Last week, Rep. Pattie McCoy, R-Poultney, wrote an op-ed about a carbon tax (Nov. 30 – "McCoy: The Carbon Tax is Back — Again").
In it she exaggerated the numbers to generate panic and resentment, proclaiming a tax would hurt our poorest neighbors.
Let me set the record straight.
The current proposal is for a $.02 increase on an existing home heating fuel tax, from $.02 to $.04. On 1,000 gallons, that’s an additional $20, which would fund weatherization programs like BROC.
The proposal exempts farmers and loggers.
Contrary to McCoy’s op-ed, the bill proposed helps Vermonters who are being left in the cold. Literally. The ones for whom Vermont is not affordable because the free market is a failed model.
Rep. McCoy claims Republican lawmakers support carbon emissions reductions, citing Progressive/Democratic achievements, yet not one Republican legislator attended the Climate Solutions Caucus forum in Rutland on Dec. 7, and our Republican governor hasn’t taken any action on his own Climate Commission’s recommendations.
I take issue with Rep. McCoy claiming that Vermont can’t achieve its climate goals and suggesting we are making Vermont less affordable while refusing to enact livable wage and paid leave legislation, and standing idly by while the federal government threatens to cut SNAP, Social Security and Medicare.
Vermont imports 100% of its fossil fuels from out of state. Imagine the jobs we would have if we were generating all of our energy locally. Imagine the economy we would have if the $2 billion we spent on fossil fuels each year stayed in our communities.
This is not a partisan issue. It is a quality of life issue and a responsibility.
Cost aside, we cannot afford to do nothing.
Regional organizer, Rights & Democracy for Rutland County