7-8-16 – VIPRG’s Misleading Carbon Tax Poll

by Rob Roper

Energy Independent Vermont, the Carbon Tax advocacy coalition led by VPIRG, just released a poll that they claim shows support in Vermont for a Carbon Tax. The poll question is, however, extremely misleading. Here’s what they asked:

“This Energy Independence proposal would do the following: Establish a statewide Energy Independence Fund to help Vermonters reduce their home heating and transportation costs and weatherize public buildings, like schools; Finance the Energy Independence Fund with a carbon pollution tax paid by the companies that import oil, gas, or other fossil fuels into Vermont. It would not apply to electricity; Cut state taxes for all Vermonters and Vermont businesses, with additional rebates for low-income Vermonters, so that we are protected from fossil fuel companies passing on their costs. Does this sound like something you would support or oppose?”

First, “cut state taxes for all Vermonters”. No, this proposal is a substantial net tax increase. Yes, they propose to move the tax shells around the board, but the pea winds up in their pocket. This statement refers to the part of the proposal that would reduce the state sales tax from 6% to 5%. All well and good, but is this really going to have a major positive impact on people crossing the border to shop in zero tax New Hampshire? Doubtful. Employers would receive a per-employee rebate — the largest employer being, of course, the state — but this is not a tax cut, it is supposed to mitigate, in part, the cost of paying the tax. To describe it as a tax cut isn’t quite honest.

Perhaps most importantly, the question fails to mention that the Carbon Tax proposal being discussed would specifically raise the cost of every gallon of gasoline purchased by 89¢ when the tax is fully implemented, a $1.02 increase for diesel and home heating oil with similar increases for propane, natural gas, kerosene, butane and aviation fuel. Kind of an important detail that, if revealed, might – just might — impact support for this scheme.

The question is a craftily misleading when it describes “additional rebates for low-income Vermonters, so that WE [emphasis added] are protected from fossil fuel companies passing on their costs. “WE” implies everybody taking part in the poll, but in reality only applies to households earning 200% of poverty level or less — about $25,000 a year. Any household earning more that that receives no protection whatsoever from the price increases outlined above. Vermont’s middle class will be hammered by this tax.

So one wonders what the carbon footprint is from all the smoke being blown by VPIRG and their poll?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim Lavigne July 8, 2016 at 9:18 pm

What is the best way to get out and fight this nonsense?


jim bulmer July 8, 2016 at 10:41 pm

A carbon tax is absolutely obserd!!!! Money going down a sink hole. Further, once the camel is in the tent, LOOK OUT!!! There is no guarantee that the rate will not be INCREASED in the years ahead.


Ken July 9, 2016 at 1:46 am

I cannot believe the democratic legislature would even think of stealing our money in this sneaky way. They must think the average Vermonter is a fool. If India and China continue to pollute, how will this taking of our money help?? How many Vermonters waste money by heating their homes to hot in the winter and drive to much? ZERO, just the amount they should take from us on this topic.


Mark cantwell July 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Thank goodness someone questions this craziness.
Some facts are that they use a model from REMI, a Mass company that has not been validated or subjected to peer review to make outlandish claims about how the carbon tax will improve VT’s economy. Second they extol the carbon tax and results from BC province in Canada. They fail to realize that China has been pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into Vancouver alone for the last decade, which obscures the deleterious effect of the carbon tax to a large extent. Finally look at Australia which repealed a modest carbon tax when they realized it was destroying their economy and providing no environmental benefit.


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