Center Signs Coalition Letter to Oppose Regional TCI Gas Tax

18 Regional Advocacy Groups Issue Open Coalition Letter Opposing TCI Regional Gas Tax Plan

Providence, RI – The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today joins with a dozen-and-a-half other pro-freedom groups in northeast states to co-sign a regional coalition “open letter” that opposes the regional carbon tax “cap and trade” compact that will significantly raise gas prices at the pump, known as the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI)

The TCI Open Letter discusses how the TCI gas tax is “the equivalent of a sin tax – a penalty for engaging in bad behavior” (driving), as defined by radical environmentalists.

“Hard-working Rhode Islanders should not be purposefully punished for driving their kids to school, going to work, visiting family, going shopping, or delivering goods and services,” said the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “We are proud to stand with our coalition partners in opposing this stealth tax on gas. Our coalition letter points out how the TCI Gas Tax will especially harm low-income and rural families.”

Initial details of the regional TCI gas tax plan, openly supported by Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and being considered in 11 other New England and mid-Atlantic states, are expected to be released later today; however the TCI framework has been previously made public. The TCI gasoline tax scheme will be similar to the regional electricity tax cap-and-trade compact already in existence, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), in which Rhode Island has been a member since 2007.

It is unclear if Governor Raimondo will seek to unilaterally impose the TCI gas tax on Ocean State motorists and truckers, or if she will seek legislative approval. The final TCI plan is expected in the early spring of 2020, when executive or legislative action will take place. 

In addition to Rhode Island, the Open TCI Letter was co-signed by #NoTCITax regional and national coalition partners from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, Vermont, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. 

The Center’s policy brief released earlier this month – The TCI Tax – details the ‘diabolical’ goals of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), a green-new-deal type program whose goal is to make gasoline so expensive that it will “go away”. Like all far-left contrivances to reduce carbon-gas emissions, including RGGI, the TCI gas tax will harm economic growth and will take money out of the pockets of residents, while failing to meet its stated environmental goals.

The policy brief discusses in detail the many reasons why our state should not join the TCI compact, including:

  • In Rhode Island, with its already dismal business climate and exodus of people to lower-cost states, families and businesses cannot afford a significant new gas tax
  • The failure of a similar regional scheme on electricity, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, has driven up consumer costs; has resulted in no added greenhouse gas reductions; and has caused economic harm. There is every reason to believe TCI will also produce a negative cost vs. benefit result. 
  • The Governor should not try to bypass the Constitutional authority of the General Assembly by unilaterally seeking to impose this new gas tax
  • Rhode Island could gain a significant competitive advantage in the region by refusing to sign-on to the TCI tax scheme by being able to offer lower-priced gasoline products
  • There are many less disruptive and more efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • State and national legal challenges may result, along a number of potential Constitutional angle

The TCI Open Letter, the TCI Gas Tax policy brief, and other related information can be found at #NoTCITax 

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