Center Publishes TCI Economic Impact Report on Same Day Raimondo Auditions for U.S. Commerce Secretary

Center Publishes TCI Economic Impact Report

Negative Costs Over 100 Times More Severe than the Benefits #NoTCItax

Providence, RI – As the state struggles to recover from the crushing economic lockdowns imposed by Governor Gina Raimondo, who today is the subject of confirmation hearings for the cabinet position of U.S. Secretary of commerce, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity published a report detailing the significant negative economic impact on the Rhode Island economy should the state approve participation in the controversial Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI is a proposed interstate compact, officially endorsed by Raimondo, that would artificially raise gasoline prices under the guise of reducing regional carbon emissions.

The 10-page report, The Effects of a TCI Gas Tax on Motor Fuels in Rhode Island, calculates that the total social costs of such a gas tax would be 105 times more severe than the anticipated social benefits. Under TCI in Rhode Island, global carbon emissions would be reduced by an insignificant 0.00016%. “The obvious purpose behind this TCI scheme is not environmental – it’s nothing more than a greedy money grab,” suggested the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse.

The report, researched and co-published by The Beacon Hill Institute in Massachusetts using its state tax analysis modeling program (STAMP), concluded: 

We find that the imposition of a carbon (or TCI) tax on motor fuels would produce a  less-competitive business environment, resulting in a slower-growing economy that  produces lower employment, disposable income, and investment. While the revenue generated under a carbon tax could be used to create new jobs, any new jobs would be created at the expense of the private sector.

Per the report, if TCI were implemented in 2022, within 5 years, the Ocean State would suffer:

  • A per family loss of disposable income of $1205/yr ($815 million overall)
  • A loss of 1856 state-based jobs
  • Reduced business investment of $826 million
  • A loss of state GDP of $416 million

“After all that the people of our state have been through this past year, for government now to punish people for driving their vehicles, is just flat out cruel, especially for lower-income families,” added Stenhouse. “In seeking to control and restrict the energy choices of businesses and residents, potentially leading to fuel shortages and long gas lines, these far-left unelected bureaucrats will give Americans another reason not to reside or work in Rhode Island.”

The Center’s report also listed multiple examples of failed carbon tax efforts in the U.S. and across the globe.

Earlier this month, the Center was one of 20 co-signers of an open regional coalition letter, which concluded that “at its core, TCI is a poor concept that is fundamentally regressive, economically damaging, and places an unnecessary financial burden on people who can least afford it.” 

Enabling legislation for TCI is expected in Rhode Island’s 2021 legislative session. In the coming weeks, the Center expects to release a public survey poll about Rhode Islanders’ attitudes towards increased gas prices, especially when those taxes result in little, if any, environmental benefit.

More information about the proposed TCI gas tax can be found on the Center’s TCI webpage: . 

Center is one of 20 Regional Coalition Partners Formally Opposing the Proposed TCI Gas Tax

Economic Impact Report & Public Poll Soon to be Released

Providence, RI – The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity announced today that it has co-signed a coalition “open letter” opposing the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a proposed interstate compact that would artificially raise gasoline prices under the guise of reducing regional carbon emissions.

The coalition letter, which was signed by 20 free-market organizations from over 12 northeast and mid-Atlantic states, discusses how the recently released TCI memorandum of understanding (MOU), of which Rhode Island was one of only three states to officially endorse, purposefully misleads the public by claiming that minimal price increases at the pump will compel people to drive significantly less. The prior year’s version of the MOU indicated that a much more substantial TCI gas tax of 38 cents per gallon would be required to attain the goals put forth by the extreme environmentalists who crafted the TCI scheme.

“It is clearly obvious that as our state and region struggle to emerge from the crushing economic impact of the pandemic shutdowns, that now is not the time to increase travel and transportation costs for Ocean State families and businesses,” advised Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “Further, as stated in our coalition letter, the TCI gas tax will necessarily hurt poor and rural residents much more severely than their higher income and urban peers.”

