Legislators introduce “Tax Cuts and Climate Action” proposals

Late Monday morning, four Vermont legislators introduced bills that would put a price on carbon pollution and, in turn, reduce existing tax burdens or return the revenue back to Vermonters in the form of a check paid out quarterly.

The bills align Vermont’s tax code with our climate and clean energy goals. Each bill proposes a different form of tax relief funded by a gradually rising fee on carbon pollution to be paid by the companies that distribute fossil fuels in Vermont. The bill concepts and lead sponsors are:

Eliminate the Sales Tax (Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas): Phases out Vermont’s regressive sales tax, making border businesses and Vermont brick-and-mortar stores more competitive with neighboring states and on-line retailers that don’t collect or remit Vermont’s sales tax.

Property Tax Relief (Rep. Martin LaLonde): Lowers the statewide property tax, while diversifying and stabilizing Vermont’s education financing system.

Income Tax Reform (Rep. Johanna Leddy Donovan): Cuts income taxes for every Vermonter and Vermont business and doubles the Earned Income Tax Credit — one of Vermont’s most powerful anti-poverty initiatives that assists over 40,000 low-income families each year.

Carbon Dividends (Rep. Diana González): Provides a quarterly dividend check to every Vermonter and Vermont business to help speed the transition to the clean energy future.

The bills strengthen the economy by discouraging the import of fossil fuels from distant states and countries at a cost of about $2 billion each year. They encourage conservation, efficiency and locally generated renewable energy. This keeps more of our energy dollars local, spurring innovation and creating jobs. They each prioritize low- and middle-income Vermonters by offering progressive tax relief. And, of course, they all cut carbon pollution  — helping Vermont do its part in the fight against climate change and protecting Vermont’s way of life for future generations.

We applaud these four legislators for taking the lead on climate change, especially in the face of federal climate denial-ism and backsliding.