Burlington GOP says progressive ballot initiatives on heating tech and eviction bans will hurt vulnerable Vermonters

Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Facebook page

CARBON FEES COMING?: Burlington residents may have to pay more to use oil or gas if some Burlington green energy advocates succeed with their Town Meeting Day ballot initiatives.

As Town Meeting Day approaches, the Burlington GOP has released a statement making clear to voters that ballot initiatives that push green energy in homes will raise the cost of heating, and new eviction bans will mean fewer rentals while wealthy homebuyers benefit.

First, they said the timing couldn’t be much worse for any new costs on heating.

“In a time of unprecedented economic hardship for thousands of Burlingtonians, city leadership seeks the power to further financially cripple Burlington families by forcing them to pay to convert their heating systems from energy efficient natural gas, propane & oil heat to costly, inefficient electric heat systems or be penalized with a carbon tax & ‘alternative compliance payments,'” the release states.

The Burlington GOP is against ballot questions 3, 4, and 5. Number 3 is known as the Thermal Energy Systems Charter Change, would allow the city to gather “carbon impact” fees from building and homeowners that use carbon-based fuels. If this passes, voters must decide the amount of those fees at a later date.

“The City of Burlington is attempting to require all residential & commercial buildings to convert
their properties to electric heat or face a carbon tax or ‘alternative compliance payments,'” the statement by the Burlington GOP reads. “The BTV GOP firmly believes that this proposal will negatively impact the 90% of Burlington residents financially who rely on oil & gas for heating, hot water & cooking.”

The purpose is to shift heating use to electric options such as cold-climate electric heat pumps. The technology is still new compared to conventional gas and oil systems, and has performance issues, especially in bitterly cold temperatures. In particular, electric heating systems are not efficient on Vermont’s cold winter nights; also, compared to oil heat, electric resistance heat is 143% more expensive.

Green technologies usually require taxpayer subsidies. On the Efficiency Vermont website, on its rebates page, cashback offers include $6,500 for air-to-water heat pumps.

The Burlington GOP statement says members will listen to alternative heating solutions “when practical alternatives to fossil fuel heating is a viable option for Vermonters.” The group is asking all Burlingtonians to vote no on Question 3.

Ranked-choice voting

On the issue of ranked-choice voting, Question 4, Burlington Republicans also want voters to vote no.

Ranked-choice voting is a new election trend that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If a voter’s first-choice candidate does not get enough percentage of votes then the next preferred candidate gets counted while and the one with the fewest first-choice votes does not continue. This goes on until someone has at least 50% voter support.

According to the local GOP, it’s a convoluted voting system: “The truth is RCV presents serious obstacles to voters both understanding the ballot & actually ranking their votes.”

UVM research for the Vermont Legislative Research Shop concluded that ranked-choice voting challenges the same social groups that progressives wish to protect. One study says that it causes, “unequal amounts of knowledge, understanding and use among education, ethnic and language groupings.”

The BTV GOP is asking Burlingtonians to vote no on Question 4.

Just cause evictions

Another ballot item the city’s GOP opposes is Question 5, which relates to property owners. This initiative would take away a property owner’s right to not renew a tenant’s lease after a contract reaches its end-date.

BTV GOP claims the anticipated impact of an eviction ban could ultimately result in the loss of rental units in the city, which “directly impacts a renter’s ability to find housing.” Renters currently make up 40% of the occupants for the city. The GOP describes the current Burlington housing market as “offering little to nothing in the entry-level market.”

Among other things, the GOP claims the city could lose up to 2,300 rental units and “have negative impacts of the very residents it purports to protect.”

The Vermont Association of Realtors opposes Question 5.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR and Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Facebook page

5 thoughts on “Burlington GOP says progressive ballot initiatives on heating tech and eviction bans will hurt vulnerable Vermonters

  1. Vermont Has Much Better Energy and CO2 Reduction Options

    1) Buildings: A state-wide building code, which would require new buildings to be highly sealed, highly insulated so they could easily be energy-surplus buildings, or be entirely off-the -grid. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc., have had such codes for at least a decade.

