + 2 = 3. Simple.

      • Jason Brisson

        “You pay tax on gasoline INSTEAD of sales tax.” …And the $$ goes back to consumers INSTEAD of into the general fund. You are actually wrong.

        • JohnGreenberg

          Please explain your comment. It would appear that you’re conflating two separate plans. One calls for cutting sales taxes. Another plan calls for a dividend system. Bill Christian’s comment pertained to the first plan.

          • Jason Brisson

            From the reading of this article it appeared they would all be passed and enacted together: “One of the bills would eliminate the state sales tax. Another would return the proceeds of the carbon tax to Vermonters through regular dividend checks paying everyone the same amount. A third would slash property taxes. The fourth would halve the income tax rate for the lowest tax bracket — to 1.75 percent — and double the earned income tax credit for 40,000 Vermonters.”

          • Glenn Thompson

            We can define these bills for what they are! “Government Experimentation”. This will flop faster than Vermont Health Connect.

        • Matthew Davis

          The dividend concept is a different proposal….

        • Matt Henchen

          Jason, I believe you are mis-interpreting this. There are different proposals. One proposal would give the money back to consumers, but a different proposal would use the money to offset the sales tax. There is no proposal that would give money back to consumers AND replace the sales tax – that as you are aware is impossible without reducing other expenditures or raising revenues.

          • Jason Brisson

            Still hate the carbon tax, but appreciate you clearing that up! Like there isn’t enough dysfunction and confusion already without competing carbon tax proposals…

      • Christopher Bennett

        Right now I can choose not to buy things I can’t afford, like a new car,a six pack, or whatever other non essential my paycheck won’t cover so the sales tax is somthing i can control to a point.However I have to be able to get to work. And like thousands of other Vermonters I don’t work where a car pool is an option. The nearest train station is farther away than my job, and I will not move from the home I built myself 30 years ago just to be close to my job. I could not afford it anyway. This carbon tax would have absolutely no impact on the global warming problem,but have a huge impact on me and thousands of other people in my situation. If you are in an erea where you can take advantage of these things you advocate,good for you. Most working Vermonters can’t. Think of us .

    • David Fischer

      There are a couple of things I think might be interesting in this conversation. First off, we right now have taxes to pay for services. The idea, as far as I can understand, is to *replace* those taxes with a new revenue source that reflects our values. As in the comment posted by Willem Post, the proposal would eliminate the sales tax, and that is how the proposal would give money back to Vermonters. Instead of having a sales tax that drives business across the border to NH and creates disincentives to buy goods sold in VT, we could have a tax that creates disincentives to use excess fuel. So, we wouldn’t have to pay $400 million twice; as far as I understand it, we would raise the revenue from the carbon pollution tax to fund the same programs the sales tax funds now, and then we could have a carbon pollution tax and no sales tax (a tax system which reflects the values of environmental stewardship).
      Whenever I think about whether it makes sense for Vermont to make this change without the federal government, I come up with two questions: what are the chances of environmental protections against climate change under the current administration? What are the costs if America does nothing about climate change? My generation will lose 8.8 trillion dollars if nothing is done about climate change (that’s 20x the federal budget deficit)(http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/NGC%20Demos%20The%20Price%20Tag%20of%20Being%20Young.pdf). As far as I can tell, if we can’t do something about it here in VT, how can we expect anyone else to do something about it?

      • Jason Brisson

        So the well to do pay no tax on their luxury goods, and the Vermonters who get up and drive to work every morning, pay more. Great concept.
        “if we can’t do something about it here in VT, how can we expect anyone else to do something about it?”
        By taking steps that have no measurable effect globally, we are just handicapping ourselves to make a point. A point that would be better made, with measurable effect, instead of demonstrating a lack of feasibility.

