‘Green’ lawmakers call for enforced green energy quotas, a wealth tax, electric car subsidies

BURLINGTON — Top green activist lawmakers got together Wednesday night for a public discussion on the status of environmental legislation passed in Vermont, as well as goals they would like to see pursued next year. The event was hosted by the Sierra Club.

Participants speaking at the Fletcher Free Library included Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat; Curt McCormack, D-Burlington and chair of the House Transportation Committee; Rep. Mary Sullivan, D-Burlington, also a Transportation Committee member; and Rep. Selene Colburn, P-Burlington, a former clerk of the House climate caucus.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

TEAM GREEN: Democrat and Progressive lawmakers are pushing some of the most ambitious green agendas including enforcement of green energy goals, a wealth tax and more.

Topics of the evening covered, among other things, enforcement mechanisms for green energy quotas, a wealth tax to fund green energy programs, additional electric vehicle subsidies, and more.

The general feeling among the panel members was that while tangible progress has been made around electronic vehicles and weatherization, stronger measures should be taken in the next legislative session to address what they perceive to be an imminent climate crisis.

“I’m sure you’ve all heard about the dairy farmers are struggling and vegetable farmers with the rains we’ve had until this last week. So it’s all related and it’s all right now,” Zuckerman said. … I can tell you these last three rainy springs and last summer’s draught up here and the incredible rains down south, these patterns are not the normal patterns we’ve been having.”

With Vermont being one of the most rural states in the nation, addressing emissions from the transportation sector is a challenge. This year the governor approved $1.5 million to subsidize new electric vehicle purchases, which the panelists said is not enough.

“It’s only for moderate income people. If you are in the end [of the eligibility bracket] it’s 160 percent of the median income in the region, and if you make more than that then you are not eligible for this at all,” McCormack said. “It’s not for people that can afford them at all and it may not be enough. It’s only $2,500 or $5,000 depending on your income. The $1.5 million, our committee felt, is nowhere near enough.”

According to Energysage.com, the average starting cost for popular EV models begins at around $20,000-$30,000; higher end brands can be $60,000 and up. These prices are estimated after accounting for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The panelists would like to see adoption of EVs at around 15 percent, which they believe would bring vehicle costs down.

Sullivan said she is disappointed that a carbon tax hasn’t been approved by the Legislature. She suggested that opponents of the tax are misleading the public on the issue.

“The misinformation campaign was like nothing I’ve ever ever seen before. This information comes directly from the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil,” she said. “And some of these people come screaming in that you have to not go for a carbon tax, and I stop them and talk about it and they don’t quite know what they are talking about.

“So that’s very disheartening, and it’s difficult when some legislators felt they could never get elected in the first place if they said they were going to support a carbon tax.”

Zuckerman suggested that instead of directly taxing the consumption of carbon-based energy — which at least one study suggests could have bad results for income sensitive Vermonters — a better approach would be to tax upper-income citizens and then use those funds for green initiatives. He added there is a consistent correlation between the rise of carbon emissions and the rise of wealth inequality.

“That actually took my mind going from carbon tax to a wealth tax and having it be related because, frankly, as our climate is being destroyed our economic livelihood for everyday people is being destroyed,” he said. “And so we need to take those resources and bring that back into the infrastructure, transportation in particular.”

Colburn talked about the Global Warming Solutions Act, a proposal that would use enforcement mechanisms to force a shift towards renewable energy goals.

“It takes our existing statutory goals and then says ‘OK, Agency of Natural Resources, you know you are going to be responsible for telling us on a semi-annual basis how you are going to meet these goals; you are going to come back and you are gonna report, but there’s an enforcement mechanism in that bill for all of you, too.'”

She explained that regular citizens would be able to go to court and seek “an injunctive relief,” and then the court can order the entities in question to “get back on track.”

Panel members also discussed utilizing youth movements to advance green energy policy at the Statehouse, increasing the weatherization of homes for energy efficiency, and exploring mass transit options including the revival of a rail system.

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

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

17 thoughts on “‘Green’ lawmakers call for enforced green energy quotas, a wealth tax, electric car subsidies

    • Have any of these people read the latest studies that show producing the batteries for EV’s leaves a bigger footprint than a internal combustion engine produces in its lifetime. Bunch of morons.

  1. These five have no shame.
    They are scheming to rob more money from some people to pay for Do Gooder programs for their per constituencies that vote Dem/Prog.

    Imagine to help the poor into electric vehicles that perform terrible in winter.
    The lower cost EVs have small batteries, i..e., not much range.
    These EVs will be parked most of the time.

    Why not set up a company that rents EVs on a daily basis?
    “Rent an EV for the Day” it would be called.

