Guy Page: A tax is a tax is a TCI

By Guy Page

The sun rises in the east, the emperor really is buck naked, and the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) really is a tax.

Even a casual look at the regional plan to make Vermont drivers pay 5-20 cents per gallon more at the pump for gasoline and diesel would tell you TCI really should stand for “tax carbon incessantly.” Yet public officials have been insisting it is not a tax. As recently as Dec. 4, Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore told a room full of lawmakers it’s not a tax because, y’know, the extra money seized at the gas pump would be reinvested into Vermont.

Come again? Isn’t that what government should do with all tax revenue?

Rep. John Killacky, D-South Burlington, tried that argument, too, on the Dec. 31 Dave Gram Show on WDEV.

Guy Page

“Some people are calling it a carbon tax. I don’t think of it as a carbon tax. It’s a regional thing, and what happens is the money that is going to be taken out of this will be invested back into green energy and a green economy here in Vermont,” Killacky said.

But Gram — a longtime Statehouse reporter with a sharp nose for the smelly stuff — wasn’t buying it.

“I think shying away from that word sort of leaves a lot of voters with the impression that you’re trying to dodge something,” Gram told Killacky. “I’m saying, if it is a tax, if we need to have a tax. … Why can’t we call things what they are?”

Killacky replied, “Well, you know Dave, I don’t mind calling it a tax. I think the distinction I hear, and maybe it doesn’t change that in your framework it could be a tax, is that it’s invested back into the state. That this money isn’t just –

“That’s all the taxes that we pay! I pay taxes and it’s invested back into public safety,” Gram interrupted.

“Okay, then, I don’t disagree with you,” Killacky said.

This year, what also could be called the Tantalizing Carbon Income bill is priority 0ne for climate-minded legislators who need more tax revenue for expensive renewable power and alternative transportation spending items. The TCI will be the “banner bill,” Sen. Chris Pearson, P-Chittenden, promised climate caucus members Dec. 4. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson invoked our children and grandchildren in her support for TCI during her opening address yesterday:

We must do our part to curb emissions in order to slow the pace of global warming and reduce impacts on Vermont. We do not have time to wait. When I think of the world I want to leave for my nieces and nephew – when I look out in this chamber and think of the children and grandchildren, and in some cases great grandchildren that we represent, I am compelled to act. We will be taking a strong look at how Vermont can participate in a regional approach to the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI. We have a lot to gain from the investments our state can receive back from this regional partnership, and a lot to lose if we opt-out of participation and still find ourselves subject to the terms of the agreement.

Apparently now TCI also stands for “Terrible Crisis Intervention.” Act now or something worse will happen. Like the slow-witted targets of a telemarketer, we are being told that “we do not have time to wait.” Unless we are “compelled to act” right now, we have “a lot to lose.”

This dire yet vague prediction wants explaining. Is Johnson saying the other states will hose us even worse if we don’t join? So, that’s our choice — hoser or hosee? Take a seat at the table or find ourselves on the menu?

In all fairness, Johnson may be raising an issue that’s been a worry all along. If Vermont says no, won’t member states tax regional fuel dealers who will then pass along costs to Vermont drivers regardless?

But the deliberative, bi-cameral Legislature of our Brave Little State is smarter than that. Tougher, too. They could say ‘in your dreams, Rhode Island’ and ask the Vermont attorney general to scotch this obviously predatory tariff with an “interstate commerce” challenge in federal court.

But, back here in present-day reality, Montpelier wants to do something about carbon. Fair enough. It need not impoverish our rural poor or cave to unconstitutional threats. Instead, it could plant more trees and sell the “carbon sequestration credits.” Buy more low-cost hydro and nuclear power and direct a share of the savings to energy efficiency. Offer tax holidays for electric vehicles. Teach roofing contractors to market and install “green roofs.” Get a grant for small-town bike-sharing. Ask the media to promote ride-sharing.

This session, most Vermonters would be happy if TCI stood for “tax cut instead.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

9 thoughts on “Guy Page: A tax is a tax is a TCI

  1. by the way, my comment was actually from the Deep Green Resistance (DGR) web site, un edited…

    So the carbon tax is a load of San Fransisco sidewalk stuff.


