by Peter Freyne
I'm telling you, you've got to love the divergence of views on the editorial pages in Vermont when it comes to facing global warming. Here's how the Brattleboro Reformer sees things:
Until the Legislature made climate change a key issue in this session, there was little incentive for Douglas to act. But now public support for expanding Efficiency Vermont's work is growing and Douglas has a choice. He can stand with Entergy, IBM and the rest of the major businesses in this state, who object to being taxed to pay for it, or he can stand with the people.
Here's the deal with the tax on Vermont Yankee. Right now, Entergy pays .001 cents per kilowatt hour generated -- a deal worked out in the then-Republican controlled House in 2003 without public imput or knowledge.
It is the only power generator in the state that pays a rate this low. H.520 would raise what Vermont Yankee pays to .003 cents per kilowatt hour, or the same rate that wind farms will pay.
Douglas can defend an out-of-state corporation's sweetheart tax deal, or he can support a bill that would make it easier for businesses and individuals to invest in small-scale renewable energy.
Then, try a world away up the Connecticut River in St. Johnsbury where the Caledonian-Record editorial page looks at it completely differently:
One more time, we are witnessing the fundamental difference between Republicans and liberal Democrats. Republicans value self-reliance and minimal government. Liberal Democrats want a nanny-state wherein government wipes our financial noses at every opportunity and pays for it by taxing everything in sight. Shumlin's plan is essentially two knee-jerk liberal reactions: set up a bureaucracy, reward your like-minded pals - Paul Cillo, Scudder Parker, Cheryl Rivers, et al - with newly created jobs, and pay for it with new tax money.
The question is fundamental. Do we require or want a nanny state or do we want a self-reliant citizenry? We opt for the latter. There isn't a reason in the world that the government should do for free what citizens can afford to do themselves. Put a little more bluntly, there isn't a reason in the world that the government should fix your house or mine and pay for it with Vermont Yankee dollars, confiscated from Entergy by a totally unethical last-minute tax grab. We urge our legislators to swamp the effort to override the governor's veto with a resounding NO!