8-20-14 – Energy efficiency upgrade

posted by John McClaughry

You may have noticed that the state’s general fund came up $31 million short on July 1, and the Shumlin administration is trying to cut back spending to keep the fund in the black.

But on July 2 Gov. Shumlin manufactured a media bash in Morrisville to announce that he‘s distributing seven hundred seventy thousand dollars to reward homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements to their homes. He says “it’s part of our plan to have a cleaner greener Vermont and grow jobs and economic opportunity while we do it.”

The new money will subsidize energy efficiency loan interest rates for home and business investments in insulation, heat pumps, solar hot water heaters, and the like.

Those are all worthy ideas, but who’s paying for all this? It turns out Shumlin is skimming cash from electric ratepayers and Shumlin’s favorite spending faucet, the Clean Energy Development Fund, which got some serious cash from Shumlin’s power merger deal.

In plain English, electric ratepayers and taxpayers are making these subsidies possible.

Now, if electric and thermal efficiency is a good thing, which it is, why are the ratepayers and taxpayers being made to pay for other people’s benefits? Why don’t the lucky recipients pay for their own investments out of the savings from reduced electric and heating oil bills? Shumin won’t go there because that route doesn’t involve government spending programs that he has the uncontrollable urge to claim credit for.

– John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

The Ethan Allen Institute is a 501c3 non profit organization dedicated to promoting liberty and free market solutions for Vermont. We are supported by small, local donors such as yourself. Join the cause. Be part of the solution! JOIN HERE! Contributions are tax deductible.

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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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