Moore: Carbon tax will affect each and every Vermonter

By Bill Moore

An idea that was met with enormous opposition at the polls in 2016 and in the General Assembly in 2017 is still being promoted as the solution to the challenge of climate change. This miracle is known as the carbon tax.

Proponents claim that the “fee” for using motor vehicles, heating homes and businesses, and imposing it on virtually anything that emits carbon will force consumers and industry to use less, ultimately lowering emissions.

Vote for Vermont

Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Make no mistake, what proponents of a carbon “fee” are talking about is a tax that will affect each and every Vermonter. It is in fact not a “fee” but is a new tax, plain and simple. Fees are generally defined as monies collected to fund the operation of specific programs. A tax is generally revenue collected to operate government.

Proponents of the carbon tax [in past years] have floated an incremental increase in the tax on fuels (gasoline, diesel, heating oil, etc.) of up to 89 cents. Put into perspective, today’s Vermont gas tax is 30 cents per gallon (32 cents for diesel). Add on the federal fuel excise tax of 18.4 cents (24.2 cents for diesel) and today’s gasoline tax is 48.4 cents per gallon. Given today’s average per gallon cost for gasoline of $2.58, you can get an idea of where a carbon tax will take us. And that is without any sudden escalation for the price of a barrel of crude.

[The so-called Essex Plan being floated for 2018 proposes adding 32 cents per gallon of gasoline, 40 cents on diesel and home heating fuel, and 24 cents per gallon of propane and natural gas, phased in over an eight-year period.]

A selling point that proponents always promise is that the carbon tax will be used to subsidize electric rates. Often, the promise is that the carbon tax will be used to support low income consumers, fund renewable energy, etc. How often have we heard promises like that before, only to see the new tax collected used for some other purpose?

The carbon tax is, like any sales tax, regressive by its very nature. Those who can least afford it will be forced to pay more in order to get to work. They will pay more to drive to the store. They will pay more to go to visit relatives. The cost to heat their homes will increase exponentially. The cost to use electricity for cooking and watching television will go up. The cost to use natural gas, propane, etc. for cooking and heating will go up. Obviously, anyone who lives in a rural area and has a commute to work will feel the pinch.

Another piece to the carbon tax [in years past would have been] to tax carbon-producing industries at the rate of up to $10 per ton of carbon emissions produced and incrementally increase it until it reaches $100 per ton. [The Essex Plan proposes a cost of $5 per ton annually, reaching $40 per ton after eight years.]

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s most recent 2012 study on greenhouse emissions said that the state produced 9.12 million tons of greenhouse gasses. Transportation was responsible for 45 percent of those emissions, while residential and commercial fuels were responsible for 21 percent. Electricity generation was responsible for 11 percent. Agriculture was responsible for 10.2 percent. Interestingly, industrial fuels came in at 6.2 percent and industrial processes registered 3.4 percent.

The bottom line is that the carbon tax is a pocketbook issue for all consumers. Businesses will not absorb the higher costs that they face due to the carbon tax. That tax increase will be passed directly back to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Vermont legislators are not the only ones who are considering this huge tax increase. There is a plan in the Northeast led by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to map out a strategy to impose a regional carbon tax. We’ll be keeping an eye on this.

Rather than support a higher taxing scheme, the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce supports energy policies that encourage reliable and affordable electricity and fuels for heating and transportation. We want to ensure rates that are competitive and are cognizant of the cost to businesses of all sizes. We encourage energy conservation and use of renewables without shifting costs. We also support local control over siting renewable energy sources.

The Chamber supports efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that the private sector leads the way in technology and innovation, offering the greatest potential to emission reductions and easing the harmful impacts of climate change.

Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Images courtesy of Flickr/ and Vote for Vermont

12 thoughts on “Moore: Carbon tax will affect each and every Vermonter

  1. The Carbon tax , is just another liberal way off getting money into the government to fuel
    there over spending on there ridiculous feel good programs , just look at the States Debt .
    shameful !!

