Roper: Gov. candidate Hallquist comes out for carbon tax, but refuses to call it that

By Rob Roper

In a July 9 interview on WDEV’s Dave Gram show, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist came out in favor of a carbon tax on Vermonters.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

The first question the host asked her was, why are you running for governor, and her first answer was, “My passion was to solve climate change using the electric grid,” and promised to “accelerate the work we’re doing on climate change, because we can.” Hallquist then cited her qualifications as CEO of an electric cooperative, the Vermont Electric Co-Op.

She was then specifically asked if she supported the latest carbon tax scheme, the ESSEX Plan, which would place a tax on fossil fuels (ultimately, gasoline at 32 cents per gallon, diesel and home heating oil at 40 cents per gallon, and propane, natural gas, and others similarly). The revenue would then be used to subsidize electric rates by giving grants to utilities like the one Hallquist used to run. (She stepped down from her position to run for governor.)

Hallquist replied, “Yeah … putting a price on carbon is the most effective policy [for reducing climate change].” She then qualified that she would look at all ideas in a collaborative process, but reiterated, “I will tell you that is the most effective method of mitigating carbon — is putting a price on carbon.”

What followed was a bizarre debate between the host and the candidate over language as Hallquist steadfastly refused to call the carbon tax a tax. “You’ve got to be careful — I think using the word “tax”… becomes inflammatory,” said Hallquist. The host, Dave Gram, was having none of it.

Dave Gram: “You expressed a great deal of reluctance to use the “T” word – “tax” — when referring to a new levy on carbon based fossil fuels, and I just sort of sat back for a moment and thought to myself if we can’t use the word tax anymore in our political discourse – you know taxes are a pretty matter of course thing that are raised to various degrees on various things to fund government. … Tell me a little bit about your reluctance to use that word. That is what we’re talking about? A tax on fossil fuels?”

Christine Hallquist: “I don’t want to miss innovative ideas like a price on carbon by using language that might have been coopted by others. … [A long dissembling explanation on use of language referencing Reagan, income inequality, and dividing people as opposed to bringing them together] … “If we call it a price on carbon, which is what I believe it is, opponents are going to call it a tax. Now, taxes have been used to drive fear and division into Vermont and really specifically so within the last two years, and that’s exactly why I am running.”

Dave Gram: Aren’t we ceding that there has to be a negative connotation to the word “tax”? … Because we have now decided to relegate “tax” to a word that is divisive and bad, we’re not even allowed to use it anymore and be straight forward about what we’re doing. I mean, I think people will peel back the phrase “a price on carbon” and say, oh, that means I’m going to be paying an extra thirty or forty cents a gallon for gasoline. Then maybe you could make the argument that, yeah, there are very good reasons for doing that. We’re trying to discourage the use of gasoline. We want to raise this money to put into other kinds of energy conservation, or other types of transportation, or whatever. We’re going to employ it to try and fight climate change. My own thought as a writer and reporter for thirty years is I’ve always tried to use words that were more direct and straight forward. And, I think if you are a liberal who believes in the idea of government needing to raised money for good purposes, you should raise the flag and say … we do impose taxes and it’s something we have to do in order to have a decent government.”

Christine Hallquist: “I think I’m going to bring people back to where you’re going by talking about “strategic investments.” Investments. These are all investments in our future.” She cited historical examples of infrastructure projects.

Dave Gram: Did they call them “strategic investments back then, or did they say we’re going to build interstate highways and we’re going to charge a gasoline tax [fades off into laughter]”

Hallquist conceded, “They did that,” but she stuck to her guns that she would not call a carbon tax the tax that it is.

So, will Vermonters allow the wool to be pulled over their eyes, or will they see a tax for what it is — a tax?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

16 thoughts on “Roper: Gov. candidate Hallquist comes out for carbon tax, but refuses to call it that

  1. Whith all this smoke about Vermont’s role in climate change let’s step back and consder a fundamental truth. Let’s assume the all these fee good lib/prog ideas became a reality and Vermonters paid all, the taxes, fees, and surcharges necessary to achieve the lofty goal of stopping or slowing global warming. Net result? Zero, zero, zero, zero. It’s about time we shelve all this lofty bs and move on.

    • Inclined as I am toward more vernacular expression, I would say it’s time for an across the board major “shelfcanning”, beginning at the local level and continuing to the top with a loud and clear message of enough being too much already. It’s way past time to return to sanity.

  2. Progessive foolishness on brilliant display. Government “strategic investments” are funded by taxes or temporarily by debt, nothing else. Hallquist engages in moronic thinking. Unfortunately, some will be persuaded.

  3. “My passion was to solve climate change using the electric grid,” and promised to “accelerate the work we’re doing on climate change, because we can.” Hallquist then cited her qualifications as CEO of an electric cooperative, the Vermont Electric Co-Op.”

    Her passion should be to make the Vermont economy grow again WITHOUT subsidies.
    In the USA that means


    The carbon tax would be used as subsidies for all sorts of government programs for favored Dem/Prog voters and to get Dem/Progs re-elected.

    The carbon tax was ABOLISHED in OTTAWA when a new governor was elected.

    He was elected because he was AGAINST the carbon tax.

    Almost all Dem/Progs are terrified to be tied to a carbon tax, for fear of losing their seats in the legislature in November.

  4. The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, goal aims to “transform” the Vermont economy. It would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017 – 2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network 2015 Annual Report. The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees of at least $970 million per year for 33 years.

