When a liberal state rejects a carbon tax

By David Flemming

When asked bluntly, even the most liberal voters hate carbon taxes. That was made evident in the state of Washington on Election Day, when nearly two million Washingtonians voted down a carbon tax dubbed “Ballot Initiative 1631.” Washington legislators reconsider the proposal in the next legislative session.

How does the Washington’s carbon tax compare to Vermont’s ESSEX carbon tax? ESSEX would start at $5/ton in 2019 and increase by $5/ton annually until reaching $40/ton in 2026. Washington’s carbon tax would start at $15/ton in 2020, and increase $2/ton annually until the state reaches it’s renewable energy goals.

While Washington’s carbon tax would be less expensive in 2021 and 2022, Vermont’s carbon tax would be more expensive for the following 8 years. Vermonters would be in a worse situation than Washingtonians if both states passed their respective carbon taxes

Like Vermonters, Washingtonians are generally more liberal than Americans at large. If even a left-leaning populace chose to reject a carbon tax, perhaps it’s time for Vermont’s most progressive legislators to reconsider their support for the ESSEX carbon tax.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Infrogmation

3 thoughts on “When a liberal state rejects a carbon tax

  1. 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.

    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.

    • From the linked article:
      “Instead of debating whether global warming is a threat, or man-made, panelists focused on what impact a carbon tax would have on Vermont’s economy, and whether it would reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere in any meaningful way.”

      Pretty well sums up the insanity of the carbon scare, and the main reason I find it difficult to buy into it unless and until solid scientific evidence is presented to justify the “toxicity” of life giving CO2 and/or the existence of “global warming” tied to human activities in the face of the current lull in solar flare activity.

      The myth of anthropomorphic climate change/global warming is a scam used to justify the taxing scams similar to the one outlined, that will further our impoverishment. Or so says that little voice of paranoia in the back of my head.

  2. Yup, move to hell out of Dodge. One thing Montpelier can’t do is to erect a fence to keep people in the state.

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