Big Carbon Tax Back on the Table

October 14, 2019

by Rob Roper

This past Friday (October 11) at the Renewable Energy Conference Burlington’s Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger (D), flanked by VPIRG, announced support for a massive, statewide Carbon Tax on Vermonters, which would ultimately lead to a roughly $1.70 per gallon tax on home heating and vehicle fuels. The proposal is similar to one proposed by VPIRG back in 2014 only larger in scope and cost. Vermonters soundly rejected the first proposal, but it keeps coming back like the proverbial bad penny.

The new plan would start with a $30 per ton tax on CO2 emissions, and rise at a rate of inflation plus 10 percent each year until 2034, after which point it would rise at inflation plus 5 percent indefinitely. The 2014 proposal started with a more modest $10 per ton tax, increasing annually until it reached $100 per ton in 2027 where, barring a change in plans, it would have stopped.

As with the first plan, this “new” proposal is being billed as “revenue neutral,” although nether really is/was. Proponents admit that money will have to be skimmed off the top to make up for lost revenue to the Transportation Fund due to lower tax revenue and, presumably, any administrative costs for collecting and administering the tax and accompanying rebate program.

How this rebate program, supposedly returning the money to the taxpayers, will work isn’t entirely clear, but based on the presentation materials ordinary Vermonters will be left out in the cold (literally). It mentions just two potential models: 1) A rebate to businesses in proportion to share of jobs in Vermont. 2)  A rebate to businesses in proportion to share of GDP in Vermont. So ordinary Vermonters will pay the tax and the revenue will be redistributed to businesses, not people. This does not sound like a “revenue neutral” policy, which means taxes raised will be offset by tax cuts elsewhere, but rather a calculated program of wealth redistribution from citizens to, presumably, politically correct (or well connected) businesses.

Earlier Carbon Tax proposals offered at least some pretense of mitigating the negative impacts to rural and low income Vermonters, who will bear a disproportionately high amount of the pain inflicted by a Carbon Tax, but not this one.

So, why in an election year would Carbon Tax advocates bring back what promises to be a more painful, even less popular (if that’s possible) proposal? Here are a couple of possible reasons. One, they think that with veto proof supermajorities in the legislature guaranteed for just one more year this is their best chance to force the Tax down Vermonters’ throats. Or, this could be a calculated distraction designed to draw attention away from efforts to pass the “Stealth Carbon Tax” that is the Transportation & Climate Initiative or TCI and/or carbon related “reforms” to Act 250.

Either way, it’s time for Vermonters to be vigilant and vocal!

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene Stewart October 14, 2019 at 8:40 pm

What is Weinberger thinking? Why is he promoting this for the entire state? If he wants a carbon tax so desperately, impose it on the residents of Burlington only. See how much they like it, and leave the other 13 counties alone. The wealthy people of Chittenden County can afford everything thrown at them…but no one can has that luxury. He just killed himself – if he has ambition to become Governor, this just did him in!!!
Vermonters – ask yourself how will the climate change if you pay another huge tax in Vermont? Will you be able to afford to commute to your jobs? Will you be able to keep your home warm, with a huge per gallon tax added to your heating oil or propane? This is insanity. People in other states will laugh all the way to the banks to deposit their paychecks, you will cry all the way to bankruptcy courts. Call your legislators, starting today! Do not wait for VPIRG and MIRO to convince them that their high taxation is the right way to go in Vermont, since we aren’t taxed enough. This cannot happen here…


lonnie Lisai October 14, 2019 at 11:33 pm

I cannot figure out why hard working Vermonters are penalized by tax for the woes of climate change. Seems it is Global issue. Thinking the major should punish us further by running for Governor. By the way, where is all that tax money going?


William Hays October 19, 2019 at 6:56 am

Ionne: “Climate Change” isn’t a “Global Issue”. It is a “Global Hoax”.


kathy pease October 21, 2019 at 2:09 am
Steven Pike October 14, 2019 at 10:19 pm

This insane mayor illustrates why the Founders at the national level created a lower house based on population and an upper house based on states, at the national level. States did the same. Both sought to prevent the tyranny of the majority mob and protected the minority from being steamrolled, stripped of rights, and even criminalized by the mob. It is also why we have an electoral college. The Supreme Court failed to understand this concept and mandated all districts be one-person one vote within states. Their utterly egregious failure to respect the Founders’ intent has caused this state and others to become pure democracies, aka mob ruled.


forbes morrell October 18, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Solar/off grid..$ representation to the cost of maintenance of power grid= ????. electric/hybrid $ amount to the cost of roads and bridges ????


Ritva Burton October 19, 2019 at 12:25 pm

The only thing the CARBON TAX will accomplish is to TAX residents of Vermont more than we are already paying! The few residents here will not make a dent in the global picture of carbon pollution (?) on this earth, just make living here more painful to our pocketbooks! Which, by the way, are getting emptier and emptier every year. I dread what the next legislative session will bring!


John McClaughry October 19, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Great expose by Rob! I lean to his second explanation. The climate industry will put out the Weinberger bill with its massive costs, which Gov. Scott is committed to veto, and let it fail if he will agree to look the other way on the Transportation Climate Initiative, the Global Solutions Act, and injecting climate change into Act 250. Scott has already flagged the TCI as a carbon tax, but he has let his ANR people take part in its planning meetings. Accepting those three measures while opposing the Weinberger bill would get the climate warriors off his back for his reelection bid, and if their candidate won, he or she could push through the Weinberger bill in 29021.


Phil Steckler October 19, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Implementing this tax would be very unfortunate for the state. It would have a devastating effect on the economy. Many low to middle income homeowners, landlords (and renters) would find living here unaffordable–not particularly conducive to our severe labor shortage. And others would have to cut back on purchasing in our stores and shops.
I am not necessarily opposed to a small increase in the vehicle gasoline tax. I would imagine the that as the more efficient vehicles on the road will reduce the effect of higher taxes here.
Would the VPIRG proposal be effective in reducing the state’s carbon imprint? Sure, with an exodus out of the state and corresponding less demand, it would accomplish its mission–but less people, a less vibrant economy, and less overall taxes would do more harm than good.
The free market is far from perfect, but VPIRG’s proposal is ridiculous and will do far more arm then good.


kathy pease October 21, 2019 at 1:56 am

This is what CLIMATE CHANGE is really all about! The rich getting richer and more people living on the streets.agenda21 and agenda2030. IT IS SICKENING!


James K Brown October 21, 2019 at 2:06 pm

Taxation without representation. The Democrats are getting ridiculous with these taxes. I make decent money and I can’t afford to live here. They want to kill our traditions and import the living where they all came from. We need to clean house not only in VT but in the whole country during the elections. They are pushing these taxes on to us so they can line their pockets as always and it all starts with the socialist push that is happening right now!


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