‘Own it and come out swinging’ on new carbon tax, senator suggests

By Guy Page

The proposed “Enhanced Energy Savings Act” is a carbon tax, and maybe the Senate should “own it and come out swinging,” one senator told his fellow Natural Resources and Energy Committee members yesterday.

The EESA exists only in a draft authored by Chair Chris Bray (D-Addison). It would “set a goal of weatherizing 120,000 homes within 10 years” and “establish a thermal energy efficiency charge” to pay for it.

Homeowners would pay more to stay warm (2 cents/gallon for oil/propane/kerosene, less than 1% for natural gas and electricity) to pay for the weatherization of 120,000 more homes in the next decade.


en. Dick McCormack (bottom left) says the “Enhanced Energy Savings Act” should be called what it is – a carbon tax.

In draft form, the word “tax” is crossed out and replaced with “thermal efficiency charge.” That bit of legislative literary legerdemain caught the attention of Windsor County Sen. Dick McCormack.

“Do we want to call this money that we’re going to be charging people an efficiency fee? I think it’s a tax,” McCormack – A Democrat and longtime liberal arts teacher –  said. “And I think it’s a carbon pollution tax. And I think that I don’t want to be in the position of appearing to be hiding something and then arguing about the semantics after the fact.”

“It’s going to be seen as a carbon pollution tax and i think that’s accurate and we’re going to end up having to defend that policy anyway,” McCormack advised. “In which case maybe we should own it and come out swinging.”

Legislative lawyer Ellen Czajkowski said it’s not technically a ‘carbon tax’ – it’s more of a charge on a heating bill. “There isn’t specifically anything real in this language referring to carbon and the rates are not based on the amount of carbon, so I don’t think – at least at the moment – it is a carbon tax.”

McCormack was first appointed to the Senate in 1989. He’s had this discussion before.  “Right, yeah, I buy your argument Ellen. I don’t think all of my constituents will buy the argument,” McCormack said with a chuckle. “For them it’s their money and the state is taking it, and we’re taking it for our purposes. But that’s my cross to bear. Your job is to make sense. My job is to sell it.”

The committee then discussed who would sponsor the bill and when and how it might be introduced. As of this writing, the “Vermont Enhanced Energy Savings Act” has not been scheduled for introduction.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of YouTube/Zoom

16 thoughts on “‘Own it and come out swinging’ on new carbon tax, senator suggests

  1. look at what happened in Germany this year! With the cold temps the electric buses stopped running! When are we going to realize we can not do electrical vehicles with our climate and so much of the state being rural. Lets have some common sense and send our money on items that will help all Vermonters.

    • KC,


      That is the rule in Vermont; distort the economy to maximize federal subsidies

      Most Legislators have to toe the PARTY LINE

      If that means Electric Buses (from CANADA), so be it.
      If that means using COVID money for those buses, so be it; no morals, no scruples

      Vermonters get THEIR “reward/sc…..g” with higher taxes, fees and surcharges on propane, gas, fuel oil, gasoline and diesel, to “save the climate”.

  2. “Own it, and come out swinging!”

    You mean, hit them hard to “break their will”?
    Someone in Massachusetts just got fired for exactly that attitude.

    Because you people have odd ideas to break our will, and our backs, to save the climate, you should realize there is not a damn thing Vermonters can do regarding the climate, or for that matter, the entire US.

    This is pure federal subsidy chasing, for decades, by RE special interests, that are pressuring you to get moving.


    Why not tell them to f… off?

    That would show some backbone, and true sympathy for suffering Vermonters, who are paying your expenses.

    Vermont should have a strict, enforced energy code regarding NEW buildings, so these would be energy neutral, or energy surplus.

    Why not work on that first?
    It is only about 20 years overdue.

  3. THE COMMITTEE is discussing, in ZOOM meetings (are they open to the Public?), how to finagle/finesse charging Vermonters more for gasoline, diesel fuel, and propane.

    THE COMMITTEE wants to pay for idiotic RE programs that will do NOTHING, ZERO, NIL, NADA, regarding the climate.

    Those RE program will further DEPRESS living standards.
    PERPETUATE the near ZERO-REAL GROWTH Vermont economy.

    In the meantime VEIC is using bogus numbers to convince the Governor and the Legislature, and unfortunate lay Vermonters, that electric buses are SOOOOO economical.

    That is pure bull manure, and some of the Legislators and VEIC know this, because I sent them my analysis.

    VEIC “On-Paper” Simulation of Electric Buse Charging

    The “on-paper” simulation assumed charging would be limited to pre-determined hours and periods to eliminate demand charges and reduce electricity consumption.