  • Peter Everett

    All I want from government is to leave me alone. I pay my taxes, allowing government to do it’s job. Which is to protect my family (police/fire/military), educate my children/grandchildren. Plow and maintain my roads. From there on I expect little from government.
    I believe in helping those in need. Government is the least efficient means of doing so. I would much rather see the additional funds I “voluntarily” give to government for social programs go to more efficient Charitable organizations. I believe that more could be done this way, than by government means.
    Just because government wants to do something, doesn’t mean they can do it well. More often than not, its track record is pretty poor. Forcing people, year in, year out to
    “voluntarily” pay more in taxes doesn’t help very much. Stay out of areas it’s not qualified to be in. Let professionals do their job. Things may be better for one his.
    Those who want government to do more are asking for their freedom of choice to be taken from them. They have no say where their earnings go. Is that what they want? I, for one, would rather choose where my hard earned money goes. Then again, in Vermont, I may be in the minority. I value my freedom. Far to many lean on others to provide for them. I feel bad for those people. They will never feel the satisfaction of accomplishing things for themselves. Self reliance had been the backbone of this country for many years. It is no longer this way…unfortunately.
    .
    .

    • bill_christian

      I agree with your basic theme. Government is not good at deciding what’s best for each of us. But that is why a carbon tax is so extremely important. First, I am certain that burning fossil fuel is a really really bad thing, in the long run, because we will run out and we will permanently change our climate in what is almost certain to be very bad for us. We owe it to our children to leave them as good a life as we’ve had, or better. How to do that? If we penalize the burning of fossil fuel, we are not saying you CAN’T burn it. Just that it’s bad, so try not to, in whatever way YOU choose. When government gives out reward checks for electric cars, it is not fair to people who can’t afford them, and maybe electric cars are not what we need. You are free to chose electric car, to car pool, to live closer to work or work closer from (or at) home, public transportation… the point is, you decide, not the government, and the driving force to do it is higher cost. Because it HAS to be done. If we don’t do a carbon tax we are doomed, long term, in my opinion.

    • Michael Olcott

      “I would much rather see the additional funds I “voluntarily” give to
      government for social programs go to more efficient Charitable
      organizations. I believe that more could be done this way, than by
      government means.”
      Then where are the organizations that you speak of that merely require one to fill out some paperwork and receive assistance for the basics of life? they dont exist,or if they do not in the numbers they are needed to catch those who fall through the cracks and those who capitailism leaves behind.
      “Self reliance had been the backbone of this country for many years.”
      I think you ( and many others) mistake Desperation for self reliance. progress means finding better ways to accomplish the same or greater results and all of the poverty shaming does nothing in this pursuit.

  • Job Tate

    If the goal of these bills is to curb carbon use, what happens to the revenue projections if the goal is successful? If usage were to drop so then would receipts. Apocalypse.

    Also, how does one negotiate the disparity between everyday usage? The Legislators from Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski should do an exchange program with folks from more rural parts of the state and compare gas consumption from just basic living. All of these programs would require rural Vermont to send a disproportionate benefit to the urban areas.

    Lastly – a Boeing 737 holds thousands of gallons of fuel…can we imagine ticket prices out of BTV if this were to happen?

    • JohnGreenberg

      “If usage were to drop so then would receipts. Apocalypse”

      Hardly. If usage DOES drop, the alternative would be to maintain the same amount of revenue by raising the tax rate on the now-lowered usage. Ten cents a gallon on 100 hundred gallons raises the same amount of money (and presumably inflicts the same amount of damage) as $1 on ten gallons.

      • Matt Young

        So the worker willing to drive 50 miles to work should be punished for their “usage” but the non-worker can drive 3 miles to pick up their check and hang out. Got it.

  • George Plumb

    Amazing. more than a 1,000 students from all over Vermont came to a rally at the state house today to ask adults to please do something about climate change. Their future lives depend on our doing something now. They get it. But as evidenced here a lot of adults don’t get it. How can they be so uncompassionate?

    • Skyler Bailey

      Stealing money from people in such a way that it can have no real effect on fossil fuel use, to spend on pet projects that have nothing to do with climate change, is neither saving the world nor compassionate.

