Gov. Scott on Vermont’s potential TCI membership: ‘I’m not supportive’ of a carbon tax

Michael Bielawski/TNR

KEEPING HIS WORD: Gov. Phil Scott says he’s still not going to support a carbon tax, even though he’s weighing Vermont’s membership in the Transportation and Climate Initiative along with 11 other Northeastern states.

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott at a press conference Thursday addressed the issue of a regional climate initiative, saying he would not support any form of a carbon tax.

“Most of the states in the Northeast, and it’s a number of them, they have a seat at the table to learn more about the initiative — we have to be objective about this,” he said. “But suffice to say, my feelings haven’t changed on a carbon tax. If that is all it is, a carbon tax, then I’m not supportive of that.”

Since his successful 2016 gubernatorial campaign, the Republican governor has made opposition to a tax on CO2 a cornerstone of his political platform. On his campaign website, Scott even criticized former Democratic rival Sue Minter’s support for a regional carbon tax for New England, including her support for a cap-and-trade program.

That regional cap-and-trade program has taken shape recently in the form of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). The program’s jurisdictions include 12 northeastern states and the District of Columbia. Last December, Vermont signed onto a “declaration of intent” as a starting point for joining the initiative.

Under the current policy proposal, the TCI regional members would set a price on transportation-related carbon emissions, place a cap on the amount of CO2 released from vehicles using transportation fuels, and require fuel suppliers to purchase allowances for every ton of carbon dioxide that results from the fuel they sell. The costs would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices.

At the press conference Thursday, Scott said he continues to oppose a carbon tax, and would oppose formal membership in the Transportation and Climate Initiative if it is an equivalent scheme.

Other states participating in the TCI’s early development are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

When asked at the press conference if the TCI proposes something that ultimately charges for carbon emissions, Scott doubled down on his stance.

“I’m against the carbon tax,” he said. “I just think it’s important not to discount anything — we’re there to listen. Some states are supportive, we’ll see where everyone ends up. We’re still in the learning phase.”

While governors have the final say on whether or not to commit their states to the initiative, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Peter Walke is attending TCI planning meetings with officials from the other jurisdictions and is expected to report back to Scott’s office with policy details as they develop.

A TCI-related document posted on the ANR website states, “Working regionally, Vermont will be able to reduce transportation emissions in a way that keeps us economically competitive with our neighbors.” Some key action items in that document include electric vehicle incentives, expanding investments in transit, and “incentives to influence land-use decisions that lead to decreased demand for single-occupancy vehicles.”

Many of these items are already being promoted by the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Moreover, electric utilities are being required by the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards to offer financial incentives for electric vehicle purchases.

The Green Mountain State is not formally signed onto the TCI, however, until the governor gives a green light.

A handful of Vermont-specific carbon tax schemes have been pushed at the Statehouse in recent years, but critics have highlighted the increased costs they would have on transportation, heating and energy. One of those attempts was the ill-fated “Essex Plan,” which got panned by conservative critics.

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

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

14 thoughts on “Gov. Scott on Vermont’s potential TCI membership: ‘I’m not supportive’ of a carbon tax

  1. Just who exactly is the person(s) who signed onto the “declaration of intent” for joining the initiative last December? The lawmakers don’t seem to know. Finding out who signed us up needs to be determined and then find out under what authority they did so. Wouldn’t that be called transparency? Is this something TNR can ferret out?

  2. Uh-oh! We’re in trouble now. If he says one thing you know that he’ll actually do the other. It’s the political gene.

  3. The folly of this whole exercise about Co2 emissions is that if Vermont were somehow to become a zero emissions state, it would make zip, zero, nada difference in the world wide community. Why these folks keep spinning their collective wheels and wasting tax funded time on this nonissue is beyond me. Only in Vermont.

    • Mike, the reason for much of Vermont’s excessive taxes and regulations… democrats and progressives can feel clever and morally superior. They are neither.

      • Matt, you’re not diggin the New World Order kool aid? Come on take a drink, you’ll be instantly clever and morally superior. Don’t be afraid, all the kids are drinking it up.

        Rather sad huh?

        They could care less about poor, women, or the environment. They care very much about money, power and control. Nazi World Order… you like brown?

  4. Scott is not supporting any carbon tax.
    Great, about 80% of Vermont voters/workers agree with Scott.

    Tha last thing the Vermont economy needs is taxes that chase even more businesses out of Vermont and prevent even more businesses from even considering coming to Vermont.

    Vermont already has the very dubious distinction of being rated 44th on the business attractiveness list.

    Next door New Hampshire is 10th on the list; no sales tax, no income tax, no inheritance/death tax.

    How come the Socialists in Montpelier and Burlington don’t get their policies have been failures in the USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, China, etc.

    Their Socialist policies are failures in Vermont already for about 30 years.
    They need to wake up to a dose of reality

    • Willem’s post hits the nail squarely on the head! So many folks have posted similar comments regarding our legislature going completely in the wrong direction. Why is the message not getting through?

    • Hey don’t forget, VT has a booming arts & crafts and micro breweries businesses. They employ perhaps only the owners. Big industry. Now the Hemp farmers are increasing, and VT Tax department will have a hand in their pockets. Ride around the NE Kingdom, observe during the growing season. Going to look up info of how many businesses have folded and left VT over the years. Sending to the Socialists & Governor in Montpelier.

      Also thanks to the SCOTUS, VT can tax internet sales. The tax Dept also gets data from credit card outfits regarding VT purchasers in NH and send residents a sales tax bill. Know of many people buy in NH cash only. The tentacles of the Tax Dept Octopus.

  5. Scott’s statement raises more questions , in looking at his past practices when the left starts hammering him. He is afraid to be on the opposite end of the progressives’ positions.
    With that in mind, voters need to come out of the wood-work, as they have done before when the chips are down, and get this Benedict put out to pasture.
    I for one, never supported him even from the start, and I have no regrets.

    • Why do you have to sign anything if you only want to listen? Signing a letter of intent is not listening.

      “If that is all it is, a carbon tax, then I’m not supportive of that.” Very couched words. So if it includes things that aren’t carbon tax are you for it?

  6. If the situation quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, walks like a duck, acts like a duck, in a duck house, it must be Montpelier duckalogy.

  7. “Does anyone in the state of Vermont believe flip flop Scott anymore..”

    Nope, and he only said that to delay the daggers that will be flying at him when he “goes along”
    with the rest of the coalition of climatism…

  8. Does anyone in the state of Vermont believe flip flop Scott anymore..

    Governor Scott we will never forget your promise that you would refuse to impose gun laws on the people in one of the safest states in America.

    You have proven yourself to be a traitor.

    Vermont is picking the pockets of the hard-working law-abiding taxpayers in the state of Vermont little by little with the help of this Governor pushing the climate hoax.

    This is the guy that is paying people ten thousand bucks to move into a state that used to have people pouring in here because it was so beautiful and free..

    Now he wants to subsidize the Socialists so they can buy their electric cars.

    We need some real Republican leadership in the state of Vermont.

    Vermonters let’s get behind our state Deb Billado and get some real conservative Republicans on the ticket and get them elected.

    We are on the verge of losing our state because of the Rhinos in the Republican Party in the Socialist that have slithered into Vermont and have been elected to represent under the golden dome…

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