    The “on-paper” simulation, using optimum operating conditions, yielded an estimate of about 1.47 kWh AC/mile, per VEIC. See page 36 of URL

    Quote from VEIC report: Using a bus operating efficiency of 1.47 kWh/mile,10 the schools’ electric rates, hours of bus use, and mileage, VEIC was able to estimate the cost savings available if charging were to be managed to a minimum number of hours, outside of peak demand times.

    Bus total energy costs would have been $0.22 / mile and efficiency 1.47 kWh / mile, much closer to Lion bus has purported operating efficiency of 1.3- 1.4 kWh/mile.

    The electric bus 22 c/mile is sheer nonsense, but it would make that bus look mighty good WRT a diesel bus at 13902/6.3 x $2.00/gal = 31.7 c/mile. See table

    The Lion buses require 1.3 – 1.4 kWh DC/mile, an average of 1.35 kWh DC/mile
    VEIC mixed up kWh AC (from the wall outlet, at 13 c/kWh) with kWh DC (from the battery, due to driving and miscellaneous losses)

    The VEIC charging percent would be 1.47 kWh AC/1.35 kWh DC = 8.9%.

    That value is not just too low, but it is a physical impossibility!!
    That value would be about 50% of the values of Teslas and other EVs.
    Those EVs typically require 17 to 18 percent for charging!!! See Note

    1) Any VEIC-calculated operating costs and CO2 emissions would be invalid and should be ignored.
    2) The VEIC report claiming electric buses are preferred over diesel is based on bogus calculations

    NOTE: The batteries of efficient EVs, such as of a Tesla, have a charging loss of about 17 to 18 percent, and about 6% of miscellaneous losses. See URL and four real-world examples in Appendix

  4. Here is a great CO2 reduction measure for the COMMITTEE.

    Vermont wants to use CANADIAN electric school buses, that reduce CO2 at $1617/metric ton, which is off-the-charts nuts, but the RE ZEALOTS in the Socialist Legislature want them anyway.


    This analysis is based on only the Combustion CO2

    The analysis shows the combustion CO2 reduction cost would be an exorbitant $1,617/metric ton

    It would be irrational to waste federal COVID money on such a highly uneconomic CO2 reduction measure, while tens of thousands of Vermont households and businesses have, and will continue to struggle for some years.

    Combustion CO2 of a Gallon of Diesel Fuel

    Emissions of pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, NOx, and SOx, would be less, in case of electric buses.
    However, power plants also have such pollutants

    Combustion CO2eq/gallon is 10.21 kg CO2 + 0.41 g x 25/454, CH4 + 0.08 g x 298/454, N2O = 10.285 kg. See Summary 2 table

    This excludes the upstream CO2 of the energy for crude oil extracting, processing, and transporting the finished product to a user.

    In case of diesel, the upstream CO2 is about 26% of the combustion CO2. See URL

    Lifetime, A-to-Z Analysis Includes Combustion CO2 + Upstream CO2 + Embodied CO2

    A much more realistic CO2-reduction analysis would be on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.
    Such analyses regarding electric vehicles have been performed for at least 20 years. Engineers are very familiar with them.
    They would include:

    1) Upstream CO2 of energy for extraction, processing and transport to a user
    2) Embodied CO2 of expensive batteries, from extraction of materials to installation in a bus
    3) Embodied CO2 of $352,500 electric buses vs $100,000 diesel buses
    4) Embodied CO2 of balance-of-system components
    5) Embodied CO2 of much more expensive electric bus parking facilities, with a Level 2 charger for each bus, than for a diesel bus parking facility with a diesel pump.

    Any CO2 advantage of electric buses vs diesel buses would be minimal on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.

    The cost of CO2 reduction would be much greater than $1617/metric ton.

    Failure to analyze on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis ignores a significant quantity of CO2

  5. We have two outdoor units and four indoor room units. Same story here Willem, no savings when used, a huge up front expense and we do not turn them on during the winter. What a waste. $10,000.00 for all that truck and trollic. That amount of money would have easily replaced our former room air conditioners and operated them for a long time. Live and learn, never too late for that.
    Worst of all, our tax dollars going to efficiency vt, was/is paying for promoting this foolery and probably still is. My blood pressure goes up 100 points every time I talk to those fools.

  6. These leftists are more likely to “Come out singing.” Than “Come out swinging.” But more than a few of them should swing!

  7. You’ve got to love the verbal gymnastics used in Montpelier to describe what exactly to call the new charge to be levied on Vermonters who simply want to keep their homes warm or cook soup for the kids or grandma.

