The ESSEX Carbon Tax Has A Bill Number!

by Rob Roper


Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Chittenden)

This fall, a number of climate change activists proposed a new Carbon Tax scheme dubbed “The ESSEX Plan.” This latest attempt to tax gasoline, home heating oil, etc. has now officially been translated into legislation sponsored by Senators Chris Pearson (P/D – Chittenden) and Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor): S.284.

The idea behind the ESSEX plan is to use the revenue raised by the tax to subsidize electric utilities and thereby lower electric rates. While this sounds like a simple proposition, the legal language illustrates how, in practice, this will monumentally complicated.


Sen. Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor)

The ESSEX plan’s creators envision not just a simple transfer of revenue, but segregating the revenues based on three categories: industrial, commercial, and residential. The residential category is further complicated by designating 50% of the revenues for general electric rate reduction and the other half divided between low income rebates and “rural” rebates.

The money will be collected from distributors of affected fossil fuels by the Commissioner of Taxes and deposited into a newly formed “Carbon Charge Rebate Fund”. The Public Utility Commission will oversee the allocation and distribution of funds to the electric utilities, who will then have to segregate the funds into three categories: residential, commercial, and industrial.

Then it really gets complicated.

For example, “The Commission shall determine which areas of the State qualify as rural for the purpose of this subdivision (3)(B) and in doing so shall consider the information set forth in “Mapping Total Energy Burden in Vermont” prepared on behalf of Efficiency Vermont.”

As for the low income rebates, “In consultation with the Department for Children and Families (DCF), the Commission shall include in the method income tiers for the rebate….” And, “The manner in which are customers are notified of the availability and eligibility requirements of these rebates and how to demonstrate eligibility.” This means that the benefit is not automatic, but has to be applied for. Which, in turn, means a lot of bureaucrats processing applications – a task complicated again by the fact that people’s incomes are constantly changing.

And finally, “The Auditor of Accounts of the State may conduct audits of the activities under this chapter to ensure that all of the monies raised by the carbon charge are returned to customers. The Auditor shall conduct two such audits.”

This is just the government complexity. Additionally, “Each retail electricity provider shall furnish the Commission with the information the Commission considers necessary in implementing this subchapter.” And, “The distributor shall collect the carbon charge on completion of each sale or delivery of fuel to which the charge applies. The distributor shall identify the charge collected as a separate invoice entry on each sale of fuel…. Every distributor shall maintain, for no fewer than three years, accurate records documenting all transactions to which the carbon charge applies and all transactions for which exemption is claimed…. The Commissioner may inspect these records at all reasonable times during normal business hours.”

So, in conclusion, this is going to be an expensive nightmare to comply with and enforce.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

shazzam January 11, 2018 at 3:40 pm

imagine the crazy upcoming ….


Matt January 12, 2018 at 2:29 pm

So I should expect to see a rebate since I already reduce my carbon footprint by having solar panels on my roof? Um, yeah. . .I won’t hold my breath!

Pass this and this life long Vermonter is outta’ here. You want to make a difference ? Then start in smog laden states like California that have the infrastructure to support it! That would make a statement much more effective than the money grab of the over-taxed WORKING population of Vermonters. Or better yet, how about allowing some business to come here without fear of excessive and extreme permitting !

And to think. . .if this state had industrialized, even just a little like very other state did during the 80’s, we might not actually be in this position. Although the Progs/Dems would certainly come up with another way to steal more money from the working class.

‘Nuff said. . .


Elaine M McCray January 12, 2018 at 10:16 pm

You people In Montpelier do not give us a break.You are never going to get people to move here or our college people to stay, make Vermont make Vt more affordable don,t keep finding ways to to increase the cost of living here.Enough is enough.


Thomas Nola January 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm

This proposal once again represents the lack of thinking regarding the economy of this state, and those who live in it. How is it that these supposed representatives represent “what’s worst” for Vermonters? Placing increasing numbers of additional taxes to support their general mismanagement of state government is criminal. Such ideas are contributing to the continual exodus of people, adding to more taxes!!!!!! They must be working towards an oval office assignment in the future. They certainly qualify.


Ted January 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm

The crazy schemes these nut jobs in Montpelier come up with are just amazing.


Joseph roy January 13, 2018 at 12:35 am

These people in Montpelier don’t have a clue what the average Vermonter is going through, we are taxed enough, when will they ever stop trying to take our money! Please everyone tell them no.


William Hays January 13, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Too bad the Waterbury State Hospital was shut down. It would have been a great place to house these Progressive loons.


Tom January 13, 2018 at 8:27 pm

well if the min wage goes up to $15 then every one is living on alivible income so no rebates will be needed.This carobin tax is so bad for every one, I have 5 more years to go and iam gone.


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