    • John Freitag

      George,
      As you well know we need to use both our hearts and our minds when addressing the problems we face. A stand alone carbon tax is simply not a good idea for a state as small as Vermont. A national or perhaps even regional carbon tax may have merit as evidenced by the experiment along these lines in British Columbia, but Phil Scott is right to be skeptical about how it would work here.
      If people really think it might effective , why not first try a carbon tax on airlines using Vermont airports. After all, those who fly are for the most part are those who can afford it. Unfortunately the result is likely to be less use of this service here and more at airports in other states where the cost would be less. There would be an economic loss and no significant environmental gain. Not what we need.

    • Matt Young

      George, “their future lives” don’t depend on non-consequential feel good partisan regulation. Portraying those with Hearts and brains as
      “uncompassionate” is page 1 in the liberal playbook.

  • David Dempsey

    I agree that we should be concerned about our use of fossil fuels. But, in my opinion, the carbon tax is not the solution. If we charge new taxes on oil and natural gas energy, it does nothing to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in the state. To change behavior and reduce carbon emmisions, there needs to be an alternative that the average Vermonter can choose to power their cars and heat their houses. How many Vermonters can afford to buy an electric car or buy solar panels to heat their houses. What about the many elderly and disabled Vermonters, living on only social security fixed incomes. They are going to burn the same amount of fuel oil or gas to heat their houses and trailers after the tax as they did before the tax. Then there is the “first in the nation” affliction that Vermont has developed. If Vermont does it and NH doesn’t, it will only drive business away. The big picture of the future of energy sources is appropriate, but a little common sense is needed instead of passing non effective laws.

    • Paul Richards

      “…there needs to be an alternative that the average Vermonter can choose to power their cars and heat their houses. ” That alternative is new technology in nuclear energy production. It’s time to put our focus on that.

      • JohnGreenberg

        If you’re really an advocate of nuclear power, you should support carbon taxes. The industry does. It would help raise the costs of SOME of their competitors. (Unfortunately for nukes, the cost of nuclear would still be far higher than that of wind and solar).

      • David Dempsey

        I agree Paul. The second generation nuclear plants being developed today will produce negligible waste and may even be able to use the radioactive waste we have already created. But it will be a tough sell to the liberals who think the word nuclear is a four letter word.

    • JohnGreenberg

      “If we charge new taxes on oil and natural gas energy, it does nothing to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in the state.” If that were true, it would defy all known laws of economics. Put simply, increasing the cost of anything reduces the demand for it.

      “There needs to be an alternative that the average Vermonter can choose…” There are actually plenty of alternatives beyond those you mention. Choose more fuel efficient vehicles. Drive less. Eliminate leaks from houses. Insulate them. Do I really need to go on?

      • Matt Young

        Increasing the cost for a needed item does not necessarily reduce the demand for it, it does however create problems for those who rely on the needed item. Funny that now you want to pretend to understand economics.

        • Glenn Thompson

          Well….there are people out there who believe lower income folks can magically reduce their carbon footprint by just doing so. In all the years I lived in Vermont during the winter months, my heating bill was determined by how cold the winters were. A Carbon Tax would not cause me to lower my thermostat any further. There is another reason why my wife doesn’t miss Vt. Winters anymore. Had something to do with what I set the thermostat at. 🙂

          • JohnGreenberg

            “my heating bill was determined by how cold the winters wee” AND how well insulated and sealed your house was AND how high you set your thermostat AND whether or not you used a set-back thermostat AND how efficient your heating system was.

          • Glenn Thompson

            FYI John, my home was well insulated, thermostat set at lowest temp for comfort, and heating system was as efficient as designed. Thus my heating bill was determined by outside temps and the cost of Fuel Oil. What are you attempting to state here that I’m not already aware of?

          • rosemariejackowski

            I set my thermostat at 55 – just enough heat to keep the pipes from freezing. My health has suffered but the pipes are doing OK.

          • Julia Purdy

            You seem to live in a world in which cost is no object, reason rules, and anything is possible. The rest of us don’t live there.

