Zupan: The carbon tax is a wolf in green clothing

By Lawrence Zupan

“If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street, If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat. If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat, If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet … TAXMAN!”

Though that’s from a 1966 song by The Beatles, with our Legislature plotting to impose a tax on gasoline and fuels, it might as well have been written in 2019.

Can somebody help me to imagine what the representatives of the state of Vermont, with the lowest carbon emissions of all states in the Union, are possibly thinking? Or are they thinking? Can a zeal to save the world from the supposed pernicious evils of all things carbon justify a blindness to the financial and economic consequences to the lower and middle class working Vermonters? (You know, the ones for whom consumption of gasoline and fuel oil is not a capricious and discretionary luxury but an absolute necessity in order to live, work, drive, heat a home and make a living.)

Lawrence Zupan for U.S. Senate

Manchester resident Lawrence Zupan

This is a highly regressionary tax which has a punishing effect on those who have no money left at the end of the month — which would include at least half of all Vermonters. And let’s not forget the indirect taxation to all Vermonters on all goods which must be either produced or transported by the use of fuels, which costs will be reflected in the inflated costs of everyday necessities for Vermonters.

After all, it’s not as if most citizens are like a certain politician from our state who recently flew around the country for 13 days in a private jet for almost $1million when he could have flown on a commercial jet, all while proclaiming that climate change is the biggest crisis since World War II and that millionaires are evil. Hypocrisy, thy name is Sanders.

But I have no qualms with finding a way to reduce our emissions. For example, if we stop subsidizing inefficient renewable companies with ratepayer and taxpayer money, these companies will be forced to innovate and produce renewables elements which can actually pay their own way. This would also have the added benefit of short-circuiting the crony capitalism put in place by previous Vermont administrations which we all are paying for today.

In other words, instead of punching Vermont taxpayers in their overtaxed mouths with still another tax, reduce the sweetheart deals to the solar industry so that they will be obliged to produce systems that can pull their own weight in the world of costs per kilowatt hour. The good news is that the costs of renewables like solar and wind, geothermal, bioenergy and hydropower are coming down so fast that the market itself will solve the very problem which the proponents of this carbon tax say they are trying to solve. In the meantime, the current lowest cost producers of energy, the region’s two nuclear reactors, must be protected and preserved.

And tell Gov. Phil Scott that Vermont does not need to participate in a Transportation and Climate Initiative that will give us the sneaky “cap and trade,” which is a Trojan horse deception cleverly designed to give us a carbon tax by another name. With apologies to William Shakespeare, a carbon tax by any other name will smell just as foul, and ironically coated with the black soot of political chicanery to boot.

And stop making Vermont more anti-business by new onerous Act 250 restrictions on buildings which are now supposed to be “carbon neutral.” Humans will be carbon neutral only when they are dead. Of course, this new and oppressive taxation might well hasten the arrival of that very day for some.

Vermont, with the second-smallest population, is the greenest state. Even if you accept the most dire claims of the climate alarmists, a carbon tax imposed on Vermont would not have any significant or even measurable impact on our climate. It would be symbolic. It would be a symbol lifted up on the backs of the poorest among us — working-class Vermonters living paycheck-to-paycheck, retirees living on fixed incomes and those who can’t use any less gasoline for their cars or fuel for their homes than they already are using.

For the wealthy, a carbon tax would be an inconvenience. For the rest of us, a carbon tax is a catastrophe. How very revealing it is that the same political group, which loudly proclaims their concern for the poor and disadvantaged by promoting more of their government provided compassion, is willing to sacrifice those same souls on the green altar of carbon neutrality. Besides, this is not an argument about climate change, this is an argument about pure economics. Whatever you believe about the effects of CO2 emissions, this tax is simply wrong. So, yes, this proposed tax is not a symbol of sound environmental stewardship — it is a symbol of the callous cluelessness of its proudly self righteous proponents.

If our esteemed Legislature cares about the climate, by all means, pass a resolution denouncing the mass pollution of India and China, but let the Senate and House know this: If you want to beat down our farmers, our veterans, our single mothers, every worker with a commute, just to send some vague green message to our neighboring states, we will not endure it. We will not be flagellated for your guilt. Vermonters across the political spectrum will remember how you tried to harm us; they will drive you from this Montpelier at the ballot box and return here to take your offices.

What is the message? Leave we, the people, the taxpayers, alone. Let the geniuses of renewables do their work without subsidy and bailout and watch the problem be solved the way Vermonters and Americans have always solved problems — through innovation, competition and good old fashioned Yankee ingenuity.

And lastly, a word of caution to legislators keen to raise taxes on a people whose nation and state was birthed in a Revolution triggered by unjust taxation: Better think twice.

Lawrence Zupan, a Manchester resident, was the 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

Images courtesy of FEMA/Public domain and Lawrence Zupan for U.S. Senate

12 thoughts on “Zupan: The carbon tax is a wolf in green clothing

  1. “And lastly, a word of caution to legislators keen to raise taxes on a people whose nation and state was birthed in a Revolution triggered by unjust taxation: Better think twice.”

    Are we really that far gone? Are the power drunk looney left that deaf to reason? Will Bloomberg’s guerillas push Phil Jellospine’s third term aspirations toward further 2A concessions?

    The implied opening of the “third box”, will have unforeseen consequences. Are we ready for that?

