John Klar: My interaction with Rep. Troiano about the regressivity of S.5

House Rep. Joseph “Chip” Troiano posted a lengthy appeal on Front Porch Forum and the Hardwick Gazette in support of S.5, the “Affordable Heat Act.” Troiano claims he supports “policies that positively impact the lives of all Vermonters.”

But S.5 burdens low income and fixed-income Vermonters in favor of wealthier beneficiaries. My conversation with Chip confirmed this.

The representative’s opinion piece in the Hardwick Gazette advocated for solar panels:

I had the good fortune to install Solar power to my home last year, my power bill went from $80.00 to $120 a month to $28.00 a month last summer. This winter I installed the latest technology heat pump, I received a credit for excess power I made. When that credit was applied to my power bill I had no electric bill for the months of December and January, I heated and powered my home in the dead of winter for free!

This notion that heat and power were “free” seemed unsupportable, so I emailed Rep. Troiano and asked him the following question:

What you claim is “heating your home for free” is actually subsidized by higher rates on electricity users who do not have, and may not be able to afford, heat pumps or solar panels. Do you have any concerns at all about regressively funding your new technologies (buying products from companies who make profits for their shareholders, just not the oil companies you selectively target) on the backs of fixed-income retirees and working class taxpayers?

The representative, a Democrat who represents Stannard, offered his response:

I have heard this from some others and my response is the same. It is not for you or anyone else to question my motivation to make these changes in the way I heat and power my home. For the past 50 years I paid the high rates of power to Washington Electric. Now I am very happy to receive a monthly bill that is $28 rather than $80 to 100 and $120 in the winter. You are right and I admit that I am fortunate to have been able to make this move.

I have written repeatedly about the funding loop for solar panels, in which electricity rates are raised to pay for solar panel installations like Rep. Troiano’s. S.5 is similarly regressive. 

Rooftop arrays are much less efficient than field arrays (about twice as costly per kilowatt hour). It would be far more equitable for rate hikes to be applied to fund arrays that provide greater efficiency and savings for everyone, instead of extracting funds from people who can’t afford installations (or have poor locations) for the pockets of people like Rep. Troiano. The board of Washington Electric Cooperative unanimously proclaimed that the current rate structure is regressive and should end. The representative from Stannard could afford to escape the “high rates of power” that saddle people of more meager means.

Rep. Troiano claimed he bought the solar tracker and heat pump locally:

I purchased both the solar tracker and the heat pump from the same company which is local, and once again your conclusions and comments about supporting shareholders at the expense of rate payers is out of line. For me personally I would rather support a local company rather than support an oil company that we Vermonters pay millions of dollars to out of state companies.

I suppose some might view buying Chinese fireworks or Japanese cars locally as different from buying oil locally. I challenged Troiano on this by asking him directly:

The company that manufactured your products is a Vermont company? Which one? — the solar panels, or the heat pump? I doubt either was manufactured in Vermont. But the key point of my question is, do you believe it is equitable for elderly Vermonters who can’t afford a solar panel (or whose home is not located in a place where they can effectively install one) to subsidize yours? It is a simple tax policy question. You gushed about how great your products are while ignoring who paid for them. Then you boast about how you are heating and electrifying your home “for free.” An important consideration for S.5 should also be the regressive pattern of taking from the poor through rates and then hiding that effort, like you do here.

In his FPF post, Rep. Troiano denounced claims that S.5 would cause significant cost increases, and speculated that “any increase could be pennies.” He could not back up his claims though, and voted against an amendment that would have limited any S.5 fuel surcharges to 20 cents.

He instead wrote me: “We disagree John. Good bye there is apparently no further discussion with you.

As to regressive funding, there was no discussion at all.

Policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of the poor are similarly advanced by progressives for universal school lunches, in which low income Vermonters will now pay for the meals of rich kids; and gas taxes on working Vermonters to fund EV cars (which are then exempt from gas taxes). These upside-down structures hurt low income, working class families.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2023. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

10 thoughts on “John Klar: My interaction with Rep. Troiano about the regressivity of S.5

  1. Representative Troiano did those things to his home voluntarily and of his own free will. No one forced him. He decided that was how he wanted to heat and cool his home. But guess what, folks, he wants to FORCE the rest of us. He has decided that his way is the only way, and is about to punish people who do not want to do by force what he had done voluntarily. He is acting like an elitist hypocrite. Or a Climate Communist.

  2. “It is not for you or anyone else to question my motivation to make these changes in the way I heat and power my home.”

