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Tell Your Legislators to Demand a Vote on the New TCI Tax
Massachusetts is one of 11 states considering entering into a new cap-and-trade system for vehicle emissions known as the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI). The plan is to tax transportation fuel companies for the carbon emissions associated with the gas and diesel they sell. This will then be passed along to the consumer as an increase in gas prices. This is a backdoor attempt to increase the gas tax and add a price on carbon, like a carbon tax. The only other state to do something similar is California, where gas costs as much as $4.20 a gallon, while the average cost for the rest of the country is at $2.73.
On December 17th, TCI administrators released some initial price estimates for their plan. They gave three scenarios where CO2 emissions would decrease by 20%, 22% or 25% from 2022 through 2032. The estimated INITIAL starting tax (it will keep going up) correlating to these reductions are 5 cents, 9 cents and 17 cents respectively. What they gloss over is that even if we don't implement this new TCI plan, emissions are set to go down by 19% over the sme time period anyway with current policies in place. Further, when these numbers are run through nationally used models, the effect on the climate is too small to even measure. Governor Charlie Baker’s administration currently believes they can sign onto this agreement and impose this tax without approval from the legislature due to a bill passed over a decade ago—on a voice vote— called the Global Warming Solutions Act
Other states remain skeptical and have even signaled that they won't end up joining. Others plan to seek legislative approval before joining and we think Massachusetts should act in good faith and at least vote on any type of TCI gas tax. A lot has changed in a decade and this tax will put us at a major disadvantage compared to the rest of the country.
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