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Ethan Allen Institute
PO Box 543 
Montpelier, VT 05601

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The Vermont Transparency Project is a joint project of the Ethan Allen Institute and the Public Assets Institute. The site will help you find out important information about how state government raises and spends your money.


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Roll Call Profiles



Tom Breuer, Stowe/Wakefield, MA
Catherine Clark, Burlington
John Cueman, Dorset
Milton Eaton, Brattleboro
John Goodrich, St. Johnsbury
Anne McClaughry, Kirby
Jack McMullen, Burlington
William R. Sayre, Bristol
Wendy Wilton, Rutland


Mailing Address
PO Box 543 
Montpelier, VT 05601

Phone: 802-695-1448 
Fax: 802-695-1436 
Rob's Cell: 802-999-8145


Email, General
Rob Roper, President
John McClaughry, Vice President


Help Us Warn Vermonters About the Carbon Tax!
We need to raise $10,000 for a media campaign that will
get the facts out about the Carbon Tax.
            You know that a costly Carbon Tax on gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, propane, and natural gas will hurt Vermont’s families, businesses and our economy. When people find out that a Carbon Tax will add 88¢ to every gallon of gasoline and $1.02 to every gallon of home heating fuel, they overwhelmingly oppose the idea.
            Unfortunately, the left wing activist group VPIRG has sent over 50 “interns” door to door throughout the summer to mislead Vermonters into supporting what they call “Carbon Pricing” – no mention of how much the Carbon Tax will cost, or who will end up paying for it. Just the misleading claim that it will save the planet.
            We need to counter that propaganda with facts. And, this means we need to launch a paid media campaign that will educate Vermonters about the true nature of a statewide Carbon Tax. 
            The Ethan Allen Institute has been a leading voice in Vermont warning our citizens about the proposed Carbon Tax and its inevitably harmful impacts on our state, if passed. Can we count on you to help us raise the $10,000 we need to launch a statewide radio and social media campaign?
            The next $5000 we receive for this effort will be matched, dollar for dollar, by a concerned contributor, so act now and double your impact!
            In January of 2015 The Ethan Allen Institute launched a statewide radio campaign alerting Vermonters to the fact that a Carbon Tax was on the table and what it meant for Vermont’s economic future. We put out an online survey to which 1500 plus Vermonters like you responded loudly – over 90 percent opposed.
            It’s up to us to make sure Vermonters understand the details and true, destructive nature of this Carbon Tax, the serious impact it will have on our wallets, and the devastating impact it could have on our economy. And, we need help from Vermonters like you who know and care about the truth.
            One sixty second radio spot costs between $25 and $35 to put on the air, so every penny counts. Together, we can stop the Carbon Tax.
            Thank you for your support.

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Ethan Allen Institute
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John McClaughry

Two Thirds of Vermonters Want a Carbon Tax!?
by John McClaughry    

          On July 7 Energy Independent Vermont, the coalition of enviro groups headed by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), announced the findings of its statewide poll on its proposal for a Vermont carbon tax. The poll found that 63 percent of respondents supported the carbon tax, while 31 percent opposed it (six percent were undecided).
          But before we take that seriously, maybe we ought to inquire into exactly what question was asked by the EIV pollsters... (Read More

Potential Tax Increases Coming After the Election
By Rob RoperRob Roper     

            Before Peter Shumlin became governor, he famously said that there was no more tax capacity left in Vermont. We were ‘tapped out.” Since then, Shumlin and majorities in the legislature have passed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new taxes and fees. Despite this, the state still deals with a consistent structural budget deficit and revenue shortfalls.
            Many of our politicians, like Shumlin, pay lip service to hearing Vermonter’s pain when it comes to our tax burdens and overspending by the state, but their records tell a different story. And, these particular zebras aren’t going to change their stripes.  Just look at the tax and spending proposals that are on the table for tapped out Vermonters to contemplate for 2017.... (Read More)

Carbon Tax "Quick Facts" Sheet (For the VPIRG Intern in Your Neighborhood)
by EAI

         The left wing lobbying and activist organization VPIRG is engaged in its annual summer ritual of sending college kids door to door to propagandize citizens. For the second year in a row, the issue d’jour is passage of a statewide Carbon Tax.
            Readers who have experienced a VPIRG visit report that these young spokespeople are not revealing to their audience several facts, such as the tax will, among other things, raise the price of gasoline by 88¢ per gallon, home heating oil by $1.02 per gallon, etc.
            VPIRG does not have a sterling reputation for honesty when it comes to promoting its causes. (See: More Vermont residents say VPIRG canvassing drive used names fraudulently), so if you want to make sure your name is not misused or your position regarding the Carbon Tax misstated for political purposes, be prepared.
            We have put together a list of quick facts for when the VPIRG representative knocks on your door. Use it, and five minutes of high quality entertainment guaranteed. Apparently, they don’t stand up to questioning very well.  

