Roper: Connecticut governor drops TCI

By Rob Roper

If you saw what happened in the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races, you know that left-of-center politicians nationwide, and especially on the East Coast, are panicking about a similar voter backlash washing them out of office a year from now. Glen Youngkin, now governor-elect of Virginia, and Jack Ciattarelli, who barely missed knocking out New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, capitalized on what a lot of voters see as a tone-deafness on the part of Democrats who are pushing highly ideological policies at the expense of their constituents.

U.S. National Guard

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont

One of those policies is the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a convoluted, multi-state cap and trade program that is essentially a carbon tax on motor fuels. What could be more out of touch with voters’ priorities than increasing prices at the pump when gasoline and diesel costs are at multi-year highs with no signs that they are coming down or even leveling off anytime soon? TCI wasn’t popular when gas prices were low!

So, it is not a tremendous surprise the Connecticut Governor Ted Lamont, who is up for re-election next year, has withdrawn his state from TCI, at least for the time being. According to the Hartford Currant Lamont said, “Look, I couldn’t get that through when gas prices were at an historic low, so I think the legislature has been pretty clear that it’s going to be a pretty tough rock to push when gas prices are so high, so no,” to TCI.

Lamont was one of just three governors to agree to participate in TCI a year ago, though neither the Connecticut nor the Rhode Island legislatures passed the laws necessary enabling laws. Lamont just dashed any hopes that TCI will be revived in 2022.

One can’t imagine there’s much enthusiasm for the gas tax in the New Jersey legislature, where the Senate President Pro Tem was just defeated by an unknown truck driver who spent less than $10,000 to beat him. And, the word in Virginia is that soon after he’s sworn in, Governor Youngkin will fully withdraw Virginia from TCI, and another domino falls.

Why should we care in Vermont? We’re one of the states still “at the table” discussing this boondoggle of a gas tax, and fully joining TCI will be a top recommendation of the Vermont Climate Council when they put forward their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions this December. TCI is about the only revenue source the Council has been able to identify to pay for their unbelievably expensive proposals, and now it looks like that well is dry before the first bucket of cash was ever filled.

Perhaps it’s time for our own Governor Scott to take a similar stand and formally withdraw Vermont from TCI negotiations. It is pretty clear the people do not want it.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of U.S. National Guard

9 thoughts on “Roper: Connecticut governor drops TCI

  1. Here is what has happened in recent days in some of the bluest of blue US jurisdictions.

    In 2010, some twelve US northeast states, plus the District of Columbia, agreed to form something called the “Transportation and Climate Initiative.”

    The language of the official document was all about “reducing greenhouse gas emissions”; but in practice this was from the get-go intended as a cap-and-trade scheme, which would use a restricted, and decreasing supply of permits, to gradually FORCE UP the price of transportation fuels (mostly gasoline), and thereby force the people to use less of them.

    The signatories to the initial document included all of the New England and Mid-Atlantic states.

    The Boston Herald has an OpEd yesterday (November 18) summarizing the TCI program and its current status. First, as to the intent of the program and how it would work:

    TCI would have capped carbon emissions by FORCING fuel companies, that exceeded ARTIFICIAL limits, to buy additional permits and invest those proceeds into green transportation and climate-resilient infrastructure. The aim was to reduce vehicle emissions by 26% by 2032.

    Well, gasoline prices are now up about 50% since President Biden took office in January 2021. Perhaps you might think that the TCI states would be unable to contain their excitement, and would be plowing ahead to raise prices still further and force a rapid decrease in consumption.

    However, actually the opposite is occurring. First of all, only a HANDFUL out of the twelve original states, plus DC, had moved forward to actually join the compact:

    Initially, 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, were in talks to enter the agreement, but only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and D.C. , eventually signed a non-binding, memorandum of understanding, MOA, by December 2020.

    And now, with gas prices rapidly increasing, what politician wants to be seen as forcing them up still higher?

    Thus, even the few deep-blue states that had joined TCI are now heading for the exits. The Boston Herald reported Connecticut pulled out of the compact on Tuesday (November 16); and yesterday (November 18) Massachusetts followed:

    “Gov. Charlie Baker has pulled the plug on a regional climate initiative, TCI, that would have capped tailpipe emissions and was projected to increase gasoline prices at a time of record inflation, admitting the multi state-deal is “no longer the best solution.” He backed out of the Transportation and Climate Initiative just days after Connecticut did”

    A Massachusetts group called Mass Fiscal Alliance calls it correctly:

    “TCI is a REGRESSIVE gas tax scheme that would have hurt (the) middle class, and the working poor the most. It is wonderful news to see Massachusetts families will not be forced to endure ADDITIONAL economic hardship, that TCI would have imposed upon them,” said [Mass Fiscal Alliance] spokesperson, Paul Diego Craney.

    Meanwhile, New York is moving ahead with its ignorant, RE-career bureaucrats issuing various edicts “to end fossil fuels a few years out”.

    Voters will soon realize an RE cabal of Dem/Progs were about to take them for a VERY EXPENSIVE RIDE FOR DECADES

  2. Personally proud of Paul Dames leadership and Lets Go Brandon event which was attended by both *for and against* who intermingled as a community. It was the terrorist wing of the VT Democrat Party – Antifa attempt to drown out the voice of freedom.

    Donation to Brandon Food Shelf a classy contribution on behalf of the community – shame on all who think the Food Shelf Nazi acted appropriately. Pretty sure VT GOP can walk and chew gum and happy to be a member. Hoping for better days to come for all with the new conservative Republicans who will be running 2022 and reshaping of the party.

  3. That is great news for Massachusetts people.

    Many other NORTHEAST states NEVER opted in, or have opted out.

    Vermont should follow them to avoid HIGHER AUTHORITIES:

    1) Telling Vermonters what to do regarding how and when to go from A to B

    2) Mandating Vermonters to pay much more for gasoline, so various hare-brained transportation schemes can be financed.

  4. The Democrats and Progressives have messed fired on TCI, bread and butter issues and just about everything. This is an opportunity for new Vermont GOP Chairman Paul Dame to put the “Lets go Brandon” slogan aside and get to work building a 2022 roster of Republican legislative candidates to capitalize on the mess (opportunity) that the Dems and Progs have made.

    The Virginia, New Jersey, Minneapolis and other state election results indicate that the voters…..Republicans, Independents and moderate Democrats have had enough of the non-sensical and divisiveness peddled from the left…….It’s time to build a team of common sense Republicans to capitalize on the coming 2022 opportunity.

  5. Note he wasn’t opposed to it, just didn’t think he could get it through today.

    Ask him next month when gas prices are lower, different answer. Weasels extraordinaire.

  6. December and January will be anxious months for the liberals and socialists in the legislature.
    With just Vermont and DC left in the TCI game and the Vermont Climate Council report due in December, there’ll be a lot of explaining and back-pedaling done by Vermont’s socialist elites.
    The TCI won’t get enough dollars from Vermont to pay the administration costs- rendering it a eunuch
    in the climate tax game. With fuel and gas prices continuing to rise, any legislator that seeks re-election will have to have their best lies and excuses to move forward with climate taxes.
    Scott would be wise to withdraw- and perhaps he will, after he pays his December and January heating bills.

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