10-20-16 – The Senate and the Carbon Tax

by Rob Roper

For the past two years, moving a Carbon Tax forward has been the focus of the House Natural Resources and Energy 6251835501_465fc6da03_bCommittee. The Vermont senate has not had much to say on the subject, focused as they were on passing laws regarding the siting of renewable energy generation facilities. That could change in a big way come January.

In a recent story by Vermont Watchdog, Senator Chris Bray (D-Addison), who chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee, said that, “the principle behind a carbon tax is a moral and logical one,” and that he thinks, “it’s possible to build that cost [of burning fossil fuels] into a product [gas, diesel, heating oil, etc.] in a non-crippling way.” In other words, we should do it and we can do it. And, if you look at the renewable energy siting law Bray’s committee crafted, he doesn’t seem to care very much if Vermonters actually want to do it.

Two other potential senate changes could have major ramifications for the future of the Carbon Tax, the elections of David Zuckerman to the lieutenant governorship, and that of Rep. Chris Pearson to the Senate in November.

If Zuckerman wins his bid against Randy Brock, he will preside over the senate and sit on the Committee on Committees, which determines who holds critical leadership positions. Zuckerman is an outspoken proponent of the Carbon Tax, has produced a video endorsement featuring himself and environmental extremist Bill McKibben, and spoken himself in support of the Carbon Tax at a Vermont 350 rally last fall.

Pearson is the lead sponsor on one of the two pieces of Carbon Tax legislation that were in the House last session, and he is a founding member of the House Climate Caucus.

These three people in these three positions – Lt. Governor presiding over the senate, chairman of the Senate Natural Resource & Energy Committee, and a lead legislative organizer for the Carbon Tax moving from the house to the senate, would mean you can count on the Carbon Tax being front and center in the Senate in 2017.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff October 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm

The majority of people in Vermont don’t want this tax and can’t afford it. This tax the mileage tax and the service tax will really hurt the middle class.


Jim Bulmer October 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Moral and logical???? BS!!!! Who does he think he’s kidding??? For once in your life, be honest with the folks!! The carbon tax debate I nothing more than an excuse to cloth another tax scheme in patriotic colors. Just one more of too many examples of TAX AND SPEND!!!!!!


Jeanne Vittorioso October 22, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Moral and logical?, non-crippling? Baloney! Maybe the people who want to implement the carbon tax can afford it. I can’t afford an extra few hundred bucks for each kerosene tank filling! I’ll have to shop on line for groceries if they add the gas tax. Please! Do they stop and REALLY think about the general public affording it and those on fixed SSI and retirement incomes? If they want to save energy and emissions, I think more wind and solar energy should be used and should be a required part of building plans for new homes and businesses. Less spending and controlled, thoughtful government spending and maybe a smaller government, is required. Not more taxes. Cut back. Stop taxing us more and bring in more businesses and stores for jobs and revenue.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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