      • Julia Purdy

        The cost of “anything” absolutely does not reduce the demand for it. Demand is driven by need, not the cost. Yes, everyone must distinguish between “needs” and “wants” when they budget, but when there is no budget because every last dime gets spent for necessities and the choice is between two necessities (heat or eat, for example, or the medical copay or stay sick), then your handy equation goes out the window.

  • As in nothing else, climate change allows for no free rides!
    The carbon tax, so called, was an international agreement drawn up in Paris two years ago. Close to 300 countries signed! It isn’t an Alberta or Scotland only kind of thing. We have been asked to turn down our heat and not idle our cars for the past 15 years and no one paid attention. It’s time to wear and sweater and turn down your heat; air conditioning!

    The Yukon who are also invested in carbon tax has turned the money over to an independent organization to manage While BC just let’s them riot with no explanations.

    The earth’s orbit is elliptical and we have been moving away from the sun for a couple years on schedule. However instead of cooling down we are heating up!
    The arctic tundra is thawing and the mechanics of this thaw means it will be thawing faster in the future than current. It stores 1.8 billion tones of carbon dioxide or methane depending only on if it percolates though water or not!

    The Oceans are absorbing much carbon dioxide. This turns to carbolic acid so, we are killing our oceans too!
    It has heated so very much that the glaciers in Greenland and Iceland are melting and calving away at a very rapid pace as is Antarctica! All this is going to quickly raise sea levels and coastal cities (most of the world’s population) will be on the move.

    The warm weather means less ice in the arctic this allows for greater wave action. This in turn is eroding the shore lines and etching away at the cliffs on Herschel island. All this dirt is going into the ocean turning it darker attracting still more heat.

    The result will be a mass immigration unlike anything you can imagine with just 3″ of ocean level increase. Borders will fall! Those of you who complained about our tiny immigration increases just wait until its people from Florida who are trying to find a dry spot to go to.

    The conservative’s idea of cap and trade is like most conservative policies about moving money around with no penalties from taxes. Paris looked at this cap and trade thing and rejected it out of hand.

    There is a school of thought that says we are already too late to do anything about it. There is another in the science community (smaller) who suggest extra carbon dioxide will be good for plant growth and agriculture and ignore the aspect of a rising sea.

    Every one agrees it is coming on faster than what we are ready for.

    • Don Dalton

      We are not killing our oceans with carbolic acid. Although it’s a future and theoretical concern, that CO2 is doing anything significant now is a fiction: https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/icesjms/fsw010

      According to NASA, Antarctica, which holds 90% of land ice, is gaining ice, not losing: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

      • David Zuckerman

        And reading the report it shows that the rate of melting on one side is increasing and the rate of accumulation on the other side is slowing. So while historically it has accumulated ice/water at a much faster rate, that is clearly slowing. A trend that eventually will mean no longer gaining, but actually losing. In the mean time, ice in the northern hemisphere is clearly shrinking (Arctic Ice and Greenland). So the trend is in a very bad direction.

  • Robert M Gifford

    We are already getting taxed to death right this minute. We dont need new taxes to replace old ones in another experiment. What we need is for our State government to stop increasing spending every year. We need each department to do what every Vermonter has been forced to do for a very long time. Figure out how to do your job more efficiently and live in a ” Fixed” budget environment for a while. Vermonters need some time to catch up. Every individual needs to consider their foot print on the environment and take individual action. We dont need a Nanny State attempting to move the herd to another place to see if the grass is greener over there. Adding taxes to Gasoline in this small state when you can easily cross boarders is a foolish idea. There is no way to predict how that would work. Increasing costs will lower demand and the state could very easily see less tax revenue over all. I can see it now people with pickup trucks full of gas cans going to NH to fill up for a few weeks of lower cost driving or home heating. Legislators will once again be scrambling to raise more revenues because they never addressed the core issues in the first place. They spend all their time talking about plastic bags and dodging legal weed legislation when they need to work on efficient government first.

