If TCI burns to the ground, our Legislature is going to feel pressure to “do something” they can spin as a positive step to solve climate change. And that “something” is likely to be the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Tens of millions of dollars are and will continue to be extracted from Vermonters in the name of climate change. Regarding how the dollars are spent, Vermonters will have no say. This is a bad precedent and only getting worse.
If New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island don’t participate in the TCI program, that would leave Massachusetts — whose governor, Charlie Baker, is probably TCI’s biggest booster — completely isolated.
The real beneficiaries of this scheme to tax Vermonters for their fuel use are the rich and powerful. State government, with an annual budget totaling over 1.5 billion and a workforce of over 8,000, will grow bigger, administering complex regulations proposed by the initiative.
Any revenue raised through taxes or licenses that raise the costs of fossil fuels should be used in two ways. One is that some other tax should be reduced to offset the revenue. A second is that the additional revenue should be re-distributed to working Vermonters and small Vermont businesses.
Even a casual look at the regional plan to make Vermont drivers pay 5-20 cents per gallon more at the pump for gasoline and diesel would tell you TCI really should stand for “tax carbon incessantly.” This session, most Vermonters would be happy if TCI stood for “tax cut instead.”
Proponents of TCI have been traveling the state in advance of the legislative session to peddle the notion that TCI is not a tax because the money raised will be “invested” in government programs, with the full expectation that we dumb citizens will actually buy it.
A key watchword in 2020 will be “incentivizing.” Taxpayers must snap into alertness whenever they hear this shifty expression, because it masks true intent. In Orwellian fashion, the word generally is presented as a positive, when in fact it is always a negative.
TCI is a multistate regional agreement to drive up the price of motor fuel. It proposes to start at 5, 9 or 17 cents per gallon, and escalate upward from that, with no declared maximum.
Advocates for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) will argue that the pain they intend to inflict on Vermonters via a 17 cents per gallon carbon tax on gasoline and diesel is necessary to combat climate change.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s announcement that New Hampshire will not join the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a promising sign for Vermonters.