Roper: Pro-carbon tax SunCommon has more representation in Vermont House than any district

Editor’s note: This is a loose transcript of remarks made by Ethan Allen Institute President Rob Roper at the Jan. 9 Anti-Carbon Tax Rally in Montpelier.

It’s kind of chilly today, huh? How many of you feel like paying an extra dollar a gallon for home heating fuel during our long Vermont winters? How many of you drove here today? How would you feel about paying an extra 40 to 90 cents per gallon for gasoline, and more for diesel?

That’s what’s at stake with the carbon tax. It is regressive tax that harms the poor and those who live in rural communities the hardest. It is a terrible policy – period — but particularly bad for a state like Vermont that is rural, struggling with affordability, and, I don’t need to point out, cold! So, why, year after year, do we have to deal with this idiotic policy proposal? Every time dies its inevitable inglorious death this unwanted, economy-killing thing seems to dig its way out of the grave in January like some kind of zombie apocalypse.

Ethan Allen Institute President Rob Roper

Elections have been fought over the issue. Governor Scott has promised to veto it. A promise we all expect him to keep. So, why is this even still an issue?

Here’s one reason. Two employees of SunCommon, the VPIRG for-profit spin-off that feeds on renewable energy subsidies, plus the wife of the company’s president now serve in the Vermont House. Mike McCarthy of St. Albans, Becca White of Hartford, and Kari Dolan, the new House rep from Waitsfield, is the wife of Chach Curtis, President of SunCommon. Revenue from the carbon tax will funnel either directly or indirectly into their coffers. Do you think these folks will be considering their constituents’ best interests when this comes up for a vote?

Now, think about this for a second. This company, SunCommon, of about 100 employees now has more representation in the Vermont House than any single district in the state! More than a 9,000 plus, two-member district like, for example, Williston. More than than the 22 Northeast Kingdom towns represented by Connie Quimby and Paul Lefebvre combined.

Is this what Democracy looks like? I think not! What this is is a special interest, crony socialist attack on the Vermont taxpayer. That is all this is.

Proponents of the carbon tax will say ‘No, this is about climate change and saving the planet.’ No, it’s not. A carbon tax – either statewide, or regionally, or even nationally — will have no impact on the climate whatsoever. That is what the science says.

You can believe whole-heartedly in climate change and mankind’s role in it, but there is no reason – no science – to believe this tax is a solution. What does the science say about what a carbon tax would do to, say, stop the next Tropical Storm Irene? It will do nothing.

And here I want to call out the Vermont press corps. I can’t recall a single time in the past five years that the Vermont press corps has asked advocates of the carbon tax what impact this policy will have on future climate trends. Our press allows these people to say things like “Can you imagine a Vermont without snow? Or without maple syrup, or fall colors? Or that extreme weather events are costing us millions! The implication is that if we pass this carbon tax it will be a solution. This is fraud. If a private company advertised like this it would be sued for fraud. But never, never do our reporters ask these carbon tax zealots what impact – if any – the policies they are advocating for will have on future climate trends or weather events.

Why not? Is it because you don’t want to be the ones who show that this emperor has no clothes? This is journalistic malpractice. Vermonters deserve to know what they are getting – and not getting – for their taxpayer dollars, and it is your job to hold them accountable. Do it.

And for our Vermont legislators, you need to do your job too. The debate over a Vermont carbon tax has been going on since 2013. That’s plenty of time for all sides to make their case. It’s time to put an end to it. Put it to a vote. Both the advocates for this policy and the opponents deserve closure on this. So, put it to a vote. This year. This session. Yes or no.

If the carbon tax is a great idea that will, as the advocates promise, somehow be an economic boon for our state — save the ski resorts, maple syrup and fall foliage, and ensure that Vermont will never suffer another adverse weather event — then why wouldn’t you enthusiastically vote for it. Proudly sign your name on the dotted line in a roll call vote. You’ll be a hero.

But, if in your heart of hearts you know this a job killer that will ultimately hit the poor the hardest, using their tax dollars to subsidize the wealthiest Vermonters who can afford to drive Teslas and install heat pumps, and make Vermont an even more unaffordable, uncompetitive place to live, work, and play, then vote no. Not just no, but hell no. And put this thing to bed.

Put this annoying distraction behind us so that you can concentrate on getting our economy moving in the right direction again: putting our young people to work, fixing our education system that has been mangled by Act 46, the things most of you ran on. Honestly, I didn’t see many your campaign ads last October saying elect me and I’ll pass a carbon tax.

That’s because you know that a carbon tax is bad policy for Vermont. Whether you call it a carbon tax, or carbon pricing, or a carbon dividend, or some other clever name, this is nothing but a stew of bad policy and corrupt politics. Say no. Vote No. And do it now.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

16 thoughts on “Roper: Pro-carbon tax SunCommon has more representation in Vermont House than any district

  1. Clearly, Mike McCarthy of St. Albans, Becca White of Hartford, and Kari Dolan of Waitsfield all should be required to recuse themselves from any issues or votes relating to renewable energy or the carbon tax ! Their refusal should trigger an ethics investigation and impeachment proceedings in the House !

  2. It’s just another scam, watch what elected officials push for this nonsense and then
    you can follow the money ………they have no shame !!

    Lobbyist, organized to influence legislators with a little $$$$$$$$ pretty easy job.

  3. Good exposé. But, it won’t resolve the problems with corrupt politics. Two party systems are inheritantly broken, especially when lobbying is thrown into the mix. Lobbying allows money to make decisions instead on logic and responsibility. As long as bribery is legal, government can’t be found reliable.
    Tongue in cheek so to speak, I do give credit to many appointees in government who struggle against the corruption to take care of roads, waste treatment, water supplies, law enforcement, etc..

