Democrats and carbon tax

by John McClaughry

Last weekend’s [December 9, 11] Week in Review discussion on Vermont Public Television offered an interesting observation from reporter Terry Hallenbeck, who covered the House Democratic caucus organizational  meeting.

Host Mark Johnson observed  that two inflammatory words were uttered: “carbon tax”.  Hallenbeck reported that Burlington Rep. Mary Sullivan complained that the carbon tax issue had not been treated fairly by Republicans, and the opponents avoided mentioning that much of the carbon tax revenue would be returned to the public as tax reductions.

The reaction among the Democrats was, according to Hallenbeck: “Wow! Did she just say carbon tax?”, recognizing that  it would be very difficult for the Democratic House to move forward with carbon tax legislation without being tainted by that issue.

The Ethan Allen Institute was the first to raise the warning flag on the carbon tax, back in 2014. In my writings I have always made the point that the backers promise that 90% of the carbon tax revenues would be returned as tax reductions and rebates, while the government pockets the remaining 10 percent to finance more subsidies. I also made the point that the promoters told legislators, in writing, that “based on legislative priorities, carbon tax revenues could of course also be used for other purposes.”

No, it wasn’t disinformation that set legislators of both parties running full speed away from the VPIRG carbon tax. EAI explained to the public what this would do to them, and our economy, , and they wanted no part of it.

I hope Mary Sullivan and VPIRG try to pass a carbon tax again. Then there will be a roll call vote that will do a lot of damage to certain candidates in 2018.

– John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Bulmer December 17, 2016 at 1:52 am

If 90% of the receipts from the carbon tax are goingt to be returned to tax payers in one form or another, why bother, unless it’s just another devious scheme to generate additional tax dollars under the guise of “do good” silliness.


Rob December 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm

Most of the people who get the 90% back are not the same people that have to pay the tax.


John December 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm

But 100% of the people who benefit will vote democrat to keep the money coming.


doug richmond December 17, 2016 at 3:59 am

One of their ilk utterred the term “carbon pricing” to further try to fool the public.

They will pull every trick, just as they have for decades with Act 250 and Act 200 and other land use control by planners and dreamers – taking away the property options which should and must be returned primarily to landowners, taxpayers and citizens.


James Hall December 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm


I think it has been alluded to before in these sections of EAI comment that this carbon tax is another attempt in redistributing resources/wealth. Any one who pays taxes to the state will be nailed big time, with the “takings” ending up anywhere these folks decide to spend money. EAI has done a great job in getting the word out. I believe it may be necessary to buy tv ad time when the time comes, to get the public motivated to call their legislators. Enough pressure at the appropriate time will kill this thing.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

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.

Latest News

VT Left Wing Media Bias Unmasks Itself

July 24, 2020 By Rob Roper Dave Gram was a long time reporter for the Associated Press, is currently the host of what’s billed on WDEV as a...

Using Guns for Self Defense – 3 Recent Examples

July 24, 2020 By John McClaughry  The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal last week published eleven news stories about citizens using a firearm to stop a crime. Here are...

FERC ruling on solar subsidies could help Vermont ratepayers

July 21, 2020 By John McClaughry Last Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finalized its updates to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), in what the majority...

The Moderate Left’s Stand for Free Speech

July 17, 2020 By David Flemming Harper’s Magazine, a long-running monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, is hardly what you would call a ‘politically...

Trump’s Regulatory Bill of Rights

July 16, 2020 by John McClaughry “President Trump [last May] issued an executive order entitled  ‘Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.’ The executive order includes a regulatory bill...