State Headliners: Proposed regs would outlaw men’s haircut discounts, and ‘stealth’ carbon tax would nick other budgets

By Guy Page

The common practice of advertising and providing “men’s haircuts” at a different price than “women’s haircuts” will violate state regulations, if a rule proposed by the Vermont Secretary of State Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) is approved.

Included in a proposed 16-page rewrite of state regulations for licensed barbers and cosmetologists is the following: “10-3 Non-discriminatory Pricing. A shop may not price services differently on the basis of a client’s race or gender. A shop may offer variable pricing commensurate to the expense of supplies or the degree of effort and skill required of a service.”

Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont.

The current OPR rules, approved in 2005, say nothing about gender or race. The OPR website does not offer a timeline for when the new regulations, if approved, will take effect. So if your barber or hairdresser has a sign that says “men’s cuts $15” but more for women’s cuts, he or she is within regulations – for now. If/when the regulation takes effect, hairdressers must price their services based on cost of product, and the time, effort and skill needed – but not on race or gender.

The regulations say nothing about age discrimination — so (at least until the rules are changed) it’s okay to offer a discount for seniors or kids.

Questions about the proposed rule change may be directed to OPR at Kelsi.alger@sec.state.vt.us.

More on the ‘stealth’ carbon tax

‘Stealth’ carbon tax also will hurt also schools, social services, reader says — A Barre reader of yesterday’s Vermont State House Headliners column about the multi-state “stealth” carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel now in the late planning stages offered the following thought:

“I wonder what it might mean to the school budgets to pay for gasoline to provide busing to merged schools and local schools and public transportation buses and trains themselves.  Every place possible prices passed to consumers go up, up, up it seems.  Buses are used as well to get addicts up to Berlin and in other communities for their daily dosages of sobozone.”

The reader has a point: how badly would the multi-state Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) impact not only commuters, but also school districts and social services organizations? The final draft of the TCI will be published in December, and both the Vermont Legislature and Gov. Phil Scott are likely to review it next year — possibly during the January — May 2020 Session of the Legislature. If (as in California) the TCI eventually adds more than 30 cents for every gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel sold in Vermont, how much more money can Vermont taxpayers expect to pay?

According to 2019 U.S. Dept. of Energy statistics, Vermont consumed 7,394,000 barrels of gasoline in 2017. There are 42 gallons per barrel. It is unclear whether the 7.4 million figure pertains to crude oil barrels or refined barrels of gasoline only. American refineries convert a 42-gallon barrel into 20 gallons of gasoline. Assuming the former, that works out to: 7.4 million (crude oil barrels) x 20 gallons = 148 million gallons of gasoline sold in Vermont. (That’s not including diesel, which also would be taxed under the TCI.) Assuming a California-scale 36 cent/gallon assessment on each of those 148 million gallons, that means all Vermont drivers, school districts, social services and businesses will take a $53.28 million haircut to fund the State of Vermont’s transportation climate change initiatives.

Scott has said he will withhold judgement on the TCI until its impacts are better understood. If the projections above are anywhere near accurate, one impact will be the transfer of more than $53 million to fund renewable transportation programs that are already aggressive and well-supported. The 2019 State Transportation Bill allocates about $67 million for renewable/alternative transportation programs such as buses, trains, park and rides, and electronic vehicles, Headliners reported May 31.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker / TNR

One thought on “State Headliners: Proposed regs would outlaw men’s haircut discounts, and ‘stealth’ carbon tax would nick other budgets

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