Delaware and neighboring states are searching for ways to fight climate change, but recent polling in Delaware casts doubt on residents’ willingness to pay for the