(Click Here for the PDF Carbon Tax Fact Sheet)



August 9. Rob Roper will present “Squeezing Blood from a Gilfeather Turnip: Tax and Spending Plans for After the Election” to the St. Albans Rotary Club. If you would like to have this or another EAI presentation put on for your organization, please contact

August 13. Rob Roper will speak to the Andover, VT, Republican committee and guests about the proposed Carbon Tax for Vermont. If you would like to bring this or another EAI presentation to your organization or community, contact
News & Views
EAI's News & Views: An eclectic collection of notable items from just about anywhere.

Vermont’s Sluggish Economy. “The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis just released its state-level GDP numbers and they show that Vermont’s GDP, adjusted for inflation, rose by a scant 0.2 percent in 2015.  That’s well below the U.S. growth rate of 2.4 percent and is fourth lowest in the nation…. Over the past five years Vermont’s GDP grew at an average rate of only 0.8 percent per year, the 11th slowest in the nation and a full percentage point below the nation.” – Art Woolf, UVM professor of Economics

VT: 3rd Highest Taxes Overall in the Nation. The investment website Motley Fool published an article ranking the overall tax burdens in the 50 states. Vermont tied for third highest with our neighbor, Maine. The calculations considered the total amount of personal income paid to real estate, individual income, and gross receipts taxes. The top five states with the heaviest tax burdens were: New York (13.12%), Hawaii (11.86%), VERMONT (11.13%), Maine (11.13%), and Connecticut (10.91%).
The least burdensome was Alaska at 5.18%

Vermont Highest in Nation for Excise Taxes. The Tax Foundation recently released a study of states and the per capita burden of excise taxes on their citizens. Vermont came in first (that’s bad) with an average Vermonters paying $1,029 in state and local excise taxes per year. We blew away second place Nevada, which came in at $878 and last place Wyoming at just $285. The Tax Foundation explains, “excise taxes are collected on specific types of transactions, not a wide range of general goods. Some of the most common excise taxes include gas taxes, cigarette taxes, and taxes on the purchase of beer, wine, and liquor. Others include taxes on the purchase of amusements, insurance premiums, and pari-mutuels.” 

