Sullivan’s Carbon Tax Whining Doesn’t Hold Water

by Rob Roper

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington), a leading Carbon Tax sponsor and supporter, has an op-ed out this week arguing that such a tax is “needed” and complaining about its opponents who succeeded killing the bill last year, at least temporarily.

Sullivan calls for “honest” debate, then tars those who disagree with her as “Trumpian” before predictably summoning the specter of the Koch brothers – none of whom had anything to do with the Carbon Tax debate in Vermont leading up to last election (the time period Sullivan’s piece refers to).

So, let’s talk about honesty….

Sullivan claims that under her and David Deen’s Carbon Tax, “every Vermonter would receive a tax cut.” Really? A NET tax cut? That’s what she implies, but it’s not true.

Under her bill, only 90% of the revenue generated by the Carbon Tax would go towards tax reduction, rebates, etc. So, overall Sullivan’s Carbon Tax represents a $50 million tax increase on Vermonters (the proposal would have ultimately raised roughly half a billion).

But, beyond that flagrant, mathematically impossible dishonesty Sullivan fails to point out that not every Vermonter will qualify for all the tax credits and rebates in the bill. Those making 200% of poverty level or less might be made whole, or even come out ahead depending upon how much they drive, but those with annual household incomes higher than $24,000 will get hammered.

And, this has to be the case. Think about it. Sullivan wants us to use less fossil fuels. She wants to accomplish that goal by making fossil fuels so expensive we won’t buy them. But if the tax on fossil fuels is completely counterbalanced with cuts and rebates to the point where it’s a wash for “every Vermonter,” what’s the incentive to switch?

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary F Daly May 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm

And how much would it cost in administrative pay to take the tax money and give it back? It won’t be a wash because someone needs to do all that paperwork.


H. Brooke Paige May 3, 2017 at 5:08 pm


You expect far too much. Mathematics is antithetical to Reverend Al Gore’s Church of the Manmade Global Warming ! Logic . . . the Reverend’s baptisms wash all hope of reasoned thought from their ill-focused minds! In the land of rainbows and lollipops, the carbon tax promises to heat our homes with promises and fuel our cars with hopes and dreams ! Thankfully, the carbon tax appears to be headed back for the shelf for another year – however like all good socialist/communist/progressive schemes, it will return time and time again until the opposition becomes so weary of the conflict and confusion that is allowed to be drug over the threshold of the State House, another rotting putrid corpse that will only further infect our economy with more ill-effects.

Ever onward toward total destruction !



Jim Bulmer May 6, 2017 at 1:28 pm

BEWARE!!! If the Dems come up with a plan to tax and refund later, it’s a sham. While we MAY get some money back in the first year or two, they’ll suddenly devise a need so great the the only way of funding it will be to raid that big honey pot of carbon tax money. Sorry folks, we need those dollars for a far more pressing project than giving you your hard earned money back. If gas gets so expensive that we’ll be forced to return to horse and buggies, I’m going to invest in buggy whip futures.


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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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