Roper: Those sneaky carbon tax supporters

By Rob Roper

Last fall, carbon tax supporters staged a major push to build support for their latest carbon taxing scheme, the ESSEX Plan. It has been a flop to say the least. So, to keep this zombie concept out of the grave where it belongs and roaming the countryside (at least long enough to get past the November election) carbon taxers shifted their efforts to passing a taxpayer-funded “study” of various carbon taxing concepts (H.763). Even this has received a tepid response. The governor said he would veto it. So, now their hope is to stick the language from the stand-alone bill into the “must-pass” budget bill, where they hope the thing will become law by default.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Whether or not that happens is currently in the hands of the House Appropriations Committee, which can add funding for the carbon tax study directly into to the budget (the Big Bill) — or not. Incorporating H.763 into the Big Bill would allow legislators to pass it without having to cast a direct roll call vote in support of the carbon tax agenda. Pretty sneaky, huh! Not doing so would leave the bill to languish “on the wall” to die.

The language in H.763 would direct the Joint Fiscal Office to evaluate the costs and benefits of various carbon tax proposals. JFO testified against the bill, saying that they did not have the expertise to perform the study and that subcontracting the job to a qualified consultant would be cost prohibitive, far exceeding the $100,000 allocated.

The political dynamic at play here is that support for the carbon tax outside the Statehouse is driven primarily by influential big donors from the renewable energy industry. These folks would benefit mightily from a carbon tax that would simultaneously drive up the cost of their competitors’ products while providing taxpayer-funded subsidies, either directly or indirectly, to their own businesses. Those donors want to see something for their money, even if it’s just a study that keeps the ball moving down the field.

(FYI, members of the House Appropriations committee are, Reps. Kitty Toll (Chair, D-Danville), Peter Fagan (R-Rutland), Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester), Martha Feltus (R-Lyndon), Robert Helm (R-Castleton), Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier), Berard Juskiewicz (R-Cambridge), Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes), Mathew Trieber (D-Rockingham), and David Yacavone (D-Morristown).

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

Images courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org and Rob Roper

8 thoughts on “Roper: Those sneaky carbon tax supporters

  1. The beneficiaries are the ones working on compliance.This is a “Make work” program for liberal arts degreed idealists.The create a whole agency structure,from inspectors and beancounters,to those at the top as administrators working political cocktail parties,pushing policy. It has no place in the real “expensive” world.

  2. Not complicated, follow the money and see who benefits the most. You can bet you bottom biffy it won’t be the common folks in Vermont. Take away the subsidies and watch the real beneficiaries desert Vermont like a sinking ship.

  3. The State of Vermont set a goal of 90% renewable & sustainable energy by 2050, this can only be accomplished by subsidies, manipulation and collaboration with cronies who can profit from it as they make it happen. The schemes we concoct to promote synthetic economic development in this state is exactly why we will never be able to achieve it. Deterioration of our standard of living only creates more of the same.
    The carbon tax will most likely kill the host, the question is who will feed the beast when that happens?

  4. Vermont Unilateral Carbon Tax an Economic Headwind:

    The infamous ESSEX plan is a big, multi-decade, government-directed, socialistic, wealth transfer tax from the tax-paying middle class to the tax-consuming lower class. It is a vote-getting project of big-government Democrats and Progressives. It will do NOTHING to reduce global warming.

    Various RE interests and lobbyists are going around the state to promote a unilateral carbon tax to boost RE businesses, because future federal subsidies will be decreasing.

    The unilateral carbon tax would take $240 to $300 million out of people’s pockets and transfer it to the state government. A unilateral carbon tax would significantly increase the cost of gasoline and diesel for driving, and of fuel oil and propane for heating.

    As part of various state programs, some people would get some money back as rebates, many others would get nothing back, or much less than paid in, similar to Efficiency Vermont’s surcharge on electric bills.

    The owners of low/medium income rental apartment buildings (mostly in Burlington, Rutland, Montpelier, etc.), a powerful lobby in Montpelier, would get carbon tax funds to 1) insulate and seal their buildings and 2) install subsidized solar systems (Chinese panels), subsidized heat pumps (Japanese) and subsidized Powerwall 2.0 batteries (Arizona); hard-earned money leaving Vermont.

    For Vermont to impose a unilateral carbon tax would make its economy less competitive versus other states, i.e., more brain drain, more TAX-PAYING households leaving the state (TAX-CONSUMING households are staying), and fewer good-paying, steady, full-time jobs, with good benefits in the private sector. A unilateral carbon tax would be another headwind for the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

    A unilateral carbon tax would further aggrandize Vermont’s government, which is too large, too inefficient, is too bloated with programs, and is spending too much money and running annual deficits that are offset with annual increases of taxes, fees and surcharges, as if money grows on trees.

    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-energy-transformation-and-carbon-tax
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/unilateral-regressive-carbon-taxes-a-headwid-for-the-vermont

    After six long years of out-of-control government spending, Vermont finally has a governor, who aims to reduce the bloated, wasteful state government to enable the anemic, hollowed-out private sector to start growing again.

  5. R,

    VPIRG is one of the big promoters of the ESSEX plan.
    VPIRG is financed by Blittersdorf, et al.

    Many state employees are members, or are on the board of, or act as consultants and advisors to RE organizations.

    It is rank incest, a la EB-5.

    Just start googling.

    • Then why no INCLUDE that. If you’re going to call them out, by all means call them out and do it succinctly. If it’s VPIRG or whomever, be done with it. Cut with the ambiguity, “those guys” , “big donors” …. Everyone knows this is the game of politics. If you want to stand out above those guys, have some conviction.

      Hey, I certainly admire what Roper and his crew are doing in the bluest of blue states, they’ve got fortitude I’ll give them that. My wallet certainly couldn’t handle VT any longer, I jumped ship before it sank all the way to the bottom.

    • EB-5 is not a good comparison. One financier of one project played loose with the funds, but Jay Peak and Burke Mtn. are operating and doing well. The scandal is the renewable industrial complex, which for a decade has been manipulating state government and the PSB to line its pockets, always under radar where ordinary citizens can’t fathom what they’re up to. .

  6. All talk about “big donors” but no names. Stop pointing fingers in a general direction with scary phrases like “Big donors” and give us the names with some facts to back it up!

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