Vermont Dems debate pot, carbon tax, guns and ed funding at campaign face-off

This article by Susan Smallheer originally appeared July 8 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

DUMMERSTON CENTER — The Evening Star Grange was a sauna Thursday night, as the three Democrats vying for the two seats in the Vermont House answered questions about the legalization of marijuana, whether they supported a carbon tax, education funding and school consolidation and gun “safety” — not control.

state of Vermont

State Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, announced in April that he was retiring after serving his 15th term in the Vermont Legislature.

With the retirement of longtime Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, and the plan by Rep. Michael Mrowicki, D-Putney, to seek another term, newcomers Cindy Jerome and Nader Hashim, both of Dummerston, also announced their candidacies for the Windham-4 seat. There are no known Republicans or independents seeking the seats.

Mrowicki, Jerome and Hashim will face off on Aug. 14 during the statewide primary, and then run unopposed in the Nov. 6 General Election. The district includes the towns of Westminster, Putney and Dummerston.

Many of the questions submitted by the audience dealt with school funding and governance issues.

“We have a great school. Why would we want to change it?” said Jerome to applause.

Mrowicki said that Dummerston school had “some of the best outcomes in our state.”

Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Images courtesy of Public domain and state of Vermont

8 thoughts on “Vermont Dems debate pot, carbon tax, guns and ed funding at campaign face-off

  1. I can’t believe there are no republicans, libertarians or independents in Windham county to run against these liberals. Has the Southern part of the State gone that far left? It’s no wonder this Sate is going to crap.. Unbelievable…..

  2. “He said gun safety would help prevent suicides as well.”

    Based on real data from the UK, the gun ban of 1997 actually showed an increase of suicides for the next 3-4 years and slowed the overall rate of decline prior to the ban. People found other methods. It is unclear from the data why there was an increase in 1998-2001. The overall suicide rate per 100,000 in 2016 (most recent data available) is almost where it was just prior to the ban in 1996.

  3. Carbon Tax Impact On A Typical Vermont Family, as reported on VTDigger:

    – The carbon tax would impose a $10 per ton tax of carbon emitted in 2017, increasing to $100 per ton in 2027.
    – The carbon tax would generate about $100 million in state revenue in 2019 and about $520 million in 2027.
    – The carbon tax would be added to the fuel prices at gas stations and fuel oil/propane dealers. Drivers should expect a tax increase of 9-cent per gallon of gasoline in 2017, increasing to about 89 cents in 2027.
    – Homeowners, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc., should expect a tax increase of 58-cent tax per gallon of propane and $1.02 per gallon of heating oil and diesel fuel in 2027.
    – A typical household (two wage earners, two cars, in a free-standing house) would pay additional taxes in 2027 of about:
    – Some of the carbon tax extortion would be at the pump, some when the monthly fuel bills arrive, and some as higher prices of OTHER goods and services.

    Driving = $0.89/gal x 2 x 12000 miles/y x 1/(30 miles/gal) = $712/y
    Heating = $1.02/gal x 800 gal/y = $816/y
    Total carbon tax in 2027 = $1528/y
    Sales tax reduction 5/6 x 1400 = $233/y
    Net tax increase = $1295/y

    – The hypocritical sop of reducing the sales tax from 6 to 5 percent would save that household about $233 in sales taxes, for a net loss of $1295 in 2027. That means such households, the backbone of the Vermont economy, would have about $1300/y less to make ends meet.
    – Many of these households have had stagnant or declining, spendable real incomes (after taxes, fees, surcharges; other recurring expenses, etc.), plus dealing with a near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, since 2000.
    – With less real income, and higher real prices for goods and services, they also would have to make their own energy efficiency improvements.


    The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, goal aims to “transform” the Vermont economy. It would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017 – 2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network 2015 Annual Report. The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees of at least $970 million per year for 33 years.

    Proposed Carbon Tax Bill: A large group of Vermont legislators, pressured by RE and other special interests, co-sponsored a bill to enact a law to impose a unilateral, regressive carbon tax on already-struggling households and businesses. Fortunately, the proposed bill died in committee. Governor Scott is against any unilateral carbon tax and against any additional wind turbines on ridgelines. However, RE and other special interests continue to drum up support for their carbon tax that would line their pockets at the expense of all others.

    To make the proposed bill appear attractive, the bill had the usual lip-service statement about Vermont’s government returning the carbon tax revenues in a “revenue-neutral” manner, i.e., in the form of tax credits, subsidies, rebates, grants, etc. The tax credits, etc., were purposely left vague and were circumscribed in ways so people and companies would have no way of knowing who would qualify for what credit, and what they would get back.

    The carbon tax would be increasing to $520 million per year, less 10% as subsidies for the Home Weatherization Assistance Fund, HWAF, and the Vermont Energy Independence Fund, VEIF, less sales tax reduction from 6% to 5%*, would yield the “leftover” carbon tax. All of that could not take place without some state and local bureaucrats spending time on it. The below table shows a state and local government administration cost of 5%.

    * Sales tax reduction, per proposed bill would be:

    Fiscal year 2018, $31.5 million
    Fiscal year 2019, $48.6 million
    Fiscal year 2020, and after, $66.8 million

  5. What is wrong with you Vermonters?? You are seriously going to let a Democrat run UNOPPOSED?? This is why your state is circling the drain right now, you have been voting Democrat way to long. How far does your standard of living have to fall before you figure it out? Surely there must be one citizen among you with a desire to make things better? Would someone run as a Republican please.

    • Exactly, part of the reason I jumped ship. Now that I’m in a safely red state my walled is much less chafed.

  6. So Hashim, a State Police trooper, said he favored a more extensive background check requirement, and waiting periods.

    He’s been with the State Police for seven years and can’t wait to continue to gut our rights. How about this, Mr. Hashim – I served with the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer for 25 years and believe our VT Constitution has served us quite well for the past 225 years.

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