The Endless Tax on your Power Bill

May 21, 2020

By John McClaughry

Last week Senate President Tim Ashe ominously “turned open the spigot” to move legislation not related to the coronavirus pandemic. The lead bill to glide through the Senate was S.337, that would allow Energy Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric the authority to spend some of their ratepayer tax funds on transportation and heating efficiency projects.

To put this in perspective, one of Sen. Peter Shumlin’s big ideas a decade ago was to create a thermal efficiency utility to do just this: subsidize home heating efficiency and vehicle efficiency. Gov. Douglas killed that bill with a veto, but the Democrats keep trying to find some way to hit up somebody to pay for this pet  component of the Democrats’ never ending war against climate change. Last year it was taxing home heating oil to pay for the subsidies, which finally failed, and last January it was the Transportation Climate Initiative to levy a seventeen cents a gallon tax on gas and diesel fuel to subsidize mainly electric cars and bike paths, that has been put on hold for now.

The shocking thing about this bill, S.337, was that it passed 27-2. Only two Senators, Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin) and Sen. Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) had enough sense to see where this was going – namely, to shift taxes on electric ratepayers to subsidizing heating improvements and electric vehicles, thereby increasing the pressure next year for jacking up electric rates to keep on paying for ever more electric efficiency.

John McClaughry is the vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike May 23, 2020 at 12:28 pm

John, Vermonters have no one to blame but themselves. As was once said words to the effect that one reaps from what he sows. As long as these idiots continue to be elected there can be no hope of sanity returning to Montpelier. Oh for the good ole days with Jim Douglas!!!!!


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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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