by Paul Dame
Many people, including myself, are starting to get their offers to pre-buy home heating fuel for the upcoming winter. My offer was almost 35% higher than what I paid just 6 months ago. Others are telling me they are paying 50% to 70% more than they pre-ordered last year. And winter pre-buying is usually supposed to be a discount – so it makes many of us wonder what this winter might have in store.
But as bad as it will be for Vermonters to be paying hundreds more to get warm this winter, one thing to be thankful for is that if we had been missing just one Republican legislator last May to help sustain Gov. Scott’s veto on a new carbon tax, home heating fuel might have been even more expensive.
Despite this set-back, Montpelier Democrats have promised to go back and pass the SAME bill to override Gov. Scott’s veto – unless they lose some seats. Democrats have not made any changes to their policies in light of the struggles many Vermonters are facing. Their intention is to keep pushing punitive carbon taxes that disproportionately hurt rural Vermonters.
Adding a new carbon tax is bad enough. But because Democrats don’t want to be seen raising taxes in these economic conditions – they proposed to transfer their power to a group of unelected bureaucrats who can add and raise the tax at will and NEVER be accountable to voters for it. Then Democrats could shrug their shoulders to voters in future elections and tell them “It’s not me – it’s the board. Sorry, nothing I can do.” At best it’s irresponsible, at worst it’s unconstitutional.
Unfortunately for Vermonters, this responsibility shirking has become all too commonplace with the Democratic Party in Vermont, and across America. If something bad happens, they always point somewhere else, but they never take responsibility for how they are going to achieve a different outcome. We elect leaders to fix problems, not just to message them better. I’m starting to think if we had a famine Democrats would point to the reduction in childhood obesity.
Recently President Biden was asked about the 8.4% inflation we’ve been having, and his response was to brag that after last month it’s down to 8.3%. He won’t take responsibility for the 8.4% increase, but he is going to jump over the fact that it went down 0.1%. That is denial, we need determination. Rather than taking the problem seriously, and telling Americans how he is planning on fixing it he told us our concerns were unjustified because the unemployment numbers were good. Instead of fixing the problem we do have, Democrats weasel out of it by pointing you towards another problem they tell you is worse (Abortion, Trump, etc) – or trying to gaslight you into believing you are alone in your frustration. Republicans want you to know that you are NOT alone and your concerns are in fact serious. We hear you and are fighting to restore a degree of common sense to Montpelier.
I’ve been talking to several of our House & Senate candidates who have been going door to door in our communities across Vermont for several months. We hear the serious concerns and stories of Vermonters who are having a hard time making ends meet. We understand that Biden’s distraction of unemployment numbers doesn’t help the seniors on fixed incomes when their heating and grocery bills go up, but their pension or social security doesn’t. We know that student loan forgiveness doesn’t make it easier for young electricians and plumbers trying to buy a house in a severely restricted market. We know that “reimagining” and defunding the police does not make Burlington any safer to visit or live in.
Republicans know that we just can’t afford the Progressive Democrat agenda any more. We need to get serious about our essential energy supply and costs for workers and seniors alike. We need to make it easier to build affordable first-time homes to keep young people here, both tradesmen and professionals. We need to fully fund our local police and prosecute criminals to make our streets safer again for workers, students and tourists. While I won’t go so far as to say that Democrats can’t do that – they have made it clear that they won’t. If you think things are better now than they were two years ago, ask your neighbors, your mechanic, your senior center coordinator, your local teachers how everyone else is doing. They will tell you that something is broken and it needs real change not just better messaging. Vermont Republicans stand ready to answer the call, be your voice of reason, address the serious problems we are all experiencing, and focus on creating a Vermont that really works.
The author is an Essex Junction resident and chair of the Vermont Republican Party.