Rob Roper, John McClaughry and David Flemming write 40+ commentaries a year discussing the most pressing public policy issues in Vermont. These are published online and in newspapers throughout the state, including VT Digger, the Caledonian Record, the Rutland Herald, the St. Albans Messenger, the Bennington Banner, Vermont Biz, TrueNorthReports, Times Argus, the Eagle Times and Vermont Daily. If you see an EAI commentary in your local newspaper, shoot us an email! And if you don't see our commentaries in your local papers, let your newspaper editors know.

It’s Time to Rethink Failing Health Care Policies

Vermont ‘s All Payer performance , widely criticized , will almost certainly fall short of HHS agreement requirements in 2022. It’s time to move away from ever-increasing government management, and develop a demonstrably superior path of personal responsibility, informed patient choice, provider competition, price transparency, less third party payment , diminished regulation, liability restraint and outcome accountability.

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Vermont Public vs. Independent Schools, the Auditor’s Report

While Vermont public school officials are carping about returning to the classroom post Covid, calling for higher taxes to pay for their pensions, and are otherwise consumed with controversies over mascot names and what flags get to fly on school grounds, Vermont families have been driving an interesting trend – using Vermont’s 150 year old school choice “tuitioning” program to put their kids into independent schools.

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GWSA may stop REC Cash Flow, but not our Natural Gas Reliance

For several years, Vermont has made millions selling Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) to other states. But the 2020 Global Warming Solutions Act will soon cut off this cash flow which would raise rates. There is also the chance that the GWSA may set in motion a chain of events culminating in electric blackouts.

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Commentary: The New Dream for Vermont Agriculture

The new “Vermont Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan” appeared last month. It contains some useful information, but the participants involved in preparing it are transfixed by their glorious Vision of all the good things that could be made to happen by an all-knowing government directed by wise and right thinking people – making use of millions of dollars raised from unidentified parties, who shop at the Farmers Market and competently manage their food scraps.

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Commentary: The “Thermal Energy Efficiency” Tax

For five years now the climate change movement couldn’t get a vote on a politically dangerous carbon tax to reduce fossil fuel consumption, and produce millions of dollars to finance climate-worthy investments like home weatherization.  Now they’re trying push through a $1.3 billion over ten years “Thermal Energy Efficiency Charge”, formerly known as a tax. It will be levied not by accountable legislators, but unconstitutionally by the “unaccountable strangers” at the Public Utility Commission.

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Commentary: The Bottle Deposit Expansion – A Stealth Tax

There is a proposal making its way through the Vermont House of Representatives to expand Vermont’s bottle deposit law. The bill would double the cost of a standard bottle deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents, and it would apply the deposit to “water bottles, wine bottles and containers for all noncarbonated and carbonated drinks, except for milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, hemp seed milk, and dairy products.” It would also create a 15 cent deposit requirement for liquor bottles.

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Commentary: Large Tax Changes on the Table

The Vermont Tax Structure Commission has delivered its report, and its recommendations should trigger an intense debate. Switching public education support to the income tax and expanding the sales tax to include services will be very controversial. It’s regrettable that the legislature didn’t begin with a performance review, to decide what state government should be doing with $4.5 billion a year, and then address the tax structure needed to pay for it.

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Commentary: Lax Emergency Laws Leave Vermont Vulnerable

If we don’t transfer more power from the governor to the Legislature during emergencies, a ‘climate emergency’ declared by a future governor could be catastrophic for Vermont democracy.

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Commentary: More Funding! More Funding!

The Public Utility Commission, at the direction of the legislature, has “joined the chorus of voices seeking climate action”. Its all-fuels energy report takes note of the state’s ambitious carbon dioxide emission reduction goals, and almost screams what’s needed on every page: “More Funding!”

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Commission Says Expand VT Sales Tax to Services and Necessities

The Vermont Tax Structure Commission released its 180 page draft report to the legislature in January, and one of the major recommendations it makes is to expand Vermont’s 6% sales tax, currently limited to non-essential goods and a few select services, to all goods and services except healthcare. Doing this would be accompanied by an overall rate reduction to 3.6%.

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