The market-flavored approach of the Carbon Dividends Plan may seem like a great compromise to the creators. However, some fundamental flaws and unwelcome implications immediately become apparent.
Whereas two years ago environmentalists encouraged Vermont legislators to adopt a carbon tax that included an 88-cent tax per gallon of gas, they are now softening their demands to the tune of a 40-cent tax. A carbon tax that is slightly less cruel to poor Vermonters is hardly reason to support a “new and improved” carbon tax.
In what many view as a stark about-face, College Republicans across the country are endorsing a carbon tax to address climate change.
What these folks are actually advocating is that Vermonters live with both the natural impacts of climate change plus the self-inflicted economic wounds of useless climate change policies.
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.
Like a Trojan horse you come to our town with collaborators inside your belly, waiting to begin the frenzy of activism that will ensue as you troll for support. Do you not see how using manipulation and subsidies to prematurely realize your dreams only suppresses economic development?
Having the government force a bunch of small businesses to subsidize their electric bills is good for Ben & Jerry’s business, as Burns notes. But he is not telling the truth when he implies this is good for Vermont business in general. It’s not.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s inability to marshal a hefty price tag on carbon emissions through the liberal state’s legislature does not portend good things for a similar push on the national stage.
Eventually, when the carbon tax drives out all fossil fuel and all users have switched (at considerable expense) to higher cost electricity, there’s nothing left to subsidize that electricity. You’re stuck.
Wealthy Vermonters who have the financial wherewithal to install solar panels, buy Priuses and live in newer, better insulated housing can take full advantage of the ESSEX plan.
Enacting the ESSEX Plan will damage Vermont’s economy, place an undue and unfair burden on lower-income Vermonters and encourage more people to leave Vermont in search of better economic opportunity.