Roper: Sponsors can’t deny ESSEX carbon tax favors rich over poor

By Rob Roper

Introducing the latest carbon tax bill (H.791) to the House Energy & Technology Committee, lead sponsor Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, provided an example of how this tax and rebate scheme would affect a single mother who is low income and lives in a rural region of the state. Under the ESSEX carbon tax, fifty percent of revenue raised would be used to lower the electric bills of all Vermonters, the other half would go toward low income and rural rebates.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Copeland-Hanzas claims that her fictitious single mother would “come out a little bit ahead” because of the low-income rebate, the rural rebate, and — this is critically important — “also because she’s smart enough to figure out how to take advantage of some of those programs that are out there that will help her transition onto renewable energy.”

In other words, if one can’t afford to buy a new electric heat pump, or a bank of solar panels, or an electric or hybrid car (or at least one that gets much better gas mileage), the most financially vulnerable Vermonters will lose out under the ESSEX carbon tax.

The detail Copeland-Hanzas leaves out is “those programs that are out there” cannot accommodate all of the low income and rural Vermonters, smart or not. Most will be left out in the cold.

Sen. Chris Pearson, D-Chittenden, lead sponsor of the senate companion bill (S.284), was challenged by a colleague in the Vermont Climate Caucus, who noted, “In terms of the effect on low income Vermonters, it seems like in the best case scenario your gas bill goes up, you’re electric bill goes down, you might be even. But it seems to me, if you’re among the most wealthy Vermonters you can easily save a lot more than lower income [Vermonters] because if you have fossil fuels heating your home, you can go out and buy a pellet stove, you go buy heat pumps, you can go buy a Tesla. You won’t even notice the bump in your budget, and you’re … reaping all the benefit. How does this benefit low income Vermonters?”

Pearson replied, “Yeah, it would be a good problem to have if wealthy people stopped burning fossil fuels to heat their homes and drive around. I mean, that is the goal.”

Reaching that goal under the ESSEX carbon tax means the only people paying the carbon tax would be Vermonters who lack the financial capital to invest in some very expensive energy efficiency technology. As such, poor Vermonters stuck with gasoline powered cars, oil burning furnaces, etc., will end up subsidizing the electric bills of their better-off neighbors who can afford Priuses, solar panels, weatherized homes, electric heat pumps and the like. Tax the poor to subsidize the rich. Great plan (not!).

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

7 thoughts on “Roper: Sponsors can’t deny ESSEX carbon tax favors rich over poor

  1. Carbon Taxes, Subsidies and Cost Shifting:

    Senator Bray of Vermont does not get it. He announced he wants to eliminate the sales tax on the first $30,000 cost of buying an EV. He wants to SHIFT the burden of sales taxes from a few upscale-income buyers of electric vehicles onto all other taxpayers. That means upscale-income people benefit at the expense of others.

    This means 1) an $1800 saving for the upscale-income buyers, 2) the state having less revenue and 3) the state having bigger CHRONIC deficits, and 4) other taxpayers paying more. There is no free lunch, except in LaLaLand.

    Legislators like Bray have been giving away the store to please RE constituents for at least a decade.
    Did Vermont’s annual CO2 decrease due to all these RE giveaways these last 10 years? No!
    Throw more money at it? Oh yes, says Bray and other legislators.
    All the hyping about reducing CO2 to save the world was just to bamboozle the long-suffering Vermonters.

    Legislators sponsoring carbon taxes likely have near-zero experience designing energy systems and the economic impacts of their mandates. About 25 Democrat legislators just get on the carbon tax bandwagon with their Essex Plan and rah-rah along.

    – Legislators and Vermonters have no idea how much has been given away in terms of tax credits, subsidies, accelerated write offs, surcharges and fees by various energy bills and mandates over the years.
    – No rational central accounting exists. The numbers are all spread over the place, likely on purpose.
    – Almost nothing it properly vetted and exposed to the public.
    – The state auditor likely knows about some of it, but apparently ignores it.

    The RE shenanigan factor is much bigger than the $200 million EB-5 fraud (the largest ever in the US), and $200 million healthcare website fiascos.

    When recurring revenue gaps occur, legislators and bureaucrats pretend to have not a clue as to how that came about.

    A unilateral carbon tax, $240 to $300 million PER YEAR, would further aggrandize state government, would raise the ante of foolish spending by about a factor of 3 – 4, and increase social discord.

    Vermont Lagging Behind Other NE States:

    Vermont has been sliding backwards regarding economic growth, compared to other NE states during 2012-2016, because of various expensive follies, such as:

    – The huge adverse impact of all the state mandated, expensive, subsidized renewables
    – The state usurping dominance in centralizing control of education, instead of local control of education
    – Socialist-style experimenting with healthcare systems
    – Vermont having a bloated, inefficient government that suffocates the private sector.

    These follies have become an increasing headwind that further reduces the near-zero, real-growth of the anemic Vermont economy.

    1) Vermont Unilateral Carbon Tax an Economic Headwind:

    Various RE interests and lobbyists are going around the state to promote a unilateral carbon tax to save RE businesses, because future federal subsidies will be decreasing.