    Vermont should be replacing run-of-the-mill, old houses, with up-to-date, energy-surplus, off-the-grid, new houses, at a rate of at least 5,000 houses per year. There would be 150,000 such houses by 2050.

    Dabbling at weatherizing, at $10,000 per house, is politically attractive, but a gross waste of money. The goal should be energy conservation and high efficiency. Their combined effect would reduce CO2 at the least cost.

    2) Vehicles: A gas-guzzler vehicle code, which would impose a fee on 40-mpg vehicles. The more below 40-mpg, the higher the fee. Any vehicles with greater than 40-mpg, such as the 54-mpg Toyota Prius, would be exempt.

    “Break their will” RE zealots would have everyone drive unaffordable EVS, that would not reduce much CO2 compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

    On a lifetime, A-to-Z basis, the:

    NISSAN Leaf S Plus, EV, compact SUV, no AWD, would emit 25.967 metric ton of CO2 over 10 years.
    TOYOTA Prius L Eco, 62 mpg, compact car, no AWD, would emit 26,490 Mt over 10y
    SUBARU Outback, 30 mpg, medium SUV, with AWD, would emit 43.015 Mt over 10y
    VT Light Duty Vehicle mix, 22.7 mpg, many with AWD or 4WD, would emit 56,315 Mt over 10y

    Future VT Light Duty Vehicle Mix

    If the VT LDV mix, gasoline and hybrid vehicles, average mileage would become 40 mpg (by means of carrots and sticks), CO2 would become about 22.7/40 x 56.315 = 32 Mt over 10y, which is near the CO2 of a Prius L Eco, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.

    It would take relatively minor changes to reduce the average CO2 from 56.315 Mt to about 32 Mt, an average reduction of 24 Mt per vehicle. Reducing the average by an additional 4 or 5 Mt would require major changes.

    The future VT LDV mix, as EVS, likely would have an average of about 30 – 35 Mt of CO2, because it would include full-size SUVs with AWD, which have more Mt of CO2, than the NISSAN Leaf S Plus, a compact SUV, without AWD.

    The minor additional metric ton of CO2 reduction could be achieved by going the EV route, but that would involve $billions, and be unaffordable by already struggling households and businesses. See “Electrify Everything”

  2. Dear Burlingtonians: You have NO idea how happy I am to NOT be living and working in my old
    Home Town……..I leave you at the mercy of the complete leftist idiots you seem to prefer in office
    and whose policies…..policies?……are dumber than stones, and deeply intrusive, in the manner of all
    totalitarian thugs, world-wide. MOMMY FANATICS!

    D. Morrisseau

  3. When I was over a half century younger one of my favorite authors was A. Conan Doyle, the Sherlock Holmes creator. I’ve probably read every tale. One particular exchange taking place at the scene of a crime hit me strongly at the time. Sherlock was, I believe, conversing with a constable who began giving his opinion of what happened when Sherlock stopped him and said, in effect, that he wanted to deduce that for himself, that the constable’s recounting his own opinion might color his judgement. I have since then practically eliminated the interrogative “why” from my language. I observe what’s said, what’s being done, and I deduce what results will follow from that. If they are rationally predictable I assume those results are the intent of the politician regardless of what he promises or claims. “I have nothing but your best interests at heart so I’m going to raise the cost of your heating, cooking, electricity, motor fuel and bottled goods. I’m going to close the business where you work. If you rent your property, I won’t let you, the owner, take it back. I will discourage owners from renting out accommodations and discourage building of rental properties with taxes and regulation.” I don’t want the politician to tell me their “why” – “To serve the public and to improve your quality of life” – I prefer to draw my own conclusions regarding their motivations. I may, however, at this point consider it reasonable to ask why they are doing this to their constituents.

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