Vermont legislator proposes ‘Green New Deal’ for state

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The chairman of the Vermont Progressive Party has proposed a “Green New Deal” for the state that he says could raise funds for home weatherization and renewable-energy programs, encourage usage of electronic vehicles and improve public transportation.

Sen Anthony Pollina, of Washington, said the plan can raise $30 million over five years from the top 5% of earners. The funding would come from Vermonters earning between $200,000 and $500,000.

Pollina said the plan would reduce the state’s carbon footprint and generate revenue for green programs, the Time Argus reported Friday.

“People who can most afford it will pay,” Pollina said. “There’s no broad-based tax, there will be nobody who makes under $200,000 a year that will be affected by it all. It’s paid for by the wealthiest.”

Sen. Randy Brock, R-Franklin, said that he is concerned about having a small body making decision on tax policy, and that this plan could push wealthy Vermonters to leave the state.

Pollina’s plan to have four legislators and eight citizens regulate the money raised is undemocratic, Brock said.

“It’s an increase of about $30 million on Vermont’s upper-income citizens, but the use of the money would be decided in a fundamentally undemocratic manner,” Brock said.

Pollina said: “Keep in mind two things: One is that these are people who have seen great big increases in their income … but also the top 5% income earners in Vermont are seeing these massive federal tax cuts, so they’re saving $237 million a year — that’s a lot of money.”

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