Renewable energy lobbyist touts $500 million carbon tax as 'tax reform'

A renewable energy lobbyist in Vermont is calling a $500 million carbon tax a clever “tax reform” idea to grow jobs and the economy.

Vermont Public Interest Research Group, an environmental advocacy group with 40,000 members, wants to jump-start the economy. The group’s method of achieving that, however, requires imposing a massive tax on gasoline, propane, natural gas and home heating fuel.

According to a promotional flier being delivered to Vermonters across the state, VPIRG wants state lawmakers to shift taxes off of income, sales and employment and on to “carbon pollution” — a code phrase for gas and home heating oil distributors.

The proposed excise tax — a $100 per-metric-ton tax on carbon estimated to add 89 cents to a gallon of gasoline, 58 cents to propane and $1.02 to every gallon of home heating fuel — will generate $500 million annually after its phase-in period of 10 years.

To make skyrocketing gasoline costs sound less repulsive, the flier calls the concept “tax reform for a clean economy.” According to the scheme described in the flier, passing a carbon tax will be offset by granting taxpayers an income tax credit that increases every year. Organizations and municipalities will get tax credits for all employees, too, and all Vermonters would see a reduction in the sales tax.

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