  4. Rob, Right on!!!! As I have said many a time, “follow the money” and that’s exactly what Rob has done. When the critical vote come up in the legislature, it will be revealing to see if McCarthy, White, Quimby, and Dolan recuse themselves because of the blatant conflict of interest. Don’t hold you breath.

    • Mike, Connie Quincy has nothing to do with that cast of characters listed .Her name was used only to compare the suncommon representation in the legislature to the size of her district.. The day she votes for a carbon tax I’ll resign.

  5. Want to see the money and inside dealings of lobbyists trying to get the carbon tax passed? For the past weeks VNRC has been running massive banners on top of all of Vermont Digger. When I called out VT Digger in the past, where the coincidentally had massive ads from the Vermont unions coincidentally all around there stories supporting those state employees needing more money, my comment never reached the light of day, and two hours later all the ads were removed from aroun the story…hmmmmmm.

  6. I bet $100 Vermont Digger will never investigate this little self dealing group, and will our ethic commission investigate? Don’t they have some people from VPIRG on the ethics commissions?

    Hahahahahah we are so fn’ corrupt. Wonder why we got a d-, we must have cheated there too, because clearly we got an F. EB-5 anyone?

    Wonder why we got D- in ethics.? It was our main platform, wonder why no major,paper, didn’t cover it? Oh that’s right the major editor of seven days shares her life with Tim Ashe, conveniently in charge of the Vermont senate.

    What other inside connections can we complete? Perhaps this is a bigger scandal than eb-5? Ther are a ton of informed vVermonters out there, let’s help Rob connect some more dots, that would make,for an interesting legislative session, hopefully True North Reports has the stomach to delve into this incesstuous brew.

  7. Thank you for pointing out how lobbyists are truly running our state. I’m embarrassed to say when running for house I had no idea about Kari Dolan’s connection.

    This does explain the all out effort for her to be in office, she did knock on a ton of doors. She also had massive mailing support, at least 3 massive mailings that went to all the voters in the district, teamed up with encumbent Maxine Grad. When you looked at fine print it was paid for by conservation voters. Conservation voters share board members with VNRC. Conservation voters grad legislators on bills the VNRC is lobbying to get passed in our state.

    The advertising done on her house campaign was of epic proportions, never before seen in our little area.

    It all makes too much sense. Vermont is clearly ahead of Washington, D.C. when it comes to inside dealings and lobbyists.

    Great report rob, sad day for Vermont

  8. Am I wrong or does this seem like a major conflict of interest that should be investigated by the ethics committee? It seems that any bill that would benefit a company and, concomitantly, its employees or family members of employees should be cause for those individuals to recuse themselves from consideration and voting. Put simply, the SunCommon employees and wife of the President should be prohibited from casting votes on any initiative that directly or indirectly benefits SunCommon.

  9. Part of it is Generation Fail is hoping to save their legacy after turning America into a third world country.

    Generation Fail has no morals and will lie like crazy an as mentioned go unchallenged in this freak show society.

    The public paid $4.00 a gallon for fuel a few years ago and consumption went on as usual. Right there is proof all the freaks an or con artists are liars in the same category as the liar they complain about in the white house. Trump & The Clinton’s represent the morals of Generation Fail.

    I was born in the late 50’s, this isn’t what the 21st Century was supposed to look like. Generation Fail made a mess of everything an their brain washed young pets truly believe they have been educated by Generation Fail and haven’t the first clue they have been indoctrinated into a cult of stupidity by shysters.

    Generation Fail created Food Stamp Nation which is one giant Amusement Park with a coast to coast all we can eat buffet staffed by people who live in poverty. Ross Perot said we would become a nation of burger flippers and was right.

    Republicans are products of America’s education industry an so poorly educated they can’t beat the shysters running The Suffering Industry that uses fear mongering to grow it’s power base by exploiting peoples suffering an or fears.

    Want to shut them up about a carbon tax, promote sin taxes on the wasteful use of energy for entertainment an or living high on the hog. Also expose the lifestyles of the shysters and their own personal excessive carbon foot prints. My guess is every carbon tax advocate uses multiple times as much energy as I do while owning 10 times as much stuff including all the building material that went into building their yuppie castles.

  10. Thanks Rob!
    Let’s hope the legislature puts this issue to rest soon! Why should the state take more of our hard earned money and spread it around ? More beaureaucrats and tax men to make life better. No thanks

  11. Thanks Bill and Willem, well said. VPIRG and this spin off, Suncommon, are a curse on Vermont’s working poor, not to mention the real middle class or what is left of it. Having had “visits” from the panhandlers from VPIRG at my farm passing themselves off as workers for the environment, driving cars I couldn’t afford, I spotted the fraud instantly. Please keep an eye on those 3 legislators and their votes.

    • Don’t forget the VNRC, they all share the same bed. It’s amazing how lobbyists hide behind the cloak of non profits. The head of VNRC, Brian Shupe lives in our town, good friends with Kari Dolan, our local news paper, etc etc. there are no coincidences.

  12. Big Solar will have known every inch of the Vermont State House before it unabashedly places its hands in our depleting wallets.

  13. Hi Bob,

    A great summary straight from the heart

    I agree with every word.

    It is utterly undemocratic for a bunch of RE insiders to stir up so much trouble with the sole aim of gorging at the subsidy trough for decades at the expense of the already struggling, overtaxed middle and lower income households.

    It is time to railroad these people out of the state.

    They are not real Vermonters.

    They are interlopers, masquerading as Socialist dogooders, while lining their pockets behind the scenes.

    We will all be better off without them leaching of us.

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