    It started by properly calling the new charge what it actually is…….a tax. Then the word tax was replaced by what some in the Senate must have presumed to be the more consumer friendly term of “thermal efficiency charge”. Oh Vermonters will feel much better when writing a check for a “thermal efficiency charge” as opposed to a tax or so some in the Senate must unbelievably believe.

    Then a Legislative lawyer jumps in and tells us ” it’s not technically a ‘carbon tax’ – it’s more of a charge on a heating bill……… so I don’t think – at least at the moment – it is a carbon tax.”

    Senator Bray…….It’s just another tax you propose laying on already thinly stretched Vermonters along the road to “turning the screws on them and breaking their wills” as described by former Massachusetts Deputy Clean Energy Secretary David Ismay during his expert testimony for the Global Warming Solutions Act Climate Council.

  8. Vermont, known for its cleaner air, has a minor pollution problem in Burlington and some of its other urban areas, i.e., no need to get panicky, and to use scare-mongering to rush into expensively advancing Montpelier’s TCI and RE goals.

    Governor and Senators Seeking More Electric Vehicles and Buses with Federal COVID Money

    The energy priorities of New England governments are driven by a self-serving cabal of RE zealots, because of excessive subsidies for wind, solar, etc. They have powerful allies on Wall Street, which is molding the minds of people by means of generous donations to universities and think tanks. Here is an example of the resulting double-speak:

    Vermont’s Governor: “Investing in more energy-efficient public transportation is important for our economy and environment,” the governor said. He added that the COVID money is enabling the transportation agency to replace as many as 30 buses and fund energy-efficient projects.”

    The Vermont House Energy/Environment Committee and the VT Transportation Department echo the same message, to “convince” legislators, people in the Governor’s Office, and Vermonters to use COVID money to buy expensive electric buses to deal with a minor pollution problem in a few urban areas in Vermont.
    Such an electric vehicle measure would be much more appropriate in the over-crowded Boston Area and the Connecticut Gold Coast.

    They urge Vermonters to buy electric buses at about:

    $750,000 – $1,000,000 per mass-transit bus, plus high-speed charging systems; a standard diesel mass-transit bus costs $380,000 – $420,000
    $330,000 – $375,000, per school bus, plus high-speed charging systems; a standard diesel/gasoline school bus costs about $100,000

    Federal COVID Money for Expensive Electric School Buses: The Governor and bureaucrats are throwing COVID money, meant for suffering households and businesses, into another climate-fighting black hole.

    Vermont has cold winters, and hills, and snow-covered roads, and dirt roads in rural areas; kWh/mile would be high.
    Those buses likely would need 4-wheel-drive, or all-wheel-drive in rural areas.

    Spending huge amounts of capital that yield minor reductions in CO2, is a recipe for low economic efficiency, and for low economic growth, on a state-wide and nation-wide scale, which would adversely affect state and US competitiveness in markets, and adversely affect living standards and job creation.

    • Not to worry. Those school buses will likely never see the rurals. They will be kept in the greater Burlington area. Same with the transit buses. They won’t be used outside of the city. So, all of the covid money will only benefit a small section of the state’s population. Nothing new there.

    • Oh! Talking about scare mongering and rushing into Montpelier’s RE goals… That’s what happened to Vermont’s nuclear power station. It succumbed to the states fear mongering to pave the green brick road to clean, cheap, renewable energy. They said Vermont Yankee could go Chernobyl and kill thousands, rendering the land unusable for thousands of years. Sad isn’t it. A carbon zero power provider, producing the states least expensive electricity gets tossed aside for more expensive, and unproven sources.

      • Thank you, SR

        Those electric school buses are not nearly as efficient as VEIC made them out to be.
        The glossy VEIC report is a masterwork of glitz and unclearness.

        Fortunately, during my 40 years as an energy system analyst, I was able to unravel it, but it took a while.

        NOTE: Here is a major item not mentioned in the report

        “Diesel school buses usually are randomly parked, on a paved or hard-pack lot, outdoors. The parking lot likely has a diesel pump

        Electric buses would need a paved lot, with raised, curbed areas, with one charger for each bus.
        The capital cost of such a parking lot would be significantly greater than of a diesel parking lot.

        On colder days, buses would be continuously plugged in, to protect the batteries and keep them fully charged, to be reliably available for the next day.

        On colder days, the driver would need at least 70% charge to make his morning round, because batteries would require more energy per mile.