  2. Will green technology save the planet?

    No. Wind turbines, solar PV panels, and the grid itself are all manufactured using cheap energy from fossil fuels. When fossil fuel costs begin to rise such highly manufactured items will simply cease to be feasible.

    Solar panels and wind turbines aren’t made out of nothing. They are made out of metals, plastics, and chemicals. These products have been mined out of the ground, transported, processed, manufactured. Each stage leaves behind a trail of devastation: habitat destruction, water contamination, colonization, toxic waste, slave labor, greenhouse gas emissions, wars, and corporate profits.

    The basic ingredients for renewables are the same materials that are ubiquitous in industrial products, like cement and aluminum. No one is going to make cement in any quantity without using the energy of fossil fuels. And aluminum? The mining itself is a destructive and toxic nightmare from which riparian communities will not awaken in anything but geologic time.

    From beginning to end, so called “renewable energy” and other “green technologies” lead to the destruction of the planet. These technologies are rooted in the same industrial extraction and production processes that have rampaged across the world for the last 150 years.

    We are not concerned with slightly reducing the harm caused by industrial civilization; we are interested in stopping that harm completely. Doing so will require dismantling the global industrial economy, which will render impossible the creation of these technologies.

    Will renewable energy save the economy?

    Renewable energy technologies rely heavily on government subsidies, taken from taxpayers and given directly to large corporations like General Electric, BP, Samsung, and Mitsubishi. While the scheme pads their bottom lines, it doesn’t help the rest of us.

  3. Hey Julie you’re telling the folks that TCI is not a tax because “it will be reinvested in Vermont”? Are you trying to kid me or yourself? Your definition would suggest that income, sales, motor vehicle, real estate taxes are not taxes at all for the same reason that TCI is not a tax. Can’t help but wonder if you ever went to school or if you did, did you learn anything??? This is a prime example of the inmates running the insitution.

  4. And who does Secretary Julie Moore work for? Who appointed her to her Secretarial position?

    “As recently as Dec. 4, Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore told a room full of lawmakers it’s not a tax because, y’know, the extra money seized at the gas pump would be reinvested into Vermont.”

  5. Vermonter’s better wake up, Montpelier’s Progressive ” brain trust” has only one concern
    and that’s their agenda and to fuel their nonsense, well it’s TAX, TAX, TAX….

    Hey, Montpelier how about a balanced budget, a solution to unfunded liabilities before you
    insert another tax………TCI is a tax and will burden our Citizens for what ??

  6. I’m wondering which part of Killacky’s work experience in the streets of San Franquano arts and theater gives him his insight into the need of more taxes, for the public good??
    Or is it just his ability to persuade thru making the unreality reality..
    Either way he’s like all the other fascist flatlanders, oblivious to the destruction
    they cause the middle and poor class in their rush to saddle the taxpayer with
    more unneeded expense in the name of leftist agenda… Why don’t he go back to San Fran and fix the mess out there instead of trying to make ones here??

  7. Yes, because little Vermont ( one of smallest populations in the US. ) is going to have a major impact on the climate hoax if we enact a tax. What Vermont does is going to offset what happens in China and India……. hahaha
    Citizens of Vermont need to get their heads out of their asses, and fast. These progressive communist are taking away Vermonters freedoms, peace and dignity one legislative act at a time. They, in my honest opinion have the system rigged in their favor, and it’s time we hard working, overly taxed paying citizens say enough is enough.
    Damn it, it’s time to drain the Montpelier cesspool, and this is the year to do so

  8. The whole concept of warming is a hoax. If it was real all these so-smart scientists would devise an experiment that is repeatable and passes peer review. — they haven’t and can’t. Their sole income is based on research grants, and if they proved the warming wasn’t so, they would be out of cash and looking for a real job with a smear on their record.

    And every bureaucrat that supports this needs to be replaced with someone who has a full set of working brains.

    • I could not have said it better! Consumers are being lied to and children are being traumatized by greed and financial gain. It’s all about the Benjamins.

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