    • Tax the wealthy and use government coercion, and name and shame, to achieve arbitrary CO2 reduction goals by means of more and more government programs targeted to help low and medium income households with whatever they need or desire, because there is where the Dem/Prog votes are.

      These folks never think about what they can do to increase real growth or the anemic Vermont economy, which has consistently underperform US real growth for decades.

      That is entirely due to the business-adverse, government induced business environment (New Hampshire has no such problem) and socialistic policies of the past 20 years, which have been getting worse, not better.

      The last thing Vermont needs is Dem/Prog veto proof majorities.

  2. ” these patterns are not the normal patterns we’ve been having.”

    Newsflash Zukie, there is NO NORMAL in Weather. It goes up and it goes down
    it rains lots and it rains not much at all….that’s the facts jack. That’s why old farmers always diversified their income factors. If it’s dry you cut logs and sell
    lumber, If it’s wet you raise ducks. Point being you can’t ever count on NORMAL
    Weather since there’s no such thing… The climate does change but the government cannot control it no matter how much of our money they spend trying to. Or how many feel good meetings they have sponsored by ecoterrorist….

  3. One thing never talked about is the geoengineering constantly going on, to make weather appear.
    Every time it rains, take a look at the water splashing in the road. Is it sudsy?
    Or even white, like paint in with the Solar Radiation Management mix they spray into the sky?
    Natural weather is so rare, and there is a political agenda which amounts to war really.
    “You can fool most of the people most of the time”. True, but “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”.
    I wish they would leave her along. Man does not control the weather.
    It is a cult. Which of them would dare to view contradictory evidence, or even the evidence written in the sky?
    I can remember when car exhaust was a real pollution problem. It even had lead in it! Nothing like that now. Give them a new video game or something. Get off our backs!

  4. Climate crisis?

    The Burlington heating degree days decreased from 7400 in 2001 to 6800 in 2016, a compounded decrease of 0.51% per y.
    That means people need to use less fuel for building heating, i.e., less CO2 emissions.

    During these years the Burlington area grew in population and various activities.
    More energy was used.
    The area became more of a heat island
    That means HDD decreased.

    It is likely at least less than half of the HDD decrease is due to GW, with the rest due to population and economic growth.

  5. This is all pie in the sky mish mash. The amoung of emissions in Vermont are so miniscule in world trems, its laughable that these well meanning clowns are spending their time chasing their tails. Still no answers about the cost of insalling charging stations, the cost of generating the electricity needed to crecharge or perhaps, most importantly, the amount of carbon emissions which will result in generating the recharge electricity. Won’t even be able to hitch up ole Nelly to drive to market. I guess these folks have nothing better or more productive to do with their time. Do they have real jobs?

  6. Don’t these people on the left and far left ever take a break? The session is over, give us, the ordinary people a break.

  7. They forget that RICH people provide jobs for the middle class not poor people. If a wealth tax drives those job providers to another state, jobs are lost.

  8. Lets call these people what they are; Carpetbaggers and Scallywags — and they are no better the the ones who raided the south starting in 1866.

  9. They’re determined to put this ‘wealth tax’ into effect – forgetting that the roads leading into the State also lead out. Vermont is accelerating toward bankruptcy and the lunatics can only talk about how to confiscate more money from the citizens.

  10. Even though a study by German scientists find electric vehicles are responsible over the ten year expected battery life of adding 11% to 28% more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than their Diesel counterparts when energy requirements including battery production are considered, I still don’t object to members of the AGW cult’s freedom to buy and use them, realizing it is a guilt alleviating ritual of their religion. But expecting the rest of us to pay for it? Negative on that. You want an electric car, fine. No subsidies. No additional taxes on the rest of us. The time will come when it’s cost competitive; we’ll all be using them then. Reducing the state’s industry/ population by taxation (Tytler cycle) may reduce the state’s carbon production, but is it worth it? Allow the time for competitive technological advances to solve the problem.

    • You can’t reason with these folks. Just as well be a religious cult… Climatology… and they sit right next to the scientology crowd.

      The climate zealots look at climate and think… we changed it… we just changed it in a way that isn’t best for us… so this lit a light bulb in their small minds… we can change it to conform to our will…we can be in control of climate… we just need to gain control of everyone’s activity to do so… that’s what this is really about…and obsession over power and control.

  11. Such sound reasoning! We have seen how successful taxing the rich has been in New Jersey and Connecticut. This is a model that certainly should be copied in Vermont.
    I find it fascinating that, if I mock global warming on a cold day the eco warriors will scream “that’s weather you idiot, not climate!” On the other hand, they attribute rain, drought, heat, cold, snow, lack of snow, etc. etc. all to climate change.

    • NY figured it out as well. It cost them the tune of about 2 billion is tax revenue.

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