The letter concludes that “at its core, TCI is a poor concept that is fundamentally regressive, economically damaging, and places an unnecessary financial burden on people who can least afford it. Please reject it.” Enabling legislation is expected in Rhode Island’s 2021 legislative session.

In the coming weeks, the Center expects to release a TCI economic impact report as well as a public survey poll about Rhode Islanders’ attitudes towards increased gas prices, especially if those taxes return little, if any, environmental benefit.

More information about the proposed TCI gas tax can be found on the Center’s TCI webpage: . 

Statement on Raimondo’s Cabinet Nomination

A Downgrade for America is an Upgrade for R.I.

Gina Raimondo’s Nomination for US Commerce Secretary Could Lead to Major Economic Consequences

Providence, RI – The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today issued a statement regarding the nomination of Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo to serve as Commerce Secretary for the pending Biden administration: “What will be a downgrade for the United States economy, should be an upgrade for our Ocean State economy.” 

The Center first broke the story of Raimondo’s nomination, based on its DC sources, way back on November 17 on its popular In The Dugout video blog show (25:15 mark), hosted by CEO, Mike Stenhouse. During the show, Stenhouse described the stark downgrade a Secretary Gina Raimondo would be for America, when compared to current Cabinet Secretary, Wilbur Ross, who from 2017-2020 led America to the greatest economic performance of any country in the history of the world. 

With limited experience in the private sector as a venture capitalist, Gina Raimondo has virtually no “hands on” experience in running a market-based business, as most of her career has been in government and politics, where she has become known as a Democrat hyper-partisan.

Conversely, the nonpartisan current Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross earned the reputation as a Wall Street icon. Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, homebuilding, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, railcar manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurant, shipyard, steel, textile and trucking industries.  Secretary Ross has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries. Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Ross was previously an adviser to New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani on privatization, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of The U.S. Russia Investment Fund. 

As Rhode Island suffers from some of the most severe economic consequences and lack of population growth among all states in the nation, Raimondo’s economic and management track record over the past six years has led to a long-trail of wreckage in the Ocean State:

  • Under Raimondo, Rhode Island has regularly been ranked as having the “worst business climate” in America
  • Raimondo unilaterally destroyed tens of thousands of Rhode Island jobs and thousands of businesses via long-standing, unjustified, and ineffective “shut-down” mandates during the pandemic
  • Raimondo failed to adequately distribute federal CARES Act Covid-19 relief funds intended for the struggling small businesses community, instead, choosing to appropriate much of the funding to plug massive state budget gaps, a persistent problem during her tenure
  • Raimondo failed to reform the Providence public school system, which, during her tenure as Governor was called an “education horror show” by the Wall Street Journal, in the aftermath of a devastating report by the prestigious Johns Hopkins Institute
  • Raimondo has overtly supported multiple anti-jobs climate change initiatives, most recently including being one of only three states to sign-on to the radical Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) that seeks to punish businesses and families for driving their vehicles for work or pleasure
  • Raimondo’s catastrophic and failed rollout of Rhode Island’s public services database, UHIP (Unified Health Infrastructure Project), against the recommendation of the federal government, led to innumerable Ocean Stater not receiving their benefits 
  • Raimondo successfully led efforts to impose oppressive minimum wage mandates, unfair trucker-tolls that violate America’s sacred Dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, 
  • Raimondo handed-out countless taxpayer-funded subsidies to insider corporate cronies, at the expense of small businesses
  • Raimondo partnered with SEIU in a scheme to destroy the private home care industry
  • Raimondo failed to reform the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF), resulting in the death of many children under state-care

“With Rhode Island expected to lose one of its two prized US House Congressional seats when the results of the 2020 US Census are released, under Governor Gina Raimondo, our state has clearly become a less desirable place to raise a family, receive an education, and build a career,” commented Stenhouse. “If and when current Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee becomes Governor, at least Rhode Island will have a chief executive who has made attempts to regularly engage the small business community and hear-out their concerns.”