The nation and Vermont are at a tipping point. We have to decide if we are going to maintain the Constitutional freedoms set in place by our founders – the ideas and principles that made us the greatest country in the world – or abandon them for a path toward socialism, speech codes, and McCarthyite blacklisting of citizens who express anything other than obedience to a single-party agenda.
The Ethan Allen Institute needs your help to keep fighting for liberty and the Constitution in Vermont. 2021 promises to bring a number of issues forward that have grave implications for Vermonters and our pocketbooks. Your contribution of $1000, $500, $250, $100, $50 or another amount will have an impact on these critical issues:
The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) Carbon Tax. This multi-state proposal, would create, in effect, a “tax” or surcharge on gasoline and diesel of as much as 17 cents per gallon, or a $90 million a year total tax on Vermont drivers. This tax would rise each year as “allowances” for how much motor fuel would be permitted to be sold in the state would steadily decrease. Final plans for TCI are set to be unveiled before the end of 2020, and will likely be an issue in the State House in January 2021. The Ethan Allen Institute commissioned a scientific poll on TCI in Vermont and we discovered a plurality of voters are favor of the program – until they find out what it does! Educating Vermonters about this program will be critical over the next six months.
Global Warming Solutions Act Implementation. This past fall the legislature succeeded in overriding the Governor’s veto of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Now this law is in the planning phase, determining what measures will be needed to dramatically reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions. Such measures could include the banning of fossil fuel burning recreational vehicles such as ATVs and snow machines, banning or making prohibitively expensive via fees and fines the installation of new fossil fuel heating systems for homes and businesses. (Burlington has already made such a proposal.) Banning gas-powered lawn maintenance equipment. (Illinois has moved in this direction.) Banning the sale of gas/diesel powered cars and trucks. (California will do this in 2035.) What else? Use your imagination, the new Vermont Climate Council will be using theirs. The Ethan Allen Institute will ensure these deliberations don’t take place in the dark, and that the public knows and understands what is at stake.
Property Taxes. The Covid-19 economic shutdown means we will have severe revenue shortfalls in the Education Fund, which – if we are not vocal – will result in drastic property taxes increases. In 2020 the legislature pulled out all the accounting stops to ensure property taxes did not increase by an additional 8 cents/$100. In 2021, those gimmicks will no longer be available, and, without meaningful reform to how we pay for and deliver pre-k-12 education, we will see property tax increases of more than twice that 8 cent bump.
First Amendment Issues. The First Amendment is under attack. Windsor High School Principal Tiffany Riley was fired by the school board for writing, “I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter, but I DO NOT agree with the coercive measures taken to get this point across; some of which are falsified in an attempt to prove a point. While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose Black race over human race.” This is only one example. Unless somebody stands up for freedom of speech and the value of diverse viewpoints, we are headed for another era of McCarthyite blacklisting, where people live in fear of expressing a politically incorrect thought.
Other issues followed closely by the Ethan Allen Institute include Second Amendment policy, energy, fair labor practices and Right to Work, healthcare, school choice, pension debt and reform, and election integrity.
Roll Call Reports. These alerts, usually issued within 72 hours of each vote, contain a short but detailed description of the legislation voted upon, analysis of the potential impact on Vermonters, links to original documents (bill text and journals), and a record of how each legislator voted.
Roll Call Profiles. In what has become our signature project, EAI provides an individual profile for each of our 150 house and 30 senate members detailing how they voted on key issues. This is a user-friendly format that devotes a unique web page to each legislator, with its own link. These links can now be shared singly or custom-bundled for our users depending upon their needs. Profiles also provide contact information, links to social media pages, and email contacts for the editors of local papers.
Common Sense Radio/Video. We continue to sponsor a liberty-oriented radio program airing weekdays, 11-noon, on WDEV hosted by EAI board member, Bill Sayre. Bill is an economist with an M.B.A. in finance and economics from the University of Chicago. In recent weeks we added Common Sense Video on days our radio program is bumped by the Governor’s press conference. These videos can be seen on our Facebook Page.
A Voice in Your Local Papers. John McClaughry, EAI's founder and first president (1993-2009), policy analyst David Flemming, and I combine to contribute weekly op-eds which appear in local papers an on-line news outlets around the state, giving our cause a voice in an otherwise hostile media environment.
Vermont continues to provide tremendous challenges, but also some unique opportunities. I am excited for the year that lies ahead, and all of us at the Ethan Allen Institute would be most grateful for your support of liberty, property, free markets, and fiscal sanity in this the Green Mountain State.
PS. The Ethan Allen Institute is a 501c3 non-profit education organization. Contributions are tax deductible and anonymous.
CLICK HERE to donate on-line, or send checks to:
Ethan Allen Institute
P.O. Box 543
Montpelier, VT 05601