Commentary: Will Bernie Secretly Bail Out SVB?
This past week saw the dramatic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank also known as SVB. Until Thursday, SVB had been the nation’s 16th largest bank. A leading tech lender, it was based in Menlo Park, California, and employed over 6,500 people. Regulators led by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation shut the bank down on Friday, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was appointed the receiver. The collapse, the largest since the 2008 financial crisis, moved a decline in the S&P 500 by 3.3% over the last two trading days of the week.
Commentary: A Victory for the Opponents of the Affordable Heat Act: Potentially a Poisoned Chalice
Yesterday afternoon I sat through the Vermont Senate debate concerning the Affordable Heat Act (“AHA”). The bill with one amendment passed through the body by a count of 19-10. However, opponents won a victory by forcing its supporters to attach an amendment which delayed a vote enacting the legislation until January 15, 2025.
Commentary: “Affordable Heat” Questions Answered
Here are twelve salient questions and straightforward answers about the workings of the Affordable Heat Act (S.5) now moving toward the Senate floor.
Commentary: The Affordable Heat Act Offers No Savings- Ever
Implementation of the Affordable Heat Act (“AHA” or S.5) requires significant upfront investment across the households of 60% of all Vermonters, those who currently depend on heating fuel to warm their homes. This upfront cost will likely be over $5 billion dollars- more than twice the $2 billion dollars estimated by Secretary Julie Moore at the Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont Climate Council, even after $380 million in state and federal funding is included.
Commentary: The Affordable Heat Act That Isn’t (affordable)
It turns out the real long-term cost of The Affordable Heat Act, S.5, proposed by the Natural Resources and Energy Committee is $5 billion dollars over a 5-year period as demonstrated in a detailed financial analysis by the Ethan Allen Institute. Most of that cost will be on the backs of low- and moderate-income Vermonters who will pay for it through increased fuel costs in the range of $5 per gallon. Worse, hoped-for long-term energy savings will not occur.
Commentary: Exterminating Independent School Tuitioning
The frightening prospect of having to tuition pupils to parent-chosen sectarian schools has motivated the “Education Equity Alliance”, formerly known as the Public Education Blob, to demand passage of S.66, to exterminate tuitioning altogether.
Commentary: Affordable Heating Act: Legal Construction Prioritized Over Unanswered Questions
Last Thursday, the Vermont Senate Natural Resources Committee continued its efforts to structure the Affordable Heating Act (“AHA”) so that it would meet legal requirements and be enforceable. Despite Ethan Allen Institute estimates of a surcharge on heating fuel of as much as $4.00 per gallon which will unravel implementation of the AHA, the Committee continues to seek advice on how to prevent the program from being opposed on legal grounds.
Commentary: Clean Heat Standard: Fatal Flaws Now Appear
The Clean Heat Standard is dead. That’s not to say that S.5 won’t become law, because it will. But the fatal flaws in the policy which will prevent its implementation became very clear this past week. The primary flaws are excessive upfront cost and resulting non-compliance. It is good that the policy will eventually collapse. But until that time, it will prevent us from reaching critical climate targets and it will punish low and middle income Vermonters for the rest of this decade.
Commentary: Vermont’s Windmill-tilting Climate Action Plan
The Perfect Little Climate Conscious State now has its own Perfect Little Climate Action Plan. Although the Climate Action Plan won’t have any impact on climate, it will have an only too real impact on Vermonters’ wallets.
Commentary: Seven Top Legislative Issues of 2023
The newly elected super-majority Democratic House and Senate are working at flank speed to pass the majority’s agenda, that Gov. Scott has no power to veto. Here are seven leading issues. There will be more.