Editor’s note: This is part of TNR’s Letters to Legislators Series.
In the wake of COVID-19, we call on the Vermont Legislature to table all new initiatives and focus on taking care of our own people. We believe it is socially irresponsible to start new initiatives when local people are worrying about losing their homes because they cannot pay their taxes or make their mortgage payments, and increased numbers of kids are going to bed hungry.
We are particularly appalled that, at this late date, the Vermont Senate is taking up climate change bills that will inevitably cost the state money. The Global Warming Solutions Act, passed by the House earlier in the session and now before the Senate, is an open checkbook for left-leaning activists to accomplish through an unelected council what they cannot accomplish in the Legislature.
Now is the time to downplay being global warming warriors and first get our state back together again. To those legislators tempted to direct federal stimulus money to further climate initiatives such as charging stations for electric cars, we argue that such an initiative is at this juncture especially ludicrous. Rural Vermonters outside Chittenden County can’t even use electric cars with six-inch clearances on dirt roads that, some days of the year, require four-wheel drive just to get home. Even if electric cars were suitable for our rural environment, liberal legislators are asking Vermonters to pay a heavy price for one little drop in the ocean when it comes to controlling carbon on our planet.
Given that the legislative session was delayed and will most likely be extended to consider issues related to COVID-19, now is not the time for any climate change bills. Such initiatives cost the state money at a time when an already hard-hit population is going to have to cope with increases in costs for essential services like health care, education and drivable roads. Not only should the Legislature table all new initiatives, but it should walk back and table any new expenditures authorized this year that do not directly help our citizens recover from COVID-19 personal and economic losses. Furthermore, the legislature should mandate that all forthcoming federal stimulus money be used exclusively for economic recovery and not to fund special interests wish lists.
We note that much of the political force behind these dangerously irrelevant initiatives being considered is due to the disproportionate influence that Democrats in Chittenden County have on our state. That county’s representatives are trying to stuff things down our throats that we don’t need.