Flemming: Climate redistribution from Vermonters to billionaires

By David Flemming

At least one legislator is willing to admit it: vehicle feebates are carbon taxes. Worse, he admits feebates may not even stay in Vermont. They could end up in the pockets of out-of-state billionaires funding green energy.

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the House Committee on Transportation considered putting new fees on all gas or diesel powered vehicles below a yet-to-be determined miles per gallon threshold.

A feebate aims to lower “transportation related fuel consumption and carbon emissions using two primary elements.” These are “rebates awarded to purchasers of low emissions vehicles” which are funded by “fees assessed on the purchase of vehicles that emit more GHGs and are less energy efficient.” Sounds like a carbon tax to me.

And while some legislators may have qualms about calling it as such, committee chair Curt McCormack did not. “I really like feebates, but it could be an indirect carbon tax,” he said.

state of Vermont

State Rep. Curt McCormack, D-Burlington

Leading up to this admission, was some other forthcoming analysis. Discussion of electric vehicles led McCormack to say “costs are coming down. At point do we consider (electric) vehicles without incentives?”

“A lot of people no longer consider those factors in their purchasing decision.” Vehicle manufacturers are “going to have to hit that price point. The danger is if the price point is above the level where the incentive kicks in, they would just raise the price. (The manufacturer) would capture the rebate.”

There are two classes of businesses in Vermont: those that cater to the needs of their neighbors and those that cater to the “needs” of the legislature. If you fool several customers once, you won’t be in business long. Fool the legislature and/or the federal government, by raising the price of EV’s to match any state/federal subsidy, and it seems they’ll turn a blind eye so long as they like your mission statement.

McCormack frankly admits vehicle feebates create the incentives for hoodwinking the government. And yet, he “really likes” them. Of course, the only foreseeable reason for this support can be to ‘fight climate change.’

Just 10 years ago during Occupy Wall Street, progressives clamored for a government that showed less favoritism for business. Now that has gone out the window.

The ends (climate action) justifies the means (giving big businesses on ‘climate crusades’ whatever government funding they ask for). Hardworking Vermonters could already be putting money in the pockets of billionaires like Tesla owner Elon Musk (net worth $26 billion) whenever a Vermont dealership sells an electric Tesla. And now, apparently, our legislators want to tax everyday gas-powered vehicles, which may put even more money in the hands of billionaires.

Climate action has a veneer of social justice around it. But prod that presumption a little bit, and climate justice simply becomes government redistribution from those ‘too frugal to purchase the shiny new climate toys’ and toward ‘those who don’t know how to get rich without government funding.’ It is becoming apparent that even social justice warriors, like all of us who love freedom and equality, must oppose the most extreme climate alarmists.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org and state of Vermont
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11 thoughts on “Flemming: Climate redistribution from Vermonters to billionaires

  1. My guess is… Politicians won’t have to pay carbon taxes. They’ll get exempt status, or kickbacks to offset the carbon tax.
    As I have said before, I need an all wheel drive SUV in the winter and mud season. And, none of those are available. Even if they were, I couldn’t afford one. And what happens at year seven when my battery module is worn out? What kind of fees will the state have for proper disposal?

    • ” And what happens at year seven when my battery module is worn out?”

      Or maybe sooner due to the cold climate battery degradation thats bound to happen
      LIVING in a colder then normal climate. Can you afford the +5,000 bucks which you
      use to be able to buy a used good condition gas auto????

  2. My guess is… Politicians won’t have to pay carbon taxes. They’ll get exempt status, or kickbacks to offset the carbon tax.
    As I have said before, I need an all wheel drive SUV in the winter and mud season. And, none of those are available. Even if they were, I couldn’t afford one. And what happens at year seven when my battery module is worn out? What kind of fees will the state have for proper disposal?

  3. The gas guzzler “feebate” urged by VPIRG and its senator, Peter Shumlin, passed the Senate in 2007 but disappeared from the eventual bill enacted the following year. (Act 209). But the VPIRG/VNRC/CLF carbon tax movement never gives up. If they can’t get the whole works, they’ll take one piece at a time. This year it’s TCI and even worse, the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688).

  4. Vermont should revive the gas guzzler tax.
    The annual tax would be paid at time of registration
    The tax would apply to all gas and diesel light duty vehicles, I.e., cars, SUVs, minivans, 1/4 -ton pick-ups

    Above 30 mpg, EPA combined, no tax
    28-30 mpg, $100 tax
    26-28 mpg, $200 tax
    24-26 mpg, $300 tax
    22-24 mpg, $400 tax
    20-22 mpg, $500 tax
    18-20 mpg, $600 tax
    16-18 mpg, $700 tax
    14-16 mpg, $800 tax
    Etc.

    With such an annual tax, there would be a very quick migration to higher mileage LDVs.
    This measure will significantly reduce transportation CO2 emissions.

    TAX THE GUZZLERS

    • ………..and there will be states that will gladly accept a “reasonable ” fee to register in that state, wherever that may be; N.H. comes to mind as one.
      Because VT is stuck on stupid in many respects, N H has been the recipient of the alternatives Vermonters have found to work for them.

      With someone like Blittersdorf pulling in the horns, it is time to pay attention to why. There is a very relevant element in Vermont that insists that we continue down the road to who knows where, to save ourselves from the that dreaded stuff that has kept this country in place since the industrial revolution. It is what we need to do even though there is no info on affordability, no predictions on improvements in our well being. If Blittersdorf is not getting a new dollar for an old one, why should average Vermonters do any different?
      The climate and so called “change” is a smokescreen for the real goals, which are control of our lives and our money and our firearms taken away. It is that simple; whether or not Vermonters wake up in this next election and retire the progressives remains to be seen. I will be casting my votes in a direction that will bring that about.

      • Jim, there would be no advantage to register a vehicle in New Hampshire because the registration fee is based on the model and year of the vehicle. As an example, we bought a new Chevy Silverado truck last spring. When we register it in February the fee will be $800.00. Of course, we have no sales tax or income tax so we realize money to run the state has to come from somewhere.

  5. Would McCormack and his cronies get off this climate change con and get on with the peoles’ business. As the man once said, ” follow the money”. What amazes me is these clowns have gotten themselves reelected year after year. Will somebody wake up!!!!!

  6. Yikes, another racket to rob the poor to feed the rich! Feebates, I wonder how much somebody was paid to make up this ridiculous “word”?
    Hey Mick, feebate some of this!!!!!

  7. This is soo strange to me, because it has been obvious for a long time to anyone with the ability to discern fact from fiction. Vermont has been tinkering with Socialist Engineering for a few decades. While propping up and expanding social programs, it has created these rebates and incentives that only the well off can take advantage of and that the expense of such are born by the average worker. Classic Vermont- give a penny, take a pound.

  8. Climate redistribution from Vermonters to out of state billionaires, and what
    else did you think would happen.

    The ones pushing these new taxes, surely understand just how easy it will
    be to fleece the ” mind trust ” in Montpelier, you just have to listen to there
    agenda………. easy pickings !!

    But you’ll be paying is things pass, wake up people.

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