Hallquist may seek economic growth in theory, but higher taxes in practice

By David Flemming

Vermont Democratic nominee for governor Christine Hallquist is in favor of economic growth, at least in theory. In practice, economic growth takes second fiddle to higher taxes.

Christine Hallquist for Vermont

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist

Hallquist recently went on CNN to discuss her campaign, which she says is centered around rural economic development. “You look with what’s happening in rural Vermont, it’s the same thing that’s happening in rural America. We’re seeing increased rates of poverty, flights to the city, an aging demographic. We can change that. It’s about economic growth for the bottom 20 percent.”

Perhaps seeking to test how similar Hallquist’s views might be to those of Bernie Sanders, the interviewer asked Hallquist, “Do you support capitalism?” Hallquist seemed to answer ‘no’ by describing how Americans have a “long history of measuring ourselves by gross domestic product (GDP). That just encourages consumption and we can see what consumption is doing to our world.” So, apparently Hallquist doesn’t want Vermonters’ economic success to be measured by GDP.

According to Investopedia, gross domestic product (GDP) is tracked by the federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and is the “monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.” Since WWII, the US has used GDP (or its predecessor GNP) to measure to what extent the American or Vermont economy grows, as a percent increase (or decrease) of goods and services produced from the previous period. The criticisms of GDP are wide ranging, but if the goal is to measure the entire production (and implied consumption) of an economy, there really aren’t any viable alternatives.

On the one hand, Hallquist seeks to increase “economic growth for the bottom 20 percent,” which needs to be measured if we are to notice improvements. On the other hand, Hallquist complains about the very idea of capitalism and economic growth, because that “encourages consumption.” Therefore, if Hallquist’s policies are aimed at making Vermont produce and consume less, Vermont will necessarily fail to create economic growth, for the bottom 20 percent as well as the rest of us.

Sadly, it would appear that decreasing consumption is more important to Hallquist than economic growth for the poorest Vermonters. This can be seen most easily in Hallquist’s support for “progressive policies” such as the $15 minimum wage, adding a new payroll tax, and a carbon tax, all of which will have a negative impact on Vermont’s economy, and low income Vermonters most significantly.

In one sense Hallquist is correct: GDP is not an all-encompassing measure of how well the bottom 20 percent of Vermonters are doing. We should look for ways to measure how poor Vermonters are doing at minimal cost to taxpayers. But raising taxes on all Vermonters is a surefire way to make the poorest Vermonters even worse off. We can hope that if Hallquist is sincere in her believe of economic growth for the bottom 20 percent she will fight for lower Vermont taxes rather than higher ones.

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

Images courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org and Christine Hallquist for Vermont

6 thoughts on “Hallquist may seek economic growth in theory, but higher taxes in practice

  1. David,

    Here are some numbers Hallquist should be looking at, instead of dreaming about covering Vermont with solar panels to achieve 90% RE of ALL primary energy by 2050.

    100% RE proponents often claim wind and solar are competitive with fossil.
    That may be so in RE lalaland, but not in the real world in New England.

    Wind and Solar Far From Competitive with Fossil

    The Conservation Law Foundation claims renewables are competitive with fossil. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a list of NE wholesale prices and Power Purchase Agreement, PPA, prices.

    NE field-mounted solar is 12 c/kWh; competitively bid
    NE rooftop solar is 18 c/kWh, net-metered; GMP adds an administration fee of 3.813 c/kWh, for a total of 21.813 c/kWh
    NE wind offshore is at least 18 c/kWh
    NE wind ridgeline is at least 9 c/kWh
    DOMESTIC pipeline gas is 5 c/kWh
    Russian and Middle East imported LNG is at least 9 c/kWh
    NE nuclear is 5 c/kWh
    NE hydro is 4 c/kWh; 10c/kWh, if Standard Offer in Vermont.
    Hydro-Quebec imported hydro is 6 – 7 c/kWh; GMP pays 5.549 c/kWh
    NE annual average wholesale price about 5 c/kWh, unchanged since 2009, courtesy of low-cost gas and nuclear.

