Flemming: Vermont labor union boss reaffirms opposition to TCI

By David Flemming

The Vermont AFL-CIO labor union recently hosted a virtual panel discussion in which they answered questions from members of Vermont Interfaith Action, a left-leaning, faith-based political action group.

Guest Malcolm Fitzpatrick asked Vermont AFL-CIO President David van Deusen, “I was wondering if we could have a discussion among the Interfaith, about the pros and cons Michael Moore raises (in his documentary “Planet of the Humans”). He accuses us environmentalists of being white people who are trying to change the climate change into something that will only benefit the higher income people.”

Van Deusen answers Fitzpatrick by discussing one such policy that may “only benefit higher income people”: the Transportation Climate Initiative. He said:

It’s going to highlight places where we need to work things out. I have no doubt that 90% of the people in this (virtual) room supported TCI. The AFL-CIO of Vermont made the decision to publicly oppose TCI. And the reason we did is that we ultimately felt that it was going to be hard-working people driving to work, that were going to suffer a $0.15 gallon tax. … And they would have spent more money to get to work every day, when they’re struggling so hard right now, just to make ends meet. And if you see a hitchhiker on the side of the road, a lot of times those are carpenters and things like that, their car broke down, right?”

While I’ve never stopped to ask a hitchhiker their occupation, Van Deusen’s main point still stands. Van Deusen knows how Vermont politics works. While our legislators may insist that lower income Vermont residents will be better off after TCI because our legislators will get even more money from the TCI regional bureaucrats than they gave in gas taxes, this is unlikely.

Not only will this money have to pass through the hands of opportunistic legislators, it would also have to pass through the hands of TCI bureaucrats (most of whom are not from Vermont) before it “comes back” to low-income Vermonters, whom Van Deusen presumes to represent. Vermont’s legislature has a long history of “borrowing” from some pots of tax money for various spending projects without putting that money back. If legislators who are elected every two years feel comfortable ‘dipping into the money pot,’ how much more so would out of state, appointed bureaucrats? Van Deusen may not always have the interests of non-union low-income Vermonters at heart, but he does so here.

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

Image courtesy of Public domain
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4 thoughts on “Flemming: Vermont labor union boss reaffirms opposition to TCI

  1. Gas Guzzler Fees to Reduce CO2

    TCI is an expensive fool’s solution to a simple problem.

    Vermont should have an energy efficiency standard for light and medium duty vehicles.
    Just impose a annual tax on low mileage light and medium duty vehicles.
    The lower the mileage, the higher the tax.
    Annual fees would be paid at time of annual registration.
    Inefficient vehicles would rapidly disappear.
    CO2 would be rapidly reduced.

    EVs would not be needed, because they would reduce CO2 very little compared to EFFICIENT light duty vehicles as shown in this article.

    POOR ECONOMICS AND CO2 REDUCTION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN NEW ENGLAND
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/poor-economics-of-electric-vehicles-in-new-england

    The collected funds could be used for filling potholes.

    The wasteful/onerous/regressive Comprehensive Transportation Initiative, TCI, would not be needed. See URLs

    https://vtdigger.org/2020/01/08/jeffrey-wennberg-transportation-and-climate-initiative-doomed-to-fail/

    https://www.freightwaves.com/news/northeast-transportation-climate-initiative-meets-opposition

    https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/growing-opposition-transportation-climate-initiative-tci-environmental-social-justice-groups-new-jersey-nationally/

    https://climatejusticealliance.org/climate-justice-alliance-demands-states-step-back-from-the-inequitable-transportation-climate-initiative-due-to-its-policy-of-sacrificing-environmental-justice-communities/

    • Mr. Post is right that TCI is an expensive fool’s solution to a simple problem.

      One alternative to his proposal of a annual tax on vehicles based on what they get for mileage might be a modest gas tax of say 5 cents a gallon that would go directly to cities and towns for highway repairs in addition to what they all ready spend. Our locally maintained roads are the vast majority of Vermont’s highway system and are in many cases in desperate need of repair.
      It is likely that most people spend far more on repairs that are needed because of poor roads than they would with this tax. Those with lower incomes tend to live on the worst back roads and would probably benefit the most by the upgrades. This gas tax for local roads would also benefit from having those visiting the state who when they were buying gas would help pay for the roads they drive over, something that would not be done with an annual additional fee for vehicle registration

      • John,

        1) A Hummer would have at least a $1000 annual tax, on top of annual registration fees.
        A Chevy Suburban would have at least a $500 annual tax, on top of annual registration fees.
        Any 40-mpg vehicle or greater, would have no tax.

        That would get a lot of gas-guzzlers off the road, reduce CO2, reduce Vermont’s gasoline/diesel imports.

        The money could be used to help low-income people buy HIGH-MPG vehicles, 40 mpg or greater.

        This article explains in detail why it would NOT be a good idea “to go EV”.

        POOR ECONOMICS AND MINIMAL CO2 REDUCTION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN NEW ENGLAND
        https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/poor-economics-of-electric-vehicles-in-new-england

        2) The same approach should be used regarding NEW buildings.

        All new buildings should be ENERGY SURPLUS, and have R-40 walls, R-60 roofs, R-20 basements, R-8 triple-glaze windows, and R-10 doors, i.e., highly sealed and highly insulated.

        Almost EVERYONE who lives in such a building LOVES the comfort, the even temperatures, and the LOW FUEL AND ELECTRIC bills for MANY DECADES.

  2. “Vermont residents will be better off after TCI because our legislators will get even more money from the TCI regional bureaucrats than they gave in gas taxes, this is unlikely.”

    2 problems there, if legislators get the money VT tax pays will get
    none of it and second you never get money back from the government without it costing more then you got… so that’s as much a oxymoron as ” a left-leaning, faith-based political action group.”

    Maybe devil worship?

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