Rep scolds equity official for showing how S.5 will ‘force’ low-income Vermonters into spending money they don’t have

By Rob Roper

Jay Green, Racial Equity Policy and Research Analyst of the Office of Racial Equity testified before the House Energy & Environment Committee to discuss issues of concern his office has with S.5, the Clean Heat Standard bill. Green’s biggest problem was with how the bill will impact low-income Vermonters.

“We still don’t understand how this legislation will affect the cost of heating for low- and middle-income Vermonters,” said Green. “We are concerned that this legislation leaves that sort of unknown. … It is still challenging for our office to fully support the legislation without knowing fully what impacts it will have on the cost of heating for people.”

This line of discussion led to push back from Rep. Avram Patt (D-Woodbury), who questioned Green, “Since nothing in the bill requires anybody to replace an existing heating system that’s working, why would that be of significant concern?”

Green’s answer exposed a truth about the bill that advocates would rather remain obscured.

“Many of the items on that list [of clean heat measures] for which clean heat credits can be created… require consumers to make an upfront investment for weatherization services or installation of a heat pump, [etc.]. What we’re trying to communicate is the upfront cost is a potential concern for people who – if you can’t afford a $400 emergency expense, how are you supposed to afford – even if it will save you money ten years in the future – how are you supposed to afford that expense right now?”

Green’s $400 figure referred to a study he shared with the committee showing that low-income households living paycheck to paycheck cannot afford to cover the cost of an emergency expense of $400. If they can’t afford that amount for an emergency, how can they be expected to come up with more than that amount to, for example, swap out their existing oil furnace for a heat pump. These upfront costs are routinely more than ten times that much just for the heat pump, not including any other modifications to the home that might be necessary to accommodate the heat pump.

Again, Patt pulled out the talking point that there is no requirement that any specific individual adopt any specific clean heat measure. But Green pointed to the language in S.5 that does, in fact, require very specifically that 16 percent of all clean heat credits must be generated by low-income Vermonters, and another 16 percent by middle income Vermonters.

“You say no one is forced to do it,” shot back Green, “but I think that the language of the bill is clear that clean heat credits are going to have to be generated from low- and middle-income customers. So, they will be pressured to weatherize and upgrade heat systems no matter what just to meet those 16 percent targets.” Green is exactly correct.

This is when Rep. Larua Sibilia (I-Dover) sternly admonished the witness over his choice of language. “’Pressured,’ I think, when we are talking about creating a market is probably the wrong word. ‘Incentivized’ I think is the other word. And ‘incentives’ is the word we’re really thinking about when we talk about low-income folks.”

However, whether one calls it what it is, “pressure or force” or euphemistically “incentivizing” Green’s point remains undeniable that low-income Vermonters cannot afford the upfront costs of taking even the most rudimentary clean heat measures. The only way to meet the mandated low-income demographic targets in the bill are is to convince a certain percentage of low-income Vermonters to do these things. What Sibilia is suggesting is that the way we will do this is to pay them whatever amount necessary – with money forcibly taken from people who heat their homes with oil, propane, natural gas, or kerosene.

Whether he realized it or not, Green was actually supporting testimony from Julie Moore, Secretary of Natural Resources, when she asserted the day before that on average a 90 percent subsidy would be necessary to incentivize people to undertake clean heat measures — which in total would come to an estimated $2 billion. When Moore put this figure before the committee, they scoffed. But given Green’s $400 statistic, that 90 percent number is probably low. And with it, so is Moore’s estimate of just a $0.70 carbon fee per gallon of home heating fuel.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Image courtesy of Public domain

11 thoughts on “Rep scolds equity official for showing how S.5 will ‘force’ low-income Vermonters into spending money they don’t have

  1. Forget the terms Pressured or Incentivized. CALL IT WHAT IT IS ! Bribery. Our legislative house of morons actually think that the populace will stand for this ? Get a clue folks. The past strategy of isolating and demonizing small weak groups of citizens started back in 1997 with Act 60. It worked ! They completely shut off the opposition.

    But now that they are pissing off the little people, their hysteria will be exposed to many more of us.

  2. For all the factual, accurate reporting and commentary- a reasonable person would think S.5 is dead in the water.
    Yet it continues it’s journey to passage- a legislative juggernaut that will decimate Vermont’s fragile economy and flat out screw poor and middle income residents.
    Yet the pretending continues. ” Rep. Larua Sibilia (I-Dover) sternly admonished the witness over his choice of language. “’Pressured,’ I think, when we are talking about creating a market is probably the wrong word. ‘Incentivized’ I think is the other word. And ‘incentives’ is the word we’re really thinking about when we talk about low-income folks.”
    Incentivize? With what. This bill is forced adoption of a regressive energy policy. Period.
    sibilia’s words challenge rational thinking with liberalese talking points- that have no basis in reality or fact.
    The lust to create a socialist government in Vermont is so insatiable, our current legislators pretend, lie and obfuscate anything and everything- to promote the marxist ideology they cherish.

