EAI’s 2016 Agenda

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John McClaughry and Rob Roper

Our goal is to empower citizens and voters with the information, the tools, and the networks they need to be successful activists within their own communities. Thus armed and motivated, together we can turn our state around.

With the help hundreds generous Vermonters, over the last year the Ethan Allen Institute was able to do significantly more paid media than we have in the past, weighing in with radio and social media campaigns on two critical issues: a state-wide Carbon Tax, and single payer healthcare’s potential impact on Medicare services.

In the first case we were successful in stalling the Carbon Tax, forcing its advocates to drag the debate into this coming election year. This battle has already renewed. In the second case, our efforts to inform seniors, and their reaction to learning the facts of the scheme, helped inform Governor Shumlin’s decision to scuttle the “first in the nation” single payer healthcare plan.

Looking ahead, we have a long and important to-do list for 2016…

  • Kill the Carbon Tax Forever. In order to help subsidize a radical “green” agenda key members of the legislature (in partnership with VPIRG) are pushing for a $500 million Carbon Tax, which will be up for debate and, if proponents get their way, a vote in 2016. This would add roughly a dollar per gallon to the cost of gasoline, home heating oil, and other fossil fuels. Help us launch another, stronger campaing on this issue.
  • Stop Subsidizing the Industrialization of our Landscape. In 2015 the legislature passed a law mandating that Vermont get 75% of its current electricity from renewable sources by 2032, and has a goal of 90% of all energy by 2050. The impact of doing this will require the development of an estimated 200 miles of pristine ridge line with wind towers, and as much as 30,000 acres with solar panels, all significantly subsidized by tax and rate payers. As Vermonters begin to understand what’s at stake with this policy a serious backlash is building, not just in regard to the high cost and irreparable harm this policy will have on Vermont’s signature rural aesthetic, but also to the legislature’s stripping away of local control over zoning decisions for these projects. EAI just launched a new website vermontenergysense.com, dedicated to this issue.
  • Save School Choice in Vermont. Last year the legislature passed a law incentivizing school districts to consolidate (and punishing those who resist), a policy that threatens 150 years of school choice for 90 plus Vermont “tuitioning” towns. This potential loss, as well as other problems with the law, has energized broad local opposition, and has actually created an opening to expand school choice. With your help, we can take advatage of this opportunity to provide a better education for our children at lower cost to the taxpayer.
  • Block Expanding the Sales Tax to Services. As the state scrambles for new revenue sources to deal with a structural budget deficit, one idea that has been raised repeatedly by the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is expanding Vermont’s 6% sales tax to currently untaxed services. This would place a serious, new financial and regulatory burden on two thirds of Vermont’s existing businesses. New Hampshire is salivating at the prospect of its passage.

For each of these issues EAI will make sure the public is aware of and educated about the legislation, who is behind it, and the impact it will have on the lives and well being of our citizens.

In this effort we will, of course, continue to provide our core public services, such as: Roll Call Reports, Roll Call Profiles, and the sponsorship of Common Sense Radio on WDEV (11-noon weekdays, AM550, FM96.1) to spread a free market message to a broad public audience. We will also continue the publication of a monthly e-newsletter, and a quarterly print newsletter. John McClaughry and Rob Roper will continue to write commentaries, submitted weekly to local papers around Vermont.

Vermont continues to provide tremendous challenges, but also some unique opportunities. We are excited for the year that lies ahead, and all of us at the Ethan Allen Institute would be most grateful for your support.

As always, we are grateful to our supporters for all you have done for us and for your steadfast efforts to promote liberty, property, markets, and fiscal sanity in this the Green Mountain State. Thank you!

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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