Energy Tax Land

JT Dodge: The cost of living in Vermont and the “TCI”

Vermonters must speak out forcefully against bills that include Carbon Dioxide taxes, fees, and economic schemes, as they are inhumane. “The “Transportation Climate Initiative” known as “T.C.I”, will raise the “cost of living” even more than it’s current elevated status. “WalletHub”, an online personal finance website, presents Vermont as having the fourth-highest overall tax burden in the nation along with the second-highest property tax burden compared among the 50 states. Vermont additionally ranked the lowest out of all fifty states for “military” retirees based on “economic environment”, and 47th place for all other retirees based on the worst “economic environment” also out of the fifty states. These are terrible reports. And that’s not all! VTdigger posted a piece this past weekend, titled “Vermont’s aging population spells trouble for tax coffers, report says”. It stated, “The state needs about $3.38 billion to cover future teachers’ pension liabilities, but after years of under funding and under performing investments, only about 55% of that is in its pension fund, leaving an unfunded liability of $1.513 billion, according to the state’s actuaries.” 

I am skeptical of the recently introduced Transportation fuel ‘cap and trade’ scheme. It sounds even fishier when the “Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus” ( a collection of Vermont legislators that are promoting fees, penalties and taxes and other financial schemes using Carbon Dioxide metrics ) refers to it as “cap and invest”. Vermonters will experience a rise in fuel prices at the pump, in a continuous and upward direction. John McClaughry described “TCI” in a recent Digger commentary in the following way: “The TCI is astoundingly, one might even say diabolically, complex. The details, not yet finalized, will emerge in a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) scheduled to appear in December. After public input, the MOU will go to Gov. Phil Scott. His signature would put Vermont into the 12-state deal. Then either the regulated terminals that supply motor fuel to 80 Vermont distributors, or the distributors themselves will have to purchase “allowances,” the cost of which will be inconspicuously added into the price paid by consumers.”

They are attempting to use fear and fibs to convince Vermonters into believing that in spite of having the smallest Carbon Dioxide footprint in the country, and the fewest cars on the road, we can modify the climate with a tax. Last week I attended a couple of the “Climate Solutions Caucus forums”. Where Caucus member, Representative Copeland-Hanzas fielded a question about fuel prices. It went like this:

Citizen: We are a recreation state and this is going to affect a lot of snowmobilers if we increase gas prices. Has the caucus thought about that?

Representative Copeland-Hanzas: Uh, If we don’t have snow then there won’t be any recreation. (And she held both hands up indignantly as several attendees laughed)

I and others were flabbergasted to hear the sarcastic nonsensical response. Her comment was steeped in dishonest fear-mongering and sarcasm, to achieve her caucus’ political ends.

I lead a non-partisan grass-roots group called “No Carbon Tax Vermont” (Find us on Facebook and at the statehouse). We care for our environment, yet acknowledge Vermont can’t afford higher fuel prices. Promoters of increased fuel prices and carbon dioxide tax and fee schemes would say that Vermont should lead the country with the mission to save the world. Many of us acknowledge the world climate changes, and world carbon dioxide levels have risen to above-average levels. Yet, we stand firmly against intentionally raising Vermont’s fuel prices based on the world’s CO2 metrics. 

It should be acknowledged that the cost of living in Vermont is high, and raising the price of fuel based on world Carbon Dioxide levels is inhumane. Vermont legislators should be laser-focused on Vermont environmental issues and absolutely nothing else.

My best,

JT Dodge, Newbury, Vermont

2020 Candidate for Calendonia district Senate 

No Carbon Tax Vermont group Lead

Chair Newbury town Libertarian Committee

Vice-Chair Vermont Libertarian Party

Co-director Vermont Citizens Defense League



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