A bad road for the Vermont Republican Party?

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont Republican Party Chairman David Sunderland is taking us all down a bad road in his opposition to the proposal to raise the Vermont gas taxes incrementally over 10 or more years.

Yes, that is part of the proposal. It is also part of the point.

Even Exxon's scientists knew as far back as the late 1970s that such carbon pollution was beginning to change our world's climate in significant ways. (This is according to an extensive report from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Inside Climate News.)

The proposal wants to build in incentives to cut back on carbon pollution, incentives to have people drive less or to purchase more energy efficient vehicles.

It also, however, wants to return 90 percent of those same tax revenues to consumers through lower income taxes and potentially a lower sales tax.

The proposal would also allocate 10 percent of the revenues to such programs as helping homeowners tighten their homes and thus cut down on home heating oil needs. These parts of the proposal are something Sunderland never mentions.

While this proposal is being put forth largely by some Democrats and some Progressives, it is not an official proposal of the Vermont Democratic Party. There is still much discussion about it.

So is Sunderland's intent to have a real debate about the merits of the proposal - like Matt Cota of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association and Paul Burns of VPIRG recently had on Vermont Public Radio - or just to bash the Vermont Democratic Party because, after all, that is what he has been hired to do?

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