Lawmakers in Vermont have proposed legislation that could lead to hikes in gas prices and energy bills in the state, and have implications across the country. Currently, in the Vermont House of Representatives debate is ongoing as to whether Vermont will be the first state to enact a carbon tax. If lawmakers choose to do so, it will have a devastating economic impact on not only businesses and the citizens of Vermont, but for every American and business across the country.
For the past few years within the Green Mountain State a campaign called “Energy Independent Vermont” has been gathering support for a carbon tax. This coalition of far left environmental groups has argued to lawmakers that the only way to reduce emissions is to limit the amount of energy that Vermont citizens use.
How do they propose to do this? By taxing carbon, thereby making energy more expensive for Vermont residents. The two pieces of legislation, H. 395 and H. 412, will steadily increase the cost of affordable and reliable energy over a 10-year span. According to research by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Ethan Allen Institute, if enacted, this legislation will increase the cost of affordable energy across the board, affecting every person in the state of Vermont.
This means that the costs for coal, oil, natural gas, and other energy sources that Americans use every day to drive to work, cook food, and keep their house warm will increase. According to the study by NERA Economic Consulting and the National Association of Manufacturers, a carbon tax in Vermont would increase gas prices by 20 cents a gallon, electricity bills would go up by 19 percent, and the cost of natural gas would increase by more than 40 percent. This is in addition to the jobs lost in the services and manufacturing sectors.
The tax increase is projected to raise $500 million a year. However, not all of the $500 million in new revenue from taxpayers will go directly to the state. Instead 10 percent of the proceeds will go to the Vermont Energy Independence Fund (VEIF), a replacement for the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) that is now nearly bankrupt.
An unspecified amount of money will also be used to replace the solar investment tax credit. This disastrous proposal would in effect tax the citizens of Vermont in order to fund various green energy pet projects, which would most likely fail on their own without government intervention.
Passing a carbon tax in Vermont will also greatly affect citizens outside of the state and across the country. Currently, in a hand full of states a carbon tax debate is taking place similar to the one in Vermont. Should Vermont pass a carbon tax, other states could look to do the same.
This is a battle years in the making. Pro-carbon tax groups have had years of preparation and millions of dollars in financing to sway the debate. If something is not done in Vermont then in only a few years from now millions of Americans could also be facing increased gas prices and higher electricity bills. All while the green energy pet projects of lawmakers receive millions of dollars of taxpayer money.
Photo credit: Mike Mozart