Last night I had the strangest dream…
VTGOP Reverses Course On Carbon Tax
At a hastily-called news conference at the Statehouse, Republican leaders announced a sudden change of position on climate change: they are endorsing a carbon tax proposal that’s been languishing in the Legislature.
“It’s the right thing to do, and now is the right time,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning.
“We’ve all been kidding ourselves,” added House Minority Leader Don Turner. “But the longer this winter went on, with so little snow and such high temperatures, well, we just couldn’t ignore it anymore.”
Several Republicans acknowledged they’d been paying “lip service” to climate change — admitting that it’s an issue, but staunchly blocking every initiative aimed at addressing it.
When asked if the sudden change of heart was due to concerns from ski resort operators, who are major political donors, Republicans openly bristled at the idea — but gave it credence in the same breath. “Well, sure, the ski industry matters to our economy,” said Turner. “Its viability should concern every Vermonter. The sight of barren ski trails in last week’s warm spell was a grim reminder of the future that awaits us if we don’t cut back on fossil fuels.”
For his part, VTGOP chair David Sunderland disavowed his skepticism and accepted the scientific consensus on climate change. And then he tried to outflank the Democrats. “We have been wrong on the issue,” he said. “But we have changed in response to a changing situation, and we call on the Democrats to do the same. They have been blocking action on their own carbon-tax proposals; it’s time for them to turn their rhetoric into action.”
Randy Brock, candidate for lieutenant governor, offered a financial rationale. “We’ve opposed a carbon tax because of its effect on the economy,” he said. “But look, the price of a gallon of gas has fallen by almost two dollars in the past year and a half. Fuel prices are at historic lows. If we can’t take a modest, sensible step right now to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, when will we?”
The news conference featured almost every top Republican except one: Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott. Spokesperson Rachel Feldman explained that Scott had a previously-scheduled engagement at a pie-baking contest in Windham County. When asked if he joins his fellow Republicans in calling for a carbon tax, Feldman said that the Scott campaign would issue a comment “when the time is right.”
…and then I woke up.