  3. Time to move to a REASONABLY sound operating state with REASONABLE planning for the future, like N H.
    Vermont’s record has dropped so far down in the cess pool of Democrat and Progressive plans that we may never recover.
    Time to put a plug to that cess pool and come up with some plans that are practicle, reasonably affordable, and will be sustainably welcome.
    Of late, that has not been the case, for sure.

  4. Luckily this surely Progressive VT Diversity analyst is no relation to me :)…..”Jay Green, Racial Equity Policy and Research Analyst of the Office of Racial Equity testified….” How many layers upon layers of “over-paid-meetings-&-memos-jobs$$$” does DEI employ in VT. And WHAT is there for this guy to “analyze”…Does he analyze out-of-state Black drug dealers involved in so many of VT murders? Or the population in VT prisons are large numbers of Blacks, convicted of serious crimes? “Analyze” this…..VT has the lowest % of Blacks in it’s population of any State …1.5%. If VT is so racist, then why did VT send probably the most soldiers, per capita, of any state to the Civil war, to FREE black slaves? Why did VT have a wide network of the “Underground Railroad” for escaped black slaves?…The TRUTH IS…VERMONT WAS A REPUBLICAN STATE…until the 1970’s….. does ANYONE here know this Mr. Green…DIVERSITY ANALYST for VT? If you do send him the below quote…he should be “mandated” (LIBS LOVE TO MANDATE things) to write it 100 times on a chalk blackboard…and after that he should resign his position – because what he does is toxic, racist, divisive, biased, evil and against MLK.

    ““Diversity is no longer a term to describe the breadth of our differences but a demand to flatter and grant privileges to purportedly oppressed identity groups. Equity assigns desirable positions based on race, sex and sexual orientation rather than character, competence and merit. Inclusion now means creating a social environment where identity groups are celebrated while those who disagree are maligned. ….“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”—the compound form of these modern concepts—is especially toxic. It divides us by social identity groups, ranks those groups on privilege and power, and excludes those who fail to honor the new orthodoxy.”

    • yes Jeff it’s truly amazing how little the amount of problems we had in the 70’s and earlier. It almost seems like the more D’s and P’s that were elected the more problems grew… almost like they make them up for something they can screw up by trying to fix them. I however don’t see the stupid sheep voters changing their tune and going back to responsible realistic governance. elect commies you get fascist government

  5. Avram Patt a democrat concerned for the poor, so he would like you to think. He’s another brain dead legislator trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes except he and the rest of them are running out of wool. He is another example of a legislator who’s been there too long, is all in on the climate cult scam and could care less from his retorts to reason and fact. This is what the democrats vote for. They see the letter D or P and fill in the blank while cutting their own throats. The democratic party with the help of the progressives will have everyone jumping off the cliff while they enjoy shrimp cocktails and adult beverages paid for by the green lobbyists with a check in the mail for the next election. What a farce!

  6. Bob Roper,

    I repeat again, only a few percent of Vermont houses are suitable for displacing 100% of fossil Btus with electricity Btu, BASED ON MY OWN 3-YEAR EXPERIENCE WITH 3 HPs IN MY WELL-SEALED/INSULATED HOUSE

    Each Vermont house that is suitable, I.e., a few percent, MUST HAVE TWO HEAT PUMPS WITH TWO HEADS, COSTING ABOUT $16,000 TURNKEY.


    Any legislator mentioning/ implying one heat pump is OK is seriously not understanding the situation, or is lying to constituents

    • I will never stop burning firewood for heat. A lot of people in the town I live in, including me don’t have electricity, and will not comply. This just shows how arrogant and out of touch these crazy liberals are and how foolish people are to continue to vote for them. This crap needs to stop before we are all living in the stone age again. By the way I was 5 teslas getting towed on the same day a few weeks ago. Shows how good electric cars work in the cold and in the hills. Liberalism is a disease that needs to be eradicated.

      • I love the commercials they have for EV’s now showing how great they are in the winter because of their heavy batt weight then drives out of the barn into a whopping 1 inch of snow. All that does is get them stuck worse. I wonder how many had to be towed during those 2 -40 wind chill days we had when my battery failed to start my gas fired car which fired up fine when the temp went back up?

      • Until we can get full financial disclosure from all the legislators as to where their money comes from, we can only expect more kakistocracy out of Montpelier.
        Nearly half of the entire legislature is either retired, self-employed, or lists “none” as their employer. No information about investments, or other sources of income.
        I believe if one is in public service, there should be 100% financial disclosure so we can decide what could influence the vote on certain issues. It would also verify the integrity our representatives say are in their possession.
        Only then do I believe you will see laws that benefit people, not ideals.

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