On October 6, Hank Kim, of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems testified in front of the Pension Benefits, Design, and Funding Task Force, which is responsible for finding a way to reduce Vermont’s massively underfunded state employee and teacher pensions.
Last week I received a “Dear Fellow Vermonter” newsletter from Senator Bernie Sanders. It appeals for support of Bernie’s $3.5 trillion dollar social entitlement bill. Writes Bernie “this $3.5 trillion investment will be paid for by demanding that the wealthiest people in our country and large profitable corporations, start paying their fair share of taxes.”
At the October 5th meeting of the Vermont Climate Council, paid consultant David Hill provided a sector by sector rundown of what and where emissions must come if the state is to avoid a self-invited lawsuit for failing to meet its self-inflicted emissions reduction targets. When the subject turned to the agriculture sector, Hill informed the Council that 70% of Agriculture GHG emissions comes form “enteric fermentation” which is the politely scientific term for cow burps and gas releases from the other end of the animals. This, Hill proclaimed, must be reduced by just under 50% by the year 2030.
The Vermont Climate Council is going to recommend that Vermont fully participate in the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), an multi-state agreement that would lead to a de-facto $20 million gasoline and diesel tax on Vermont drivers (in addition to existing gasoline and diesel taxes) with the cost increasing every year thereafter. The revenue collected by the state would be used to pay for programs associated with the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Should the Vermont legislature and the Governor accept or reject the recommendation to join TCI?
Last week I watched news reports on WCAX and WPTZ, featuring the “Facebook whistleblower” Francis Haugen. She’s the former Facebook employee who copied thousands of pages of internal documents to prove that Facebook designs its products to attract customers, whose fees pay their bills and generate lots of profit for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Well, duh.
The penultimate Climate Action Plan Virtual Public Engagement Event last Thursday was full of drama, despair and even discussion of rationing to beat climate change.
For a while now, we have been reporting and commenting on how utterly unrealistic, economically irrational, logistically impossible, and downright nutty the policy prescriptions being kicked around by the Vermont Climate Council are. Turns out members of the Council and its subcommittees aren’t totally oblivious to this fact either. They are fully aware that they are setting up the elected legislators who ultimately support their recommendations for a political suicide mission.
As the Vermont Climate Council readies its plans to dramatically reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions, they embarked on a series of public engagement events to field questions from curious citizens. Here are some we all might consider asking.