This year, the Vermont legislature is contemplating charter changes in two Vermont cities, Montpelier and Winooski, that would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. The Montpelier charter change passed the House with little difficulty, 103-39. One expected Winooski, with this precedent set, to sail through as well. But it didn’t. There’s a catch – one that should also inspire some second thoughts about Montpelier as that bill goes to the Senate.Read more
Yes, the same legislature that spent that last several years legalizing recreational marijuana in Vermont is debating banning flavored vaping products and menthol flavored cigarettes. Sorry, but this is just stupid.
There is a proposal making its way through the Vermont House of Representatives to raise and expand Vermont’s bottle deposit law (H.175). 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.Read more
The Vermont Tax Structure Commission released its 180 page draft report to the legislature, and one of the major recommendations it makes is to expand Vermont’s 6% sales tax, currently limited to goods and a few singled out services such as ski rentals, to everything but healthcare, and to reduce the overall rate to 3.6%.Read more
At the January 14 meeting of the Senate Government Operations Committee, Senator Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) asked Vermont Director of Elections, Will Senning, about a woman arrested for election fraud in Texas. The story in question involved on Raquel Rodriquez who was caught engaging in "election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail and unlawfully possessing an official ballot.” Collamore wanted to know if similar actions, if they occurred in Vermont, could be detected and prosecuted.Read more
The Public Assets Institute (PAI) recently released a report, “The State of Working Vermont 2020.” It provides a good overall picture of the economic stagnation Vermont has experienced over the past several decades.
For 40 years, Vermont created an average of 4,700 new jobs a year. The best year, 1978, saw an increase of more than 12,000 new jobs. But after the turn of the century, job growth flattened. Vermont employers averaged fewer than 1,000 new jobs a year between 2000 and 2019. The high point was 2012, when 3,800 jobs were added.Read more
Yes, we saw this coming and here it is! Many, including us at EAI, have quipped over the last nine months that if you like the Covid economy, you’ll love the Green New Deal/Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA)/Etc. Well, now Rep. Curt McCormack (D-Burlington, and chair of the House Transportation Committee) penned an op-ed, “Winning the climate and Covid wars with WWII tactics,” in which he argues, “If the Covid-19 pandemic can reduce our carbon emissions in one month by the same amount as we need to reduce per year, 7%, to avoid catastrophic climate change, can we not do this on purpose [emphasis added], in an orderly well-planned fashion?”Read more
Responding to an email inquiry from a concerned citizen about the real impact – and cost -- of the Global Warming Solutions Act, passed last spring over the veto of Governor Phil Scott (R), Representative Scott Campbell (D-St. Johnsbury) admitted, “Let me start by repeating that no one, least of all me, believes Vermont can stop climate change — or even affect climate change. It’s tempting to focus on that narrow issue because of the specific metrics in the law, namely the required greenhouse gas reduction thresholds (leaving aside the unfortunate name of the Act),” and, “GWSA will not ‘mitigate’ climate change…” Thanks for the honesty!Read more
2020 was an unprecedented year. From Covid-19 outbreaks, to entire swaths of the economy shut down, to peaceful/violent protests, we saw a little bit of everything. And while their may seem to be more bad news than good this year, the tail end of 2020 has brought hope with a Covid-19 vaccine. As we yearn to turn the calendar to January, it may help us to reflect on the most meaningful cultural and political events of 2020, to make us wiser for the future decisions we will make in 2021.
Here are the top 10 posts of 2020 from the EAI Blog. We look forward to connecting with you on the Blog in 2021!Read more
The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), referring to the organization itself rather than the policy, has put off publication of their final proposal for a multi-state, regional carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel for well over half a year. Originally, they promised to release it in the spring of 2020, then hinted at summer, and are currently operating under a promise to do so this fall – a window rapidly closing. Presumably, the delays are part of a strategy to hold off until a politically opportune time. It doesn’t appear such a time will ever transpire. Increasingly, TCI looks dead on arrival.
The latest blow comes from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who, up until a very short time ago, was TCI’s biggest cheerleader. But now, according to the Boston Herald, “Gov. Charlie Baker said governors are re-evaluating support of a controversial carbon tax designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions….”Read more