  2. David,
    I perused the solar pathways write up.
    It is neither a study nor a report.
    Basically, it is a summary of various aspects of 100% RE wishful, utopian ramblings/musings.
    I can’t believe people would spend time to but it all together.
    They realize increased capacity of expensive, unreliable, variable solar will lead to Duck curves, but that has been known in Germany for about 15 years.
    Solar is strict a midday affair.
    Without storage, it is useless for continuous electric service for the rest of the day.
    It needs all sorts of support from the rest of the grid to exist.
    The graphs, presented without any numbers, show greatly increased wind and solar in future years.
    How can we prevent the PUC from aiding and abetting the wind and solar folly.
    BTW, who is financing VEIC? State government?

    I suggest you read this article regarding the lack of NE wind and solar for 6 consecutive days this summer.
    It is based on minute by minute ISO-NE generation data, except nuclear is shut down, and replaced with 15.7 times the 2017 level of wind and solar.
    It turns out, for 6 consecutive days, NE wind and solar generation were insufficient, due to rainy, minimal wind, overcast weather.
    A 570,000 MWh (delivered to the high voltage grid) was assumed to exist, but it turned out not to be enough, i.e., draining took place every day.
    The all-in, turnkey cost of the distributed NE battery systems would be at least 570000 x 1000 x $400/kWh (delivered) = $228 billion
    Vermont’s share of that would be about 6/121 = 5%.
    Battery prices likely will decrease, but the cost of the rest of the battery systems likely will not.

  3. Vermont Democratic nominee for governor Christine Hallquist, stated she doesn’t like labels ??

    But it appears the Progressive Democrats love labels and they will be pushing Hallquist as she’s
    running as ” The First Transgender ” to run for Governor VT, they are hoping this will turn the tide
    for them

    Liberals want ( Need ) to control the State House from the Top Down ………….as they already
    have it from the bottom, Hallquist is just another Liberal, wake up VT don’t fall for this scam
    and all the hype………

    Vermont has suffered enough ( Taxes, Debt, Failing Infrastructure ) under the cancer in the
    State House ” Progressive Democrats ” and Hallquist is just another !!

  4. She’s going to look after “the bottom 20%”. Many (not all) of the bottom 20% make the decision not to work or not to work much. A smarter approach would be to reduce taxes for working Vermonters and get rid of most of our ridiculous regulations. Ironically, the same folks who complain about the rich getting richer are the very same people who are in favor of increasing taxes and regulations, and crushing opportunities.

  5. Has this “lady”ever considered in REDUCING spending in lieu of incresing taxes??? As for 90% renewals, I’m sure she can’t stand all these ugly green open pasture lands which make Vermont quite special.. She apparently belives beautiful soar farms are much more appealing. Every election year, the lib/prog/dem clowns keep pushing further to the hard left, and what blows my mind is they continue to get Mike elected.

  6. David,

    On Halquist’s campaign “Issues” web page, under Environment, the following single phrase about energy policy:

    “Follow the Solar Pathways Vermont plan for reaching a 90% renewable energy supply by 2050”

    The Solar Pathways Vermont plan, which was produced with a grant from DOE under Obama, has been discredited as being a wild pipe dream in NE.

    One of the more disturbing recommendations is that in order to create “certainty” for developers and investors (so they can make money) a method for creating “public acceptance” of large numbers of solar projects “must be devised”.

    Hallquist is going to devise that method? A big ad campaign about the end of the world, scaring the heck out of people?

    Why should people accept something that makes no sense for all – economically, environmentally both for Vermont and the planet, for grid reliability, and aesthetically for Vermont’s landscape.

    Hallquist is totally astray on that solar pathway.

    This article describes the solar and wind conditions in Vermont.
    They are the second WORST in the US.
    The rainy, overcast Northwest is first.
    See appendix of article.

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