    Ok then. I’m going to use oil, coal, propane and wood.

    • Agree. Can’t he see the hypocrisy of his elitist statement? He and all his liberal ilk are questioning OUR choices of how to heat our homes (and how we power our cars) while telling us we have no right to question their choices. They are climate tyrants. They have an agenda. They could care less about ordinary Vermonters. It is NOT one-size-fits-all.

  3. Vermont Public February 2016: “Troiano worked for Vermont’s defender general, as well as two high-profile law firms in St. Johnsbury… Troiano retired last summer after 34 years as a defense investigator….Pressed on the question of whether he might return to work as an investigator, Troiano says that since his paycheck as a legislator stops in the middle of May and doesn’t resume until the beginning of January, returning to his work as a gumshoe is certainly a possibility.”

    “Why are lawyers sometimes called officers of the court?
    As officers of the court, lawyers have an absolute ethical duty to tell judges the truth, including avoiding dishonesty or evasion about reasons the attorney or his/her client is not appearing, the location of documents and other matters related to conduct of the courts.”

    However, when it comes to the court of public opinion or duty to the citizens who elect you – ethics are a figment of the constituents imaginations. Was my law education a monsterous, costly mistake on my part and my professors were paid actors/liars? Or is there a large segment within the profession using their training to scam, lie and deceive? In a higher court far, far away….judgement rendered and comeuppance assured – declared and decreed.

  4. Since all D’s and P’s have taken to lying their azzes off. I would highly disregard the spew of a climate hoax enthusiast. Fist it can’t be free if he had to pay for the panels and heat pumps, that cost still has to be taken into account. Also what burden has he put on other rate payers and taxes for his subsidies. He’s much like the person who buys something that turns out to be a bad decision so try’s to get every one else to buy it so he don’t feel so bad about his decision. A typical two face lying lefty… And the only thing Vermont made was the labor installing the foreign made products.

  5. The government wants to tell you how you’ll heat your house?
    The house that you bought, pay for or own, and pay outrageous taxes on- THAT House?
    This is the house that the bank statements say you own- remember- not the state of Vermont.
    You talk about over reaching government intrusion into peoples lives.. this is a whopper..

    Ask yourself what is next..
    What kind of toilet paper you use?
    Handwashing dishes vs.dishwashers?
    Hanging the clothes out to dry or using a dryer?
    How big your refrigerator is?
    How many windows are in your house?
    How many days a week you eat meat?

    This list could go and on..
    Once you let these people start with their controls on your life like this, where do they end?
    Because you can bet they will push and push until we are hungry and cold living in shacks.

    And I know I am right because I’m old enough to remember when gays were in the closet and now they are grooming kids to normalize pedophilia. So yeah, when we say that if we give them an inch they take a mile, this is no lie.

    I can give you a long list of examples..

  6. Funny, it is well documented heat pumps are not good in extreme cold.. how is it…miracles of mircles…this guy’s heat pump churned out heat, in northeast cold kingdom….Stannard…when it is 15 (or more) below zero….what about just”zero” degrees? Plenty of them in Stannard. THEN? HOW MUCH DID he spend to get this “supposed” $28 a month electric bill?…something like $25,000 to $30,000 total? More??..Notice he won’t say. You can earn 4.25% easy nowadays…which is $1,575 in interest his $30,000 for 12 months…which works to $120 a month interest…SO WHY NOT keep your $30k and use the $120 a month in interest – to pay your elec bill. Because your solar panel will soon enough poop out and need REPLACING $$$…so will your heat pump…and this guy does not tell you ANNUAL COST OF MAINTAINING the heat pump…with labor, travel charges and parts. Like most things Liberal…a fake, fraud and a lie.

    One sure fact about all Liberals and Democrats….they don’t “do” math 🙂

    • anyone gone to see his house? see if he has a fireplace or maybe a wood burning stove and a chimney, helping out his heat pump? Hmmmmm. just a thought.

  7. rep. troiano’s response to Mr. Klar is telling of the hypocrisy rampant in the legislature:
    “I have heard this from some others and my response is the same. It is not for you or anyone else to question my motivation to make these changes in the way I heat and power my home.”
    It is clear that rep. troiano is indeed able- and desires- to force these changes on others, by virtue of his hubristic ideology used as a state “representative”. Again, I refer to Merriam-Webster’s definition of totalitarianism:
    1: centralized control by an autocratic authority
    2: the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority

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