    The unilateral carbon tax would take $240 to $300 million out of people’s pockets and transfer it to the state government. A unilateral carbon tax would significantly increase the cost of gasoline and diesel for driving, and of fuel oil and propane for heating.

    As part of various state programs, some people would get some money back as rebates, many others would get nothing back, or much less than paid in.

    For Vermont to impose a unilateral carbon tax would make its economy less competitive versus other states, i.e., more brain drain, more TAX-PAYING households leaving the state (TAX-CONSUMING families are staying), and fewer good-paying, steady, full-time jobs, with good benefits in the private sector. A unilateral carbon tax would be another headwind for the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

    A unilateral carbon tax would further aggrandize Vermont’s government, which is too large, too inefficient, spending too much money, is bloated with programs, and is running annual deficits, that are offset with annual increases of taxes, fees and surcharges, as if money grows on trees.

    After six long years of out-of-control spending, Vermont finally has a governor, who aims to reduce the bloated, wasteful state government to enable the anemic, hollowed-out private sector to start growing again.

    2) Vermont’s Goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”

    The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, has a non-binding goal to have “90% RE of all primary energy by 2050”.

    That goal would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017 – 2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network 2015 Annual Report.

    Not counted is the refurbishment and replacement of short-lived wind and solar systems, and cost of financing, etc., during the 2017 – 2050 period.

    The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees totaling about $1.0 billion per year for 33 years. It would require many, inefficient, government programs to implement it and redistribute the money. It would lead to gross aggrandizement of state government.

  2. Plug-ins increased from 88 in July 2012 to 1522 in January 2016.
    Pure EVs totaled 330, about 330/1522 = 22% of all plug-ins.
    The plug-in increase was about 1522 – 1113 = 409 from Jan. 2015 to Jan. 2016.
    Total plug-ins could be as much as 2000 at end 2017
    New vehicle registrations were 41000 in 2016.
    Plug-in registration was about 409/41000 = 1.0% of all new vehicle registrations.
    The Comprehensive Energy Plan goal is 4700 new plug-in registrations in 2025. See page 164 of CEP.

    People favor hybrids over EVs, because EVs just do not have the range and are terrible performers under Vermont winter conditions. See below.

    In Vermont, the two vehicles shown in the table totaled about 48%, of all plug-in hybrids. The Chevy-Bolt, a pure EV (not a hybrid), was added to the table, because it was the second-best selling EV in the US in 2017.

    Most popular in Vermont Battery Plug-in hybrid mileage
    Toyota Prius Prime 8.8 kWh 25 miles electric; 55 city/53 hwy/54 combined hybrid
    Ford C-Max Energi 7.6 kWh 19 miles electric; 42 city/38 hwy/40 combined hybrid
    Chevy-Bolt EV 60.0 kWh 238 miles electric, city 255 miles, hwy 217 miles

    Vermont’s 22 fast-charging and 88 slow-charging stations are predominantly clustered in and near three towns: Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland. The RE activists in these towns would like to have:

    – More charging stations, located mostly in and near their towns, and have 1) other Vermonters, 2) carbon taxes, and 3) Volkswagen “diesel-gate” settlement money to pay for them.
    – The charging electricity to be tax-free, low-cost, or for free

    Cost shifting and subsidies are the name of the game to “improve” the payback of plug-ins.

  3. Actually, I’ll be smuggling propane and gasoline from NH. I’m considered ‘wealthy’ and will gladly purchase the machinery necessary to make this a reality for my neighbors. I’d much rather help them than some twit from Chittenden County.

    • Be careful what you say online Josh.When the Feds get you for smuggling they will do a forensic search of your computer,and online activity.You just made their case for them.

      The “green” police will put the gestapo to shame.

      See Something,Say Something social media blitz

      • I know for a fact, the VT Tax Dept has it’s octopus tentacles spread into sales tax free NH wherein they get the sales data from credit / debit cards and will send a tax bill to the VT resident. The tax bill can often times be bogus, being higher than what was bought so the tax dept can collect more taxes than due. VT, MA, RI in the past has set up road blocks to search for booze going out of NH at state lines. Gestapo tactics, you’re a slave to the state.

        If buying large amount of materials in NH and have that store deliver to VT, they have to charge VT sales taxes. I’ve seen in Walmart’s a VT buyer of cigarettes had to show an ID, if VT they had to pay the tax.

        If a married couple living in NH with one working spouse in VT, both had to pay Income Taxes to VT. It pays to file Fed Taxes separately. I have a brother that’s a CPA and learned about state taxes and personally know of border patrols

        The Killington area of VT at one time wanted to succeed from VT and join NH. The Legislature disproved. Can you imagine a free tax zone in VT? Google it. It happened in 2014. Wikipedia:

        “At the 2004 and 2005 Town Meetings, the citizens of the ski resort community of Killington, Vermont, voted in favor of pursuing secession from Vermont and admission into the state of New Hampshire, which lies 25 miles to the east”

        “Supporters claim that the townspeople pay the state $10 million per year in property taxes and $10 million a year in sales taxes (as well as income and other taxes), but receive only $1 million a year to help fund their school system. In the words of Town Selectman Butch Findeisen, “There is a point where sharing turns to looting.”

        Gestapo Vermont” “Struggle to Live or Die”. NH “Live free or Die”.

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