Roper: The ‘kick ‘em when they’re down’ carbon tax

By Rob Roper

The Vermont House last week voted 81-60 to double the tax on heating fuels from 2 cents to 4 cents per gallon, and to impose a gross receipts tax of 1.0 percent on the retail sale of natural gas and 1.5 percent on the retail sale of coal. The money raised (an estimated $4.5 million) would be used to increase funding for Vermont’s low income weatherization program.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

This action been described by opponents as a “back door carbon tax” on fossil fuels.

Supporters of the fuel tax increase are arguing it’s technically not a carbon tax because it’s a tax on volume of fuel (gallons) not carbon output (tons released), and that this is increasing an existing tax, not creating a new one.

But more disturbing than this semantic jujitsu used to justify (in some cases) a broken campaign promise to not support a carbon tax is the twisted logic that it’s OK to double the tax because fuel prices fluctuate and, therefore, consumers won’t notice.

The scheming goes, because the market price for home heating fuels fluctuates, sometimes considerably, the state should use this opportunity to take more money out of constituents’ pockets. If your bill spikes by 50 cents or a buck a gallon, you won’t notice us skimming off another 2 cents, right?

Yes, this is what they’re saying. And with a straight face. It’s like arguing when your neighbor gets socked with a big medical bill it’s a good time to pick their pocket. From a position of sheer deviousness, I guess they’re probably right. But morally?

This justification was offered in committee and on the floor of the house by Rep. George Till, D-Jericho. It can also be seen here in this video by Rep. Mike McCarthy, D-St. Albans, at around the 1:00 minute mark. Apparently McCarthy’s constituents aren’t buying it.

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

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/greloch

8 thoughts on “Roper: The ‘kick ‘em when they’re down’ carbon tax

  1. A good quote I came across, defines what’s really going on and explains a lot:
    Source, 12-10-1922:

    “The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation . . . The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both parties . . . [and] control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.” – Mayor of New York City from 1918-1925

  2. Ever since the Cave Man discovered fire, that was the start of CO2 problems making for climate change. The increasing number of fires (in many applications) over time to present day contributed greatly to the increase in CO2 as noted by Liberal thinking and the media. Never mind nature’s involvement and Earth and sun cycles.

    In those early years there wasn’t any CO2 given the current thinking, no people to speak of. Therefore the higher concentrations of CO2, since then, over time slowly affected the human brain’s capacity to rationalize resulting in the current bunch of dimwit’s thinking that if you tax people making CO2, that will reduce it. Henceforth, the Carbon Tax will possibly return CO2 levels back to the Cave Man days. Problem highlighted.

    Then the number of Liberal dimwits, breathing clean air again, will be reduced so we on Earth (and Montpelier) can have a homogeneous happy environment ever after. Bernie Sanders will be dancing in the grassy streets barefoot and naked. Have to use leaves for blinders. Problem solved.

  3. 1) Why indiscriminately place an additional burden on already struggling households, trying to stay warm, and making ends meet, in a near zero growth Vermont economy, that is losing population?

    The proposed regressive tax should have been placed on low mileage, light duty vehicles (cars, crossovers, minivans, SUVs, 1/4-ton pick-ups). The lower the mileage, the higher the tax.

    It would be an annual tax, collected at time of registration, by the DMV. That way Vermont’s fossil fuel CO2 would be more quickly reduced.

    Only highly sealed, highly insulated houses, requiring about 17000 Btu/h, at -20 F outside and 65 F inside, are suitable for heating with heat pumps to displace 100% of heating fuel.

    Heat pumps in the weatherized, energy hog houses of the poor would displace, ON AVERAGE, about 30% to 50% of the fuel oil.

    Heat pumps in standard Vermont houses, built during the last 30 years, would displace, ON AVERAGE, about 34% of fuel oil.

    2) The proposed bill takes the total gallons of the various fuels and places a tax of 2c on each gallon to raise millions of dollars for a government program that should be performed by the existing Energy Efficiency entity.

    It is a simple high school calculation to take the carbon in each gallon to get the average carbon per gallon.

    Multiply times the total gallons to get the total carbon.

    Claiming this highly regressive tax is not a carbon tax is, because it is used for weatherizing the rental buildings and the owned buildings of lower income folks is far beyond rational.

    Instead of deceiving oneself and others, it is always better to call a spade a spade.

    BTW, the 2 cents per gallon is merely the camel’s nose into the tent, because “we can always grow it”, stated one Legislator.

  4. DEM/PROG Legislators and RE Proponents of carbon taxes are using socialistic schemes and global warming scare tactics to set up government programs that provide subsidies to RE companies, and other RE entities, and to help the poor and various other favored groups.
    All of it is done to get more votes and stay in power and have “total-control” power.
    RE zealots (living and traveling off other people’s money) are proposing energy solutions that would make the world’s energy supply system, from source to user, have a footprint on the world’s surface at least 3-4 times greater than the present system.
    To avoid that disaster, the world’s primary energy would have to be at least 75% from nuclear, with the rest from wind, solar, hydro, bio.
    Mankind screwed up big time by allowing the world population to increase from about 1.0 billion in 1800, before fossil fuels, to the present 7.5 billion.
    With 9 to 10 billion in 2050, several billion of them refuge seeking, the much larger footprint of the world energy supply system will be rolling over and damaging much of the remaining flora and fauna.
    No one is talking about that at the COP24 RE love fest in coal-loving Poland.
    Serious population reduction is about 200 years overdue.
    “We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America,” she said during a Dec. 5 panel discussion alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, another neo-Socialist who was married in the USSR and spent his honeymoon there.
    The cat is out of the bag.
    Dem/Prog/Socialist climate change fighting = MORE government programs for the undeserving, tax-consuming poor.
    Free electric vehicles for the poor
    Free deep energy retrofits of the housing of the poor
    Free heat pumps, solar systems and batteries for the poor
    Free highly insulated/highly sealed housing for the poor
    Free healthcare for the poor
    Free education for the poor
    Free energy for the poor

  5. Montpelier Legislators, really think they are Master Minds, I see them as what used to be known
    as ” Flim Flam Man “, whoops, and ” Flim Flam Woman”…..wouldn’t want to offend these thin
    skinned politicians.

    The Current atmosphere in Montpelier is we are Progressives and we have control and our agenda
    will go forward, of course, this is a ‘Back Door ” Carbon tax !!

    You can put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.

  6. “Therefore, consumers won’t notice.”

    Guess the Fascist Taliban in control of Montpelier wouldn’t want to take odds on that,beyond time to clean house of the governorship and both houses,wholesale.

  7. I wonder will those who receive fuel assistance also have to pay this carbon tax?

    Interesting. Here is a tax, that by it’s nature if regressive. Effecting 10 of thousands of poor folks in VT that have a hard time putting food on the table. All for the benefit of about 400 folks. It just makes ZERO sense.

    Remember… The party for the “poor” voted for this. The party is willing to put 10 of thousands of poor folks deeper into poverty for the benefit or roughly 400 homes. Sounds like this isn’t the party of the “poor” this is the party of the “Carbon Tax” plain and simple. And they will do ANYTHING they can to get it through, even putting the food that thousands of poor struggle to put on the table in jeopardy.

    Ouch. The liberal ELITE strike again!

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