  2. Have you seen the HUGE ads all across Vermont Digger?


    The VNRC one of the largest; most powerful lobbyist groups is pushing all this.

    WE CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO ACT ON CLIMATE! They scream. Did you know they shared board member with the conservation voters, who grade the legislators on environmental issues, issues they are lobbying for? How’s that for incestuous activity?????

    We are totally run by lobbyist, many, many times I’ve commented against VNRC on Vermont Digger and many many times my comments have never made the light of day. VNRC has a huge budget with Vermont Digger. It looks like we’re going to have a huge, huge push for craziness this year.

    The sky is falling, Vermont is becoming an environmental waste land….ironically with fewer people every year……but the sky is surely falling they say. Carbon Tax save us please. Couldn’t do anything else, oh no not possible only the carbon tax will save the world. Using less fossil fuels wont’ do it on the tax!

  3. The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, goal aims to “transform” the Vermont economy. It 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. The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees of at least $970 million per year for 33 years.

    Carbon Tax Impact On A Typical Vermont Family, as reported on VTDigger:

    Any tax, including a carbon tax, passing through the hands of government suffers from “the sticky fingers syndrome”, 2 dollars go in about 1.5 dollars come out. The difference stays to feed the growing government bureaucracy.

    The key word missing in most discussions is UNILATERAL. VT’s government imposing on Vermonters a unilateral carbon tax is like shooting them in the feet.

    If the carbon tax were nationwide, I would support it.

    The carbon tax would:

    – Impose a $10/ton tax of carbon emitted in 2017, increasing to $100/ton in 2027.
    – Generate about $100 million in state revenue in 2019, about $520 million in 2027.
    – Be added to the fuel prices at gas stations and fuel oil/propane dealers.
    – Drivers should expect a tax increase of 9 c/gal of gasoline in 2018, increasing to about 89 cents in 2027.
    – Homeowners, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc., should expect a tax increase of 58 c/gal of propane and $1.02/gal of heating oil and diesel fuel in 2027.
    – A typical household (two wage earners, two cars, in a free-standing house) would pay additional taxes in 2027 of about:
    – Some of the carbon tax extortion would be at the pump, some when the monthly fuel bills arrive, and some as higher prices of OTHER goods and services.

    Driving = $0.89/gal x 2 x 12000 miles/y x 1/(30 miles/gal) = $712/y
    Heating = $1.02/gal x 800 gal/y = $816/y
    Total carbon tax in 2027 = $1528/y
    Sales tax reduction 5/6 x 1400 = $233/y
    Net tax increase = $1295/y

    – The hypocritical sop of reducing the sales tax from 6 to 5 percent would save that household about $233 in sales taxes, for a net loss of $1295 in 2027. That means such households, the backbone of the Vermont economy, would have about $1300/y less to make ends meet.
    – Many of these households have had stagnant or declining, spendable real incomes (after taxes, fees, surcharges; other recurring expenses, etc.), plus dealing with a near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, since 2000.
    – With less real income, and higher real prices for goods and services, they also would have to make their own energy efficiency improvements.

  4. It’s no about preserving the planet, it’s about politicians finding more money from our pockets to fuel their vote buying give away plans. And that is what it is ALL about, period. How about charging Hawaii for it’s volcanic activity which spews more contaminates into the atmosphere in one week that man kind produces in 500 years. After all, some idiot mentioned taxing cow farts both of which are out of our control, except of course, killing all animals that fart.

  5. Follow the money and you’ll find out who really benefits from the carbon tax and you can bet your biffy it won’t be the folks.

  6. Here’s my carbon plan – have the students at VTC design new gas pump faces with an additional Green Button. Label it “Virtue Signal”. Punch that button and your fuel price doubles and these social warriors can feel all gooey while they enjoy the fossil fuel pleasures or our great planet.

  7. Vermonts left lives in an alternative reality, they are willing to harm working Vermonters and the elderly in order to feel clever and morally superior. They are proposing new taxes that will harm hard working Vermonters while having zero measurable effect on climate change. This type of thought process is prevalent with Vermonts left, they tax and regulate the life out if Vermonters, then they pretend to care about struggling Vermonters.

  8. I think the plan is to get rid of non-rich people in Vermont. If they aren’t doing this on purpose, it is because they are brainless zombies, doing the bidding of their controllers. They will become disposable too.
    Then the state can accommodate the fleeing Californicators, for more money. I see more and more of them each day.
    I hope Bernie runs for prez again!

    • You really want to ruin the state. We don’t have enough welfare now. We will have two classes of people in Vermont under Bernie Sanders. 1. Those on welfare and 2. The wealthy.

  9. Lawrence, you did one of the very best debates I’ve ever seen against Bernie. It really was the best debate in Vermont of 2018. Really really good. You got him two times where he chuckled because he couldn’t contain the truth you were telling him. One was where you told him that (paraphrased) his spreading of the socialist lies, lies about Norwegian countries etc was the greatest danger to our Republic.

    You did better than ANY of the republicans on a national level in calling out his B.S., it’s almost like half the republicans are in bed with the socialists and/or the deep state.

    You really nailed that debate, on point, direct, bam, bam, bam…really well done.

    This Act 250 revision is pretty crazy huh? It’s insane. Met you up at Hunger Mtn….kindred spirit in Real Estate….be well.

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