$28 Million Revenue Downgrade. Vermont state economists are now estimating that the general fund will bring in $21 million less than expected for FY17, the education fund $3.4 million less than expected, and the transportation fund $3.5 million less. This is despite the fact that the state raised nearly $100 million in new taxes and fees in the 2016 legislative session alone. Montpelier is simply spending money faster than our anemic economy can generate it.
Socialism Pays! According to a special report by VT Digger, Vermont hospitals are raking in the cash since regulations were put in place to bend the cost curve. They did, but not in the direction Vermonters were led to expect. “The total operating surpluses — also known as profits — tripled from $37.3 million in fiscal year 2006 to $110.4 million in fiscal year 2015. The average operating surplus over that time period went from $2.7 million to $7.9 million, driven largely by increased profits at the UVM Medical Center. And while net revenue from patient care is down to about $2.3 billion annually, the amount that hospitals charge insurance companies for services has been approaching $5 billion.”
A Breakdown of Carbon Tax Costs. Willem Post provided the following analysis of how a carbon tax would hit a typical Vermont household. “Two wage earners, two cars, in a free-standing house) would pay additional taxes in 2027 of about:
  • Driving = $0.89/gal x 2 x 12000 miles/y x 1/30 miles/gal = $712/y
  • Heating = $1.02/gal x 800 gal/y = $816/y
  • Total carbon tax in 2027 = $1528/y
  • Sales tax reduction 5/6 x $1400/y = $233/y
  • Net tax increase = $1295/y
This analysis does not include the increased cost of businesses passing on their extra costs to customers, i.e., higher prices for goods and services affected by higher fuel prices.
The True Cost of K-12 Education. We often hear conflicting numbers regarding the per-pupil cost of education in Vermont. Some say it’s $14,677, other calculations show a much higher number. Tom Pelham of Campaign for Vermont provides a great, quick explanation of the math – and which numbers reflect reality. “According to Agency of Education data, in fiscal 2016 the average statewide spending per pupil was $18,893, which is the total of school budgets divided by the number of students. The $14,677 figure … is ‘education spending’ divided by the number of ‘equalized pupils’ for fiscal 2017. For fiscal 2016 this value was $14,421. The terms ‘education spending’ and ‘equalized pupil’ are products of language crafted by the legislature which results in underreporting of actual expenditures. ‘Education Spending’ includes only 78 percent of school district budgets and there are 2,205 more ‘equalized pupils’ than the number of students that actually attend schools (the so-called ghost students). Thus, the use of the average statewide value of ‘education spending’ per ‘equalized pupil’ results in a much lower amount as it does not reflect all the dollars spent in Vermont’s education system, nor the actual number of students.”
GMO Fiasco. As Vermont’s “historic” GMO labeling law went into effect, the result bing 3000 products would no longer be sold in Vermont and the cost of food would rise either a lot or a little depending upon whom you ask, the Federal government is set to pass another law making the whole thing moot. The whole episode is an example of government for the highest bidder. Statewide, the anti-GMO special interests bought legislation that would harm their competitors, and at the federal level, to pro-GMO special interests bought the results they wanted. How about letting the free market decide. GMO: Government, Move Out.
Jamaica, Vermont, Wants School Choice. Under act 46 obligations to discuss alternative governance structures, voters in Jamaica voted voted 78 to 75 to leave their five-town Leland & Gray Middle and High School union. This would allow the district to expand school choice options to its families. This is good news! However, it’s not clear if the other four town in the union will allow them to leave, or if the State Board of Education will approve of their merging with another district. If Act 46 isn’t outright repealed in January, the legislature should fix the law to make it easier for towns like Jamacia to make these moves. After all, the intent of the law was to allow for creative thinking and locally driven solutions, right?  
Common Sense Energy Policy, Learned the Hard Way. “The German parliament voted on July 8 to slow the growth of renewable energy, by ending lavish subsidies intended to develop as much wind, sun and biomass as quickly as possible. Instead, the government will pick and choose which energy projects make sense for the system based on reliability, cost, and other criteria.” - Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI.
Not a High Capacity for Common Sense. Los Angeles passed an ordinance barring the possession of “high capacity” magazines within city limits as of November, 2015. So far, according to a report on, “the ban has correlated with increases in violent crime rather than reductions. According to KPCC, LAPD reports a 20 percent increase in aggravated assaults and an approximate 16 percent jump in robberies.”
Sad But True. “That small government of limited powers that the Founders designed, hedged with checks and balances, hasn’t operated for a century. All its parts still have their old names and appear to be carrying out their old functions. But in fact, a new kind of government has grown up inside the old structure, like those parasites hatched in another organism that grow by eating up their host from within, until the adult creature bursts out of the host’s carcass. This transformation is not an evolution but a usurpation.” -- Myron Magnet, City Journal
Book of the Month

Book of the Month: The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure
How Destructive Banking Reform is Killing the Economy
by John A. Allison
McGraw Hill, 2012 (288 pages)

          John Allison served as chairman of BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust), the 10th largest financial services institution in the US from 1989 to 2009. As such, he had a ground zero view of the housing bubble and the financial crisis it led to in 2007 and beyond. Countering the political narrative that it was greedy bankers taking advantage of a deregulated industry, Allison lays out a detailed case indicting government for creating and exacerbating the crisis.
            Allison points out that the banking industry has not been deregulated – it is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world – but rather it has been mis-regulated by unaccountable, incompetent, politically motivated politicians and bureaucrats.
            Allison admits that a certain amount of greed has always been present on Wall Street, just as it is present in many professions, but there was not a sudden increase in the amount of greed in the early 2000s. The cause of the crisis was something else. Or rather lots of somethings. The major culprits, Allison explains, were the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies, the Community Reinvestment Act which forced banks to make bad loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back, irrational lending by the government hybrid organizations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the federal government’s willingness to engage in “crony socialist” bail outs of big banks and thus incentivizing what would otherwise been unthinkable gambles.
            At the heart of the financial crisis, and our general national crisis, is a movement away from the free market capitalism that made our country great. Allison spends the final third of the book with an impassioned defense of capitalism and the morality behind free markets.
            After his retirement, Allison served as a distinguished professor at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from American Banker and was named one of the decade's 100 most successful CEOs by Harvard Business Review. He is now the president of the Cato Institute.
            This book is a must read for anybody who loves liberty and has been forced to endure Bernie Sanders’ and his followers’ mindless bashing of “greedy corporate bankers” for what seems like an eternity. 

- Review by Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute

Final Thoughts

August Survey
Who are you supporting in the Aug. 9 gubernatorial primary?
Matt Dunne
Chris Erikson
Peter Galbraith
Bruce Lisman
Sue Minter
Brooke Paige
Phil Scott

Make your voice heard. Take the survey HERE! 

July Survey Results
Did your Vermont State Senator(s) vote the way you would have liked in 2016?
Yes, always. 4.76%
Yes, most of the time. 9.52%
No, rarely. 42.86%
No, never. 42.86%


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