Carbon Tax “Quick Facts” Sheet (For the VPIRG Intern in your Neighborhood)


The left wing lobbying and activist organization VPIRG is engaged in its annual summer ritual of sending college kids door to door to propagandize citizens. For the second year in a row, the issue d’jour is passage of a statewide Carbon Tax.

Readers who have experienced a VPIRG visit report that these young spokespeople are not revealing to their audience several facts, such as the tax will, among other things, raise the price of gasoline by 88¢ per gallon, home heating oil by $1.02 per gallon, etc.

VPIRG does not have a sterling reputation for honesty when it comes to promoting its causes. (See: More Vermont residents say VPIRG canvassing drive used names fraudulently), so if you want to make sure your name is not misused or your position regarding the Carbon Tax misstated for political purposes, be prepared.

We have put together a list of quick facts for when the VPIRG representative knocks on your door. Use it, and five minutes of high quality entertainment guaranteed. Apparently, they don’t stand up to questioning very well.  (PDF Version: Carbon Tax Fact Sheet)




WHAT IS A CARBON TAX? The proposal on the table is an excise tax on fossil fuels of $100 per ton of carbon when fully implemented, which would amount to a total tax of $500 million a year. For real folks, this translates into adding 88¢ to each gallon of gasoline, $1.02 per gallon of diesel and home heating oil, and similar increases for propane, natural gas, kerosene, butane and aviation fuel. (Other names for the Carbon Tax are “Carbon Pollution Tax” and “Carbon Pricing.”)

WHO GETS HIT HARDEST? Households earning more than roughly $25,000 per year (the top four income quintiles) would shoulder the bulk of the burden. Businesses will pass the added costs onto consumers wherever possible, and these taxpayers would not qualify for proposed income based rebates.

Working Vermonters who commute to a job will be hit hard, as will farmers, tradespeople and others who depend upon trucks, vans and tractors to do their jobs.

The massive discrepancy in fuel prices between Vermont and border states not subject to this radical level of taxation would provide yet another incentive to cross the border to shop, hurting many Vermont small businesses.

WHO BENEFITS? Wind and solar developers, weatherization programs, and other “green” energy outfits will receive 10% of the Carbon Tax revenue to subsidize their businesses and projects.

WHERE DOES THIS STAND? In 2014, Rep. Tony Klein (D-East Montpelier), chair of the House Energy & Natural Resources gave an interview stating that “it’s at least a three-year process,” and that “you don’t [pass a massive tax increase] in an election year.” This means 2017 – after this November’s election – is the target for passage.

WHO IS PUSHING THIS? A coalition of 15 special interest groups called Energy Independent Vermont, led by VPIRG. VPIRG pays seven state house lobbyists and army of summer “interns” going door-to-door to ensure passage of Carbon Tax on Vermonters. There were two Carbon Tax bills put forward in the 2015-16 legislative session (H.395 and H.412). These bills have a combined 28 sponsors (that’s a big number), all Democrats and Progressives.

OVER 90% OPPOSED. In January 2015, the Ethan Allen Institute ran a statewide online survey of Vermonters regarding support for or opposition to a Carbon Tax. 1546 people responded, over 90% opposed the tax.image001

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

richard bryan July 16, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Again another excellent article by Mr Roper always something not mentioned by these kids with stars in there eyes pushing yet another VPIRG radical ploy!!


jim bulmer July 16, 2016 at 3:44 pm

NO CARBON TAX!!! I do NOT want to go back to a wood stove nor do I want to go back to grandfather’s days to a horse, buggy, and sleigh. VPRIG is made up of a bunch of morons and if some clown shows up on my doorstep to pitch this stupid idea, I’ll send them packing!!!!


e hamel August 14, 2016 at 11:06 am

wood is carbo based everything is carbon based


jim bulmer July 16, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Klein is a coward. If he hasn’t got the cuts to pass a carbon tax in an election year so the folks can express their reaction, he should be voted out this November!!!


