A coalition of energy and environmental groups says it’s happy with Peter Shumlin’s plan to fund weatherization and renewable-energy subsidies. For now.
Shumlin Thursday outlined a budget proposal that included $12 million to weatherize Vermont homes and $5 million for the Clean Energy Development Fund. He said he wants to support the new investments by imposing a 10-percent tax on the sales of the “break open” lottery tickets – a sort of unregulated cousin of the scratch-off tickets found in local convenience stores.
“These investments are a critical step towards addressing the enormous opportunity we have to save Vermonters money, slash global warming pollution and create jobs by moving towards efficiency and renewable energy,” the groups said in a release.
But Shumlin’s budget address notably did not include any of the financing recommendations in a recently released report from the Thermal Efficiency Taskforce. The report, which said Vermont will need to raise $276 million over the next seven years to meet the goal of weatherizing 80,000 homes by 2020, called for an excise tax on heating oil and tax credits for people who fund their own home weatherization projects. Shumlin’s appropriation won’t come close to putting the state on pace to meet that goal. And the coalition gently, softly and politely seemed to indicate that the governor ought to consider a more robust funding source in the future.
“While ultimate success will require additional resources, this proposal sets clear direction that Vermont is committed to helping families and businesses save money and energy, and to tackling the issue of climate change,” the group said.
The coalition includes the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Conservation Law Foundation, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (Efficiency Vermont) and Renewable Energy Vermont.