    Carbon Tax Impact On A Typical Vermont Family, as reported on VTDigger:

    – The carbon tax would impose a $10 per ton tax of carbon emitted in 2017, increasing to $100 per ton in 2027.
    – The carbon tax would generate about $100 million in state revenue in 2019 and about $520 million in 2027.
    – The carbon tax would be added to the fuel prices at gas stations and fuel oil/propane dealers. Drivers should expect a tax increase of 9-cent per gallon of gasoline in 2017, increasing to about 89 cents in 2027.
    – Homeowners, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc., should expect a tax increase of 58-cent tax per gallon of propane and $1.02 per gallon of heating oil and diesel fuel in 2027.
    – A typical household (two wage earners, two cars, in a free-standing house) would pay additional taxes in 2027 of about:
    – Some of the carbon tax extortion would be at the pump, some when the monthly fuel bills arrive, and some as higher prices of OTHER goods and services.

    Driving = $0.89/gal x 2 x 12000 miles/y x 1/(30 miles/gal) = $712/y
    Heating = $1.02/gal x 800 gal/y = $816/y
    Total carbon tax in 2027 = $1528/y
    Sales tax reduction 5/6 x 1400 = $233/y
    Net tax increase = $1295/y

    – The hypocritical sop of reducing the sales tax from 6 to 5 percent would save that household about $233 in sales taxes, for a net loss of $1295 in 2027. That means such households, the backbone of the Vermont economy, would have about $1300/y less to make ends meet.
    – Many of these households have had stagnant or declining, spendable real incomes (after taxes, fees, surcharges; other recurring expenses, etc.), plus dealing with a near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, since 2000.
    – With less real income, and higher real prices for goods and services, they also would have to make their own energy efficiency improvements.

  5. And when the price of mowing her lawn goes up to $200 a week, she may finally realize that her lawn service has to buy her “Reverse Subsidized” fuel to run his machinery and vehicles. Maybe, she’ll conclude that a “natural prairie grass” left to its own demise, is rather nice looking after all. The neighbors cannot complain because their yards look the same.

  6. The problem is, is that there will be some idiots who will fall for Hallquist’s BS and cast a vote for Hallquist.

  7. The solution to all the insanity in Vermont is easily solved unless the progressive indoctrination virus has spread to every voter in Vermont. How long does it take before the majority of voters realize that something is truly amiss in Montpelier as well as Te Washington delegation of Larry, Moe and curly?. Is it something in the water, is there an airborne virus turning everyone into a moron, has terminal stupidity spread among the populous or have we reached the I give up stage and don’t give a damn? The truth is Vermont has been hijacked by liberal progressives from other states and they have brought their poison with them. They have infiltrated all of other institutions and government and they are all here to control the people and change the freedoms and customs of Vermont while fraudulently swearing oath to our constitution. They have no connections to Vermont and they have come here to spread their ideology and elitism to control us Vermont peons. The answer is to send them packing by rejecting their ideas and their intrusion into the lives of Vermonters. If ever a resistance was any more needed than now, but not by immature progressives? We need a resistance of people with common sense who understand that the path this government is on is dangerous to our state, our customs, our well being and our freedoms. Where to hell are the people we can call on to stop the madness of progressives controlling our government. I know where they are but they are too busy to be bothered to vote or to learn anything about the ideologies of candidates beyond the promises during the campaign. How else can the same people from the same party keep being elected with no rebuke from the Voters? The age old problem is that the people of Vermont have surrendered their state for false promises from politicians who have given them nothing but gloom and doom and a very questionable future. The shame is on those who have been sold the progressive lie and apparently love the misery it has created.

    • Everything you said is correct. We need to be the first state to pass voter ID laws and insure Vermonters vote counts! Stop this crazy college registering kids to vote in our elections when they are not residents. When I went to college in another state i did an absentee ballot, I would not have ever attempted to vote in a state I was not a resident. We can take back our state when people with Vermont values and principals
      voting is what matters. The crazy liberal socialist have padded our electorate for too long. It was easy to give the college kids our vote when you count the number of out of state students enrolled each year.

  8. ““My passion was to solve climate change” – SOLVE climate change? Seriously? With a significantly regressive tax that includes heating fuels and will raise the cost of power generation? “The revenue would then be used to subsidize electric rates” that doesn’t offset the increase in energy cost, it just means part of the increase will be paid (by the public with great bureaucratic inefficiency) through taxing something else. Has Hallquist even a small inkling of how little effect on climate any change she might achieve in one not very densely populated state will achieve? These Progressives are redolent of the sixteenth and seventeenth century religious fanatics, their doctrines of impending doom and demands for penance (to be paid at the pump). Complete with an active trade in Carbon Indulgences.

  9. Never thought that I would see Vermont in such dire straights politically and Nov. will be the do or die for this great state…

  10. Yes, the word tax is inflammatory as well as divisive and frightening to most working Vermonters simply because they are currently being taxed beyond their means. They fear losing their homes and freezing to death in the winter. Is that really so difficult to understand? Where the hell are these loons coming from?

    • “Where the hell are these loons coming from?”

      I’d say Massachusetts might be one place. I should have done more research before making the move from there eight years ago. That Montpelier hosted such a collection of deluded duplicitous morons never entered my mind. What have I done?? Where does one go now? The insanity would seem to be endemic.

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