Matthew M August 9, 2016 at 9:33 pm

I think this article is misleading. National carbon pollution taxes around the world, including the proposed tax reform from VPIRG contains not just a 88 cent increase in fossil fuel price but also tax cuts in other areas to offset the increased fuel price. Additionally, we currently heavily subsidize fossil fuels right now, using a lot of tax payer money to make fossil fuels artificially cheaper, an approach that is not at all “free-market”. This policy would shift the market towards a true price of fossil fuels, not the artificially lowered one we have today.


Gary Viens August 14, 2016 at 11:02 am

The very first question you need to ask any person running for the legislature is their position on a carbon tax.

Listen to their answer very carefully.


Aydan Crandall August 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm

If 10% of the funds raised by the tax will be used to subsidize the green businesses, what will be done with the other 90% of the funds???


Mary Anne Meyer August 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm

So where is the other 90% going? You explained the green energy folks but what/who is receiving the benefit of the balance of the tax.


sally gilmore December 5, 2016 at 9:43 pm

I am a widow living on a very tight income.I do not want to go back to wood.


Alan Johnson January 4, 2017 at 11:49 pm

This article is a gross misrepresentation of the proposed bill. It focuses only on the revenue side and ignores the fact that the bill would return 90% of the money collected to Vermonters in a highly equitable way. This is a tax *reform* bill. It that *cuts* other regressive taxes, including the sales tax. It pays for those tax cuts and other financial advantages with a tax on fossil fuels only, as they enter the state.

Each year, we spend about $1B-2B fossil fuels in VT. All of that is imports, so nearly all of that leaves the state. This used to make sense when fossil fuels were cheap, but today, we can replace their function with renewables and efficiency much more economically. By doing so, we generate massive job growth and add $1B-2B to the economy in Vermont.

It does not matter if your rates go up by $0.88 or $1.02 per gallon (gradually, over a 5-10 year period, not all at once) when you can cut your consumption at least in half with the programs that would be funded by this bill. You still spend less money while making your life more convenient and more comfortable. That’s right; you can spend LESS money to have a BETTER life by reducing fossil fuel use. You are not sacrificing to do some intangible moral good; you are sacrificing to do harm. The efforts of Energy Independent Vermont are well designed to empower individuals to make these changes.

Besides, if this bill does not pass, do you think your rates are not going to go up over a 5-10 year period? We will be lucky if that only double. Then what?

Look, we can even set aside the complex topics like cost projections, or the massive externalities and subsidies associated fossil fuels. Let’s keep it simple; it is stupid to import goods and services that are more expensive and reduce your opportunities. That’s just economic’s 101, folks. We should stop doing stupid things for nothing the more than the sake of inertia.

If you care about individual freedom, a fair market, and the economy, look beyond the poorly chosen *name* of this bill, and support the efforts of Energy Independent Vermont.


Rob January 5, 2017 at 12:06 am

Alan, even if the 90% of revenue raised through this tax is “returned” to the taxpayer (a very euphemistic characterization for the most part) the remaining ten percent is still a massive tax increase. What you and Energy Independent Vermont do not point out is that the reduction of the sales tax from 6% to 5% is a very small component of the proposed plan. The rest of the “return” comes in the form of new government redistribution schemes — corporate and individual welfare programs. If you make less than 200% of the poverty level for household incomes, you may be made whole through a new energy food stamp type program. If you’re an employer, you may get some or all of your tax money back through a per-employee rebate scheme. But, if you’re a regular middle class schmo you get the full weight of the tax with no relief, except that your can of soda will cost $1.05 instead of $1.06 after sales tax. And, that’s only if the reduction of gas tax revenue to pay for roads and bridges, etc. doesn’t force the state to use the Carbon Tax money to make up for that loss, which is the most likely scenario, leaving little or none for any sort of redistributive relief. The Carbon Tax is a terrible, awful idea.


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