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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Is Entergy Worried?

The early CW on the chances of Democrats overriding GOP Gov. Jim Douglas'  veto of their Global Warming Bill - "The Vermont Energy Efficiency and Affordability Act"  - was between none and next to none. H. 520 passed the House on an 85-61 vote. A two-thirds vote is required to take Gov. Jimbo's veto and park it where the moon don't shine.

Contrary to the CW, however, a few veteran Montpeculiar insiders took a very different approach. They suggested Democratic leaders actually should be able to override with no sweat. It's not just a matter of getting people to change their previous vote from "nay" to "aye," it's also about getting a few people to "stay home"  that day - that day being July 11.

R8dostis_2 This morning, House Natural Resources Chairman Robert Dostis [left] and Rep. Tony Klein, a committee member, were the guests on The Mark Johnson Show on WDEV. Johnson asked Chairman Dostis how he could possibly override?

"Well," replied the Chairman, "You need two-thirds of who is there."

Hint. Hint.

You think you can "realistically pull this off?" asked Marko.

"I would never count us out," replied Dostis. "Too important a piece of legislation."

Hint. Hint.

In addition, he noted, "People who previously opposed the bill are now supporting it." When they learn the facts, he said,  "They see it's a good bill."

Interesting. And soon things got even more interesting when Mark the Host took the next call and I - and the guests - instantly recognized the familiar South-Boston accent that's echoed up and down the Statehouse halls since the 1980s.

Gerry Morris, aka "Morris the Cat," is one of the top hired-gun business lobbyists under the golden dome. Mr. Morris [pictured below, right],  represents Entergy Vermont Yankee among other distinguished business clients, including Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., Pfizer Inc, and  Vermont State Colleges.

MORRIS: Well, you both know Vermont Yankee does not pay a property tax which is why we pay less in property taxes now than we did in 2002. You both know that, right?

DOSTIS: Yeah. And that’s why I have to keep talking about money into the Education Fund and money into the General Fund, so it is a difference, but the bottom line is, call it what you want, it’s still basically a property tax, but it’s not based on fair-market-value.

Morris_the_cat MORRIS: Well, here’s the bottom line. We pay between $4.5 and $5 million a year into the state of Vermont through the generating tax, and the Legislature decided that 56 percent of that would go to the General Fund and the rest go to the Ed Fund, which is why, I believe, we’ve about $2 million of our money is going into the Ed Fund. So, in addition to that $4.5 million, we also contribute another $4.5 million to your Clean Energy Fund, and we also pay our local property tax. So for someone to say, we’re not paying our fair share of taxes, I really can’t understand that argument.

Just once, I would like to walk into a legislative committee and have someone on that committee say, ‘Well, gee, thanks, Entergy Vermont for saving Vermonters $650 million on their electric bills, for paying almost over $12 million into the state of Vermont  and local government and in your taxes. I mean, just once, I would like someone to say , ‘Thank you, Entergy, for all you’re doing for us!’

DOSTIS: Thank you, Entergy, for all you’re doing for us.

MORRIS: ...Instead of saying, here’s your 90 percent tax increase because we couldn’t figure out another way to pay for this new bureaucracy which doesn’t exist , hasn’t even been designed yet, as noble as its goals may be.

KLEIN: I do thank Entergy for paying into these funds, but one of the payments that he referred to was $4.5 million into the Clean Energy Fund. That money is only paid if Vermont Yankee is operating  in their ‘uprate’ mode - the 20 percent that wheels out of the state at terrific profit levels.

J
ust a "Freyne Land" thought: When Entergy's top, hired-gun Statehouse lobbyist is the person who calls the Democratic environmental leaders on talk radio to take them on mano-a-mano demanding hommage, you don't think someone's getting a little desperate, do you?

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Comments

odum

Getting big for his britches is what he's doing. I think all the money and celebrity is going to his head.

By continuing to put himself out there in such a high-profile manner, he runs the risk of making the issue about him and not his client's interests. Very bad move for a lobbyist.

here's hoping he keeps it up...

austin green

One thing that Chris Moody has surely demonstrated is that there is absolutely no civility in public discourse anymore. I can't believe that Seven Days would condone the language that Mr. Moody has so violently splattered on their page.

And John Odum, you are one to talk about someone getting too big for his britches! Yours hardly fit anymore, you have become so verbose with your pontificating. Shame on you, hiding behind your blog, criticizing others while taking a paycheck from the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

odum

This is "hiding?" Geez... hardly a day goes by without somebody calling me names or threatening me in some way since I started "hiding" behind a blog, "Mr. Green." I actually thought this might be one of the days that I got off easy before I read your post...

But I am curious about what makes you more mad. The fact that I have the gall to excercise my free speech rights by disagreeing with you, or the fact that I work for a living?

vermonter

Um, what right do you have to state that Mr. Morris is "getting big for his britches?" And what exactly is that phrase suppose to mean? How dare Mr. Morris go public with his opinion! He's getting big for his britches! Who the hell does he think he is!

Are you the one who decides exactly how "big" everyone gets to be?

odum

Um, what right do you have to state that Mr. Morris is "getting big for his britches?"

Here ya go.

Next question?

