Early last week, the House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to include a ‘climate package’ in their version of the budget, including $120,000 for an impartial economic analysis of carbon pricing. Then late Friday evening, the full House voted in favor of the budget on a 122-10 vote!
The budget now heads over to the Senate for deliberation.
This non-partisan study was the cornerstone of a broader climate section within the state budget passed by the House. Also included in that ‘climate package’ is a mandate to use the money from the Volkswagen settlement for electric trucks, buses and charging stations, and modest funding for the replacement of old wood stoves with new, highly efficient ones. This independent study received bi-partisan, unanimous support in the House Appropriations committee. In the full house, it received tri-partisan support and an amendment to remove it was easily defeated.
The study, however, is not a substitute for real action. But it will be a major step forward towards proving once and for all that a price on pollution and returning the revenues to Vermonters would slash our carbon emissions and strengthen the Vermont economy. It will finally put to rest the misinformation and fear-mongering that the fossil fuel industry has been peddling for far too long. And it will allow legislators to move forward on policy decisions based on facts derived by their own economic analysts.
This is a huge milestone for our campaign together to put a price on carbon pollution. With so many competing priorities in the budget, this would not have happened without the tireless dedication of EIV activists showing up for public comment, making phone calls to the State House, sending emails to legislators, hosting community presentations and more over the past few months.
But our work isn’t done.
There’s still a long way to go before this budget is finalized and implemented. The budget must pass approval in the Senate before heading to the governor’s desk for signing. Let’s make sure this study remains in the budget, and that it passes through the Senate with strong support.