Gov. Candidate Hallquist Comes Out for Carbon Tax

Refuses to call it that

July 17, 2018

by Rob Roper

In a July 9th interview on WDEV’s Dave Gram show, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist came out in favor of a Carbon Tax on Vermonters.

The first question the host asked her was, why are you running for governor, and her first answer was, “My passion was to solve climate change using the electric grid,” and promised to “accelerate the work we’re doing on climate change, because we can.” Hallquist then cited her qualifications as CEO of an electric cooperative, the Vermont Electric Co-Op.

She was then specifically asked if she supported the latest Carbon Tax scheme, the ESSEX Plan, which would place a tax on fossil fuels (ultimately, gasoline at 32¢ per gallon, diesel and home heating oil at 40¢ per gallon, and propane, natural gas, and others similarly). The revenue would then be used to subsidize electric rates by giving grants to utilities like the one Hallquist used to run. (She stepped down from her position to run for governor.)

Hallquist replied. “Yeah…. Putting a price on Carbon IS the most effective policy [for reducing climate change].” She then qualified that she would look at all ideas in a collaborative process, but reiterated, “I will tell you that is the most effective method of mitigating carbon — is putting a price on Carbon.”

What followed was a bizarre debate between the host and the candidate over language as Hallquist steadfastly refused to call the Carbon Tax a tax. “You’ve got to be careful. I think using the word “tax”… becomes inflammatory,” Said Hallquist. The host, Dave Gram, was having none of it…

Dave Gram (DG): “You expressed a great deal of reluctance to use the “T” word – “tax” — when referring to a new levy on carbon based fossil fuels, and I just sort of sat back for a moment and thought to myself if we can’t use the word tax anymore in our political discourse – you know taxes are a pretty matter of course thing that are raised to various degrees on various things to fund government…. Tell me a little bit about your reluctance to use that word. That is what we’re talking about? A tax on fossil fuels?”

Christine Hallquist (CH). “I don’t want to miss innovative ideas like a price on carbon by using language that might have been coopted by others… [A long dissembling explanation on use of language referencing Reagan, income inequality, and dividing people as opposed to bringing them together] … “If we call it a price on carbon, which is what I believe it is, opponents are going to call it a tax. Now, taxes have been used to drive fear and division into Vermont and really specifically so within the last two years, and that’s exactly why I am running….”

DG: Aren’t we ceding that there has to be a negative connotation to the word “tax”?… Because we have now decided to relegate “tax” to a word that is divisive and bad, we’re not even allowed to use it anymore and be straight forward about what we’re doing. I mean, I think people will peel back the phrase “a price on carbon” and say, oh, that means I’m going to be paying an extra thirty or forty cents a gallon for gasoline. Then maybe you could make the argument that, yeah, there are very good reasons for doing that. We’re trying to discourage the use of gasoline. We want to raise this money to put into other kinds of energy conservation, or other types of transportation, or whatever. We’re going to employ it to try and fight climate change. My own thought as a writer and reporter for thirty years is I’ve always tried to use words that were more direct and straight forward. And, I think if you are a liberal who believes in the idea of government needing to raised money for good purposes, you should raise the flag and say … we do impose taxes and it’s something we have to do in order to have a decent government…. ”

CH: “I think I’m going to bring people back to where you’re going by talking about “strategic investments.” Investments. These are all investments in our future….” She cited historical examples of infrastructure projects.

DG: Did they call them “strategic investments back then, or did they say we’re going to build interstate highways and we’re going to charge a gasoline tax [fades off into laughter]”

Hallquist conceded, “They did that,” but she stuck to her guns that she would not call a carbon tax the tax that it is.

So, will Vermonters allow the wool to be pulled over their eyes, or will they see a tax for what it is — a tax?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

H. Brooke Paige July 18, 2018 at 1:33 am

. . . a rose by any other name ! Isn’t this political correctness carried to the ultimate end – just give new names to all things offensive and everything will be just fine ! I read today that pedophiles are demanding that they be referred to be “minor attracted individuals” this is the same creative insanity !


Deanne July 21, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Absolutely crazy… Redefining terms, dancing around the issues, avoiding words that are truthful and might cause resistance… all for a cause. This is very troubling, but not surprising.


John de Bruin July 22, 2018 at 8:38 am

Typical, so typical. A candidate who is is very confused on ALL the issues and refuses to call a spade, a spade. “Global Warming” is a giant hoax, so now they call it “Climate Change”. The “Carbon Tax” will kill business and put an undo burden on already overtaxed Vermonters so Halquist calls it “A price on Carbon”. I call B.S. !!!


Will Waizenegger July 22, 2018 at 6:28 pm

Okay, so Christine Hallquist doesn’t want to call this a “tax?” Fine, let’s call it what it is: social engineering.

Replacing electric shocks with the hurt of biting into the already finance-strapped Vermont individual and/or businesses, Christine Hallquist’s vision of the Utopian state aims to use lab rat training techniques to try to alter how we live and use our existing infrastructure.

That’s cute.

That Vermont societal lab rat training will only hurt businesses, hit people’s ability to afford…well…anything, and lead to an extremely damaging chain of events. People will not be able to afford getting around, heat their homes and much more. Businesses will face an extremely higher cost of doing business, especially those that depend on the use of their vehicles, agricultural equipment and other fuel-based machinery. Business decisions, like what is more important, spending on fuels to run a business or on employee wages (just wait until she pushes for a $15/hr. minimum wage on top of this)? Increase the cost of goods and services that additionally affect society? Add to that the fact that consumers will have less money to spend on other consumer goods.

And, much, much more. The chain of damaging events is staggering, including providing additional reasons and quickening of the existing statewide mass-exodus.

Bottom line is that Christine Hallquist has no clue how to do that job. Stay away.


Jeanne V July 23, 2018 at 7:02 pm

No to carbon tax, period. I don’t trust anyone that supports it. I don’t trust where that money will actually go. And everyone that pays a tax like that, will probably not see direct benefits, only certain factions will. I don’t care what anyone promises. Money just seems to have a way of not going where someone says it will. Plus, it really would cut into peoples’ already stretched incomes, those on low incomes, and those on fixed incomes, and retirees. Some people’s dollar signs are bigger than their brains and they just don’t look at the real impact. So there is carbon in the air. Make new homes with solar and wind power systems, and cars that are electric. The tech is there, just need to do it. Not tax everyone for trying to live and do their jobs.


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