With all due respect, Governor, TCI is a tax.
The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) is calling for a proposed gasoline emission fee to help combat climate change. On the surface, supporters say it is a small price to pay to save the planet. and if you really believe it is, then you should think about voting for it. Despite the government’s best efforts not to label TCI a tax, the simple truth is that it only creates additional financial hardship for low- and middle-income families who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic becomes.
Let’s start with the first and most obvious reason: TCI will introduce a fourth gasoline tax. That’s right, a fourth gasoline tax in a state that already pays the highest gasoline taxes in New England. There are: the federal excise tax, the state excise tax, the gross oil income tax and now this new, proposed emission tax according to TCI. Supporters call it “cap and trade,” which leads fuel suppliers to buy credits based on the amount of emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a tax is: A: a fee normally charged by government agencies imposed by the agency on persons or property for public purposes. B: An amount charged to members of an organization to cover costs.
I would say TCI fits the definition of a tax to a T!
The Department of Energy and Environment and Governor Ned Lamont have stated that it is up to the fuel distributors whether they want to pass this on to consumers. Our answer has always been that there is no way an industry based on a cent per gallon margin can absorb a fourth tax. The simple truth is that the TCI tax, like any other fuel tax, is passed on to the public.
Here’s the hard part: Nobody seems to know exactly how much TCI Connecticut driver is going to cost. Governor Lamont said a 5 cents a gallon hike was most likely, but at the same press conference, DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said it could be as high as 10 cents. So what is it
Since TCI first emerged, the associated costs have been widespread, not through our studies, but rather through studies from TCI and, more recently, an independent study from Tufts University in November 2020. TCI set the price to increase at 17 cents per gallon and the Tufts study at up to 61 cents per gallon. Commissioner Dykes told reporters that critics (which means us) picked old studies; November 2020 is not old.
Governor Lamont also said he could control the price of the gasoline increase based on the fair market value of the carbon credits. So when the price of gasoline goes up, it can create more carbon credits to lower the total cost of gasoline. However, this leads to other serious questions, the largest of which is the most obvious: Do we really want our governor to control the price of gasoline? Also, let’s say Governor Lamont keeps his word and doesn’t go above 5 cents a gallon. What about the next governor? Will he or she make the same promise? This is a dangerous area and the proposed legislation does not limit this tax, so the sky’s the limit of how high it can be.
TCI will increase the price of fuel but not reduce emissions. It’s just a backdoor program to raise money that would have been created through tolls. Every penny of new taxes would generate $ 16 million, so at 5 cents it would bring in $ 80 million. 10 cents – $ 160 million for the state of Connecticut – through a regressive tax that would only cause more trouble for lower and middle class families in our state. There’s a reason nine other states have chosen not to join TCI. We urge Connecticut lawmakers to join these states and “just say no” to Senate Bill 884, which would create a new tax on gasoline.
Christian A. Herb is President of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.
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