Get used to us talking about the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).
TCI is an agreement with several northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. This is part of a larger effort by the left to increase the price of fossil fuels by putting a price on carbon—aka a Carbon Tax. Governor Baker signed Massachusetts up for this initiative last year and they have since been meeting to develop the framework of how they want to implement this initiative. Until recently, how they want to reduce carbon emissions has been a mystery.
They claim the proposal would put a price on the carbon content of motor gasoline and diesel that fuel distributors would have to pay. This excludes jet and boat fuel. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen Theoharides, claims the difference between TCI and a gas tax is the point of regulation. What this translates to is that consumers will be paying more at the pump. The plan doesn’t yet specify how much the increase will be—that will be disclosed in December, along with their cost/benefit analysis.
The TCI group is already touting one of the health benefits to this gas tax, which is more people will have to walk and bike as a means for transportation. Let’s hope we don’t have a cold winter.
Also concerning is that Secretary Theoharides said she doesn’t believe she needs legislative approval to move forward. The Boston Globe stated, “…state officials said they likely have authority under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act to implement the agreement without such a vote.” Raising the gas tax without having to take a vote has long been a goal of the left on Beacon Hill; their attempt to institute automatic gas tax increases in 2014 demonstrated that clearly.
Rep. William Straus, the House chairman of the Transportation Committee, recently described TCI as a gas tax. He said, “All states raise their gas tax the same amount at the same time and agree not to call it a gas tax, but I think the public is smarter than that.”
Make no mistake: this is a very slippery slope for Massachusetts. The left ultimately wants a carbon tax and this is another step closer.
Secretary Theoharides does not have the authority to unilaterally increase taxes. Other states in the TCI agreement are seeking legislative approval. This administration, whether legally required or not, should seek legislative approval. There must be an open and transparent legislative process on the details of the agreement.