  • Jason Brisson

    Call the carbon tax what it is–a commuter and rural Vermont tax!

    • bill_christian

      So be it. It is also a jet set flying tax and a yacht owner tax, big-time. Also a freighter tax (as in “let’s build them here in Vermont instead of in China where we have to ship them 9,000 miles with expensive oil”.) If you burn fossil fuel you pay more so don’t.

      • Jason Brisson

        “So be it.” If the state had spent years building a diversified economy around the state, instead of dumping $$ into Chittenden County, we might all be able to walk/bike/public transit to our employ. They didn’t, and we can’t. Already there is a tax on gas of $.25/gallon or more now–thats 9-10% of the cost to fill up already, and you want everyone to pay MORE just so some people can pat themselves on the back and say they did something?!
        “If you burn fossil fuel you pay more so don’t.” I can understand that with pleasure/recreational craft, but we’re talking about peoples liviiehoods here–transportation to employment. If they don’t get to work, they don’t get paid, and the state doesn’t get its cut of those taxes.
        Provide better clean burning/energy efficient solutions that wean us off fossil fuels, instead of a regressive tax that hurts the most vulnerable in Vermont. Retool/rebuild the economy for a clean energy future, that doesn’t require fossil fuels, and immediately stop providing subsidies to oil/gas/coal! If you believe a carbon tax in Vermont will have any measurable impact on global CO2 levels, you are fooling yourself.

      • Glenn Thompson

        Astonishing statement! “So be it”. Shaking head!

  • Bradford H Morgan

    Capitalism is great as an economic engine but is terrible as a social system. Because it is so bad at distributing wealth and income in the first place, to make capitalism humane (Christian?) there must be some form of redistribution. So stop saying the word “redistribution” as if it’s an obscenity.

  • rosemariejackowski

    Sit in the dark in freezing cold houses and it won’t really help. Stop driving – it won’t help much. The big issue that no one talks about it the military. The Pentagon is the greatest threat to the environment that has ever existed on the planet. Until we change that – nothing we do will make much difference. But many will continue to change their light bulbs to make themselves feel better.
    How about that big bomb we just exploded in Afghanistan…. a mighty big carbon footprint there.

  • Julia Purdy

    As with all regressive flat taxes, this would make life that much harder for low- and moderate-income people who have to drive to get to work. What counts is cash-on-hand for people who live paycheck to paycheck. Every dollar that goes out at the gas pump is the dollar that you must spend on some other necessity. Ever had the problem of not having enough cash to actually buy gas for the car? Not everyone has a credit card!
    The only bills that make any sense here are the ones that offer an immediate payback, that would eliminate the state sales tax and, to a lesser extent, the other that would pay out dividend checks. The other proposals make sense only for those (a) have a guaranteed regular salary or discretionary income, (b) can afford to wait until the earned income credit kicks in at tax time, or (c) own a business or property.

  • Julia Purdy

    Nothing like penalizing people for driving to work, to school, to the supermarket. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Rankings — county by county nationwide — measure social conditions as factors in health, and one category is time spent driving to work. In the “worst Vermont counties,” 45% of people who commute alone, drive more than 30 minutes to work. The state mean in this category is 29%. I mention this, not for its effect on health, but to illustrate the fact that many, many Vermonters drive long, long distances daily to get to work. From one side of the state to the other is not uncommon. From Rutland to Burlington is not uncommon. Nor is from somewhere in Vermont to somewhere in New Hampshire. When I lived in Rochester within sight of Route 73 over Brandon Gap, I could set my watch by the 5 a.m. car that passed my house going east, every day, in all weathers.
    Soon, because of Act 46 school unification, many children will have to be bused or ferried by parents 2-3 times the distance they used to travel to their own local school.
    Even so-called “revenue neutral” plans put pressure on everyone’s pocketbook to cover that extra cost at the gas pump, and clearly some will bear the brunt much harder than others.
    And the effect on global climate change will be negligible. Our cars are not where the greatest threat to the climate is coming from.