    What the best way to squeeze the last dollars out of your citizens , that are already over
    taxed ??

    Lets see tax how about taxing there Home Heating oil that a necessity to survive winters grip , Gasoline lets see , yes another necessity to get to and from work , well those that do ………..

    Time to wake up and toss these liberals out !!

    • The UN demand for carbon tax is non-binding. I don’t think President Trump will let the Liberals apply this tax idea. This is Al Gore’s money making idea. The Liberals want this to stick to the American people. Dump the DNC, Keith Ellison and his Muslim brotherhood.

  2. Can Vermont possibly think of any more things to tax us on ? Why is Montpelier trying to drive us all out of our homes and making it unaffordable to live here anymore. Especially my Senior friends are moving away ….

  3. As a service contractor, I suppose I could raise my hourly rate by a buck or two to cover this expropriation of my profits. This only works if my competition does too, or I will lose business. Perhaps to drive the point home to my customers, I can add a ‘Carbon Tax Recovery Fee’ to my bills for the amount of mileage driven to the work site, supply house, etc.

  4. sadly it will be time to my home to go up for sale ,hopefully a rich out of stater will buy it.
    moving south

    • Great plan…sell it to a trust-fund baby who fellow-travels. Move to a warmer cheaper part of the world that uses dollars…Belize for instance.

  5. The minute this state imposes a carbon tax I plan to put my house on the market. This state is run by idiots. Left wing wackos who are so wrapped up in their twisted ideology they are afraid of seeking the truth about the global warming B.S.. They are Communists, whether they know it or not. Stupid, stupid people.

  6. Should this State enact a ‘carbon tax’, I fully intend to become a ‘carbon smuggler’. I will purchase a small fleet of tankers to bring in gasoline, diesel and propane from beyond our borders (which aren’t that far away), and I know there will be no shortage of drivers.
    Our country wasn’t made great by meekly submitting to brain-dead, out-of-touch ‘progressive’ liars masquerading as politicians.
    I look forward to the challenge.

  7. Im a retired vet on a fixed income. Im 7 generations if not more deep in this state. Im bouncing out of this state. It is no longer affordable for Vermonters. Good luck getting enough money to pay for refugees and the welfare. I hope the rest of the working class flees as well

  8. Bill,
    Thank you for your very well written commentary. Any politician knows being for a carbon tax is like touching the third rail. Look what happened to Minter.

    Various RE interests and lobbyists are going around the state to promote a carbon tax to save RE businesses, because federal subsidies are decreasing.

    The carbon tax would take $240 – $300 million out of people’s pockets and transfer it to the state government.

    As part of various state programs, some people would get some money back as rebates, many others would get nothing back, or much less than paid in.

    A carbon tax would significantly increase the cost of gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil and propane for heating.

    For Vermont to impose a unilateral carbon tax would make its economy less competitive versus other states, i.e., more brain drain, and fewer good-paying, steady, full-time jobs, with good benefits in the private sector.

    A carbon tax would be another headwind for the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

    A carbon tax would further aggrandize Vermont’s government, which is too large, too inefficient, spending too much money, is bloated with programs, and is running annual deficits, that are offset with annual increases of taxes, fees and surcharges, as if money grows on trees.

    Vermont finally has a governor, who aims to reduce the bloated, wasteful state government to enable the anemic, hollowed-out private sector to start growing again.

    2) Vermont’s Goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”

    The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, has a non-binding goal to have “90% RE of all primary energy by 2050”.

    That goal would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017 – 2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network 2015 Annual Report.

    Not counted is the refurbishment and replacement of short-lived wind and solar systems, and cost of financing, etc., during the 2017 – 2050 period.

    The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees of about $1.0 billion per year for 33 years. It would require many, inefficient, government programs to implement it. It would lead to gross aggrandizement of state government.

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