        No one should risk having an electric bus run out of juice, with a busload of children, in the winter.”

        The conversion to electric buses would significantly increase:

        1) Capital costs for parking facilities
        2) Electricity consumption and demand load on local distribution grids

        The planning of the Pilot Program was inadequate, to say the least.

        Haphazard and uncontrolled charging?
        No charging regimen in place?
        Not finding out what is going regarding consumption and charging until after meters were installed?

        This is basic, ABC, stuff.

        No wonder Legislators operate in the dark.
        With such “consultants”, they stay befuddled, and just throw up their hands, and vote yes to whatever comes along, much to the delight of RE Zealots. That was their game-plan all along.

        That has been going on for at least 20 years, and after spending about $2-plus BILLION, the net result was CO2 INCREASED.

        Now those same GWSA folks want INCREASE ANNUAL SPENDING ABOT FIVE TIMES to implement the totally useless VT CEP.

        Why don’t we just DONATE every state employee a $40,000 EV
        That would cost a mere $300 million.
        Just use some of the COVID money.
        Several hundred $million COVID funds are on the way, courtesy of hair-do/no-mask Pelosi
        The printing presses are working overtime
        Government largesse all around.
        All of them would LOOK SO GREEEEN.
        Vermont a leader, but a poor one, on federal life support.

  9. Vermont Has Much Better Options Than Expensive Electric Buses

    1) Buildings: A state-wide building code, which would require new buildings to be highly sealed, highly insulated so they could easily be energy-surplus buildings, or be entirely off-the -grid. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc., have had such codes for at least a decade.

    Vermont should be replacing run-of-the-mill, old houses, with up-to-date, energy-surplus, off-the-grid, new houses, at a rate of at least 5,000 houses per year. There would be 150,000 such houses by 2050.

    Dabbling at weatherizing, at $10,000 per house, is politically attractive, but a gross waste of money. The goal should be energy conservation and high efficiency. Their combined effect would reduce CO2 at the least cost.

    2) Vehicles: A gas-guzzler vehicle code, which would impose a fee on 40-mpg vehicles. The more below 40-mpg, the higher the fee. Any vehicles with greater than 40-mpg, such as the 54-mpg Toyota Prius, would be exempt.

    “Break their will” RE zealots would have everyone drive unaffordable EVS, that would not reduce much CO2 compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

    On a lifetime, A-to-Z basis, the:

    NISSAN Leaf S Plus, EV, compact SUV, no AWD, would emit 25.967 metric ton of CO2 over 10 years.
    TOYOTA Prius L Eco, 62 mpg, compact car, no AWD, would emit 26,490 Mt over 10y
    SUBARU Outback, 30 mpg, medium SUV, with AWD, would emit 43.015 Mt over 10y
    VT Light Duty Vehicle mix, 22.7 mpg, many with AWD or 4WD, would emit 56,315 Mt over 10y

    Future VT Light Duty Vehicle Mix

    If the VT LDV mix, gasoline and hybrid vehicles, average mileage would become 40 mpg (by means of carrots and sticks), CO2 would become about 22.7/40 x 56.315 = 32 Mt over 10y, which is near the CO2 of a Prius L Eco, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.

    It would take relatively minor changes to reduce the average CO2 from 56.315 Mt to about 32 Mt, an average reduction of 24 Mt per vehicle. Reducing the average by an additional 4 or 5 Mt would require major changes.

    The future VT LDV mix, as EVS, likely would have an average of about 30 – 35 Mt of CO2, because it would include full-size SUVs with AWD, which have more Mt of CO2, than the NISSAN Leaf S Plus, a compact SUV, without AWD.

    The minor additional metric ton of CO2 reduction could be achieved by going the EV route, but that would involve $billions, and be unaffordable by already struggling households and businesses. See “Electrify Everything”

  10. CO2 is not a pollutant.

    The world is much more green as a result of increased CO2

    Here is a NASA report


    Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House

    My annual electricity consumption increased about 50%, after I installed three 24,000 Btu/h heat pumps, each with 2 heads; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each bedroom.
    They are used for heating and cooling my, well-sealed/well-insulated house.
    They displaced a small fraction of my propane consumption.

    My existing propane system, 95%-efficient in condensing mode, is used on cold days, 15 F or less, because heat pumps would have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh, at exactly the same time my house would need the most heat; a perverse situation!

    There have been no energy cost savings, because of high household electric rates, augmented with taxes, fees and surcharges.
    Amortizing the $24,000 capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y.
    There likely will be service calls and parts, as the years go by, in addition to service calls and parts for the existing propane system.

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