GiveTexasBack

Careful now. Odum and his gaggle of minions hate competition when it comes to public attention. Their pontifications on a blog apparently have much more merit than anyone else with an opinion....

vermonter

Let me see if I got this right. You accuse someone of being "too big for his britches" because he goes public in defense of his client. Of course, calling someone "too big for his britches" means, "he thinks he's more important than he really is," or "he's going beyond his station in life." Sort of like calling someone an "uppity black." Then when I ask you what basis you have, you send me a link to the Constitution. Oh, I see now! How bright of you! Of course you're right! The First Amendment does give you the right to say whatever you want. Yes, it gives you the right to say things without having to explain them! Right you are!

And it also gives me the right to call you a jerk!

Thanks!

odum

And it also gives me the right to call you a jerk!

Now yer gettin it.

odum

Their pontifications on a blog apparently have much more merit than anyone else with an opinion

Well, except for yours of course, Tiki...

anonymous

Here's how I see it (getting on topic) - the typical nuclear plant is paid for in about 15 years after it goes online. After that it's profit minus maintenance costs.

VT Yankee went online in 1972, 35 years ago. So, approximately 20 years worth of rate-paying went toward a combination of maintenance and profit. That's a lot of investment by Vermont rate-payers into the pockets of VT Yankee's owners. It's perfectly reasonable for Vermonters to expect a dividend on those investments, especially since the uprate will result in VT Yankee producing a significant boost in profits with no effort (other than lobbying) or innovation on Entergy's part.

Entergy likes to point to the lower cost of electricity in VT relative to other New England states, implying that VT Yankee has "paid" its share by keeping rates low. However, Efficiency Vermont and the long term contract with Hydro-Quebec each have had at least as much effect on rates.

This bill would save Vermont citizens and businesses money by reducing the amount of increasingly-costly fossil fuels they need to heat their homes and businesses. It's great investment, and all it requires is for Entergy to provide a little return on investment to those who have been paying into VT Yankee with each electric bill since 1972.

linguini

The Dems wont override Douglas veto, who are u trying to fool?? too much medicinal smoking lately?? Douglas is so powerful and Symington is so............weak!! I, again repeat it...Symington is no Ralph Wright!!!! Old Ralphie knew how to whip his troops into line and keep them there. Symington and Patridge dont even come close to the Wright-Brooks duo of years ago. Look for the Gov. to win again, just like he will win the '08 election!!!

Daniel Sanchez

I have a sense that the Democrats won't be able to override the veto. There's a stench out there that there are some lame "Democrats" like Anderson of Montpelier who will vote with either their "conscience" or to repay a favor for their appointment to the legislature by Gov. Douglas. Whatever the case, Symington is out of her league when it comes to playing hardball with Douglas, even at one of his more vulnerable moments in his career as governor. I'm thinking, why not dump her the next time Democrats have to elect a Speaker for the House? The inability to override a veto with a supermajority the Democrats have, although dependent on Progressives and a couple independents, is a big disappointment. The inability to keep party unity on the major votes shows how much clout Symington has within her caucus. The results will be seen in the July session. If she pulls off the near-miracle, good for her, then she's earned her right to retain the job. Otherwise, she can be dumped. For as much as I dislike Douglas, he is a great politician when playing hardball.

jpc

Why does everybody seem to think that we have the right to control the amount of profit a business makes. How is Entergy not paying their fair share? Entergy entered into an agreement with the state on what was fair, they have paid it. End of story. When the contract expires maybe the idiots in Montpelier will be a little more wary of what is fair, but until then a deal is a deal, and I for one am appalled at the legislators who don't seem to believe in preserving the integrity of the state. Shumlin is a back stabbing goon trying to ride the coat tails of Al Gore to the Guv's office.

To the folks of Windsor, please correct your mistake.

Cow Milker

Unfortunately, the Senate has its own version of Anderson and his name is Little Dickie Mazza. This guy is a Republican who, for some odd reason, runs as a Democrat. May all his fruit go bad!

Cathy Resmer

Admin note:

I deleted Chris Moody's comment above. Please, folks, no vitriolic personal attacks. Keep it civil.

Thanks...

skeptic


More important than all of this, where is Snarky Boy? We could really use him on this, the Iraq vote, etc, etc.

sandy ward

The previous admin. note means your first amendment right to call someone whatever you want is out the window, Odum, no matter how true, harsh or political incorrect it may be.

I liked Chris Moody's post and think every opinion is important. Shame on you, Cathy.

I hope Douglas' veto sticks on this bill too.

odum

The previous admin. note means your first amendment right to call someone whatever you want is out the window, Odum, no matter how true, harsh or political incorrect it may be.

Nah, it's the internet that's the free speech zone, not any individual blog. I respect any individual bloggers rules or lack thereof. I encourage anybody and everybody who feels that their favorite blogs are to restricting or confining to make there own. Here's a good freebie site (I advise you to skip blogger, but if you must, here's a link to that one, too).

sandy ward

Odum, you missed the point completely.

This is about politics, not policy.

vermonter

I don't think some people here understand the difference between the First Amendment and private space. I'm an big believer in the First Amendment, but the owner of this blog is within his/her/its rights to say that no F words will be tolerated and no personal attacks will be tolerated. Do I have the right to determine what language gets used in my house? Yes. Does a school have the right to determine that one student cannot verbally abuse another student? Yes. The First Amendment does not confer an absolute right on anyone to way whatever they want, at anytime, at anyplace. I really don't understand Ms. Ward's bellyaching. No one here said you couldn't critize a politician's ideas or policies or leadsership style in the harshest terms. All the Administrator is saying is that you don't have the right to call them a "f****** a******." Do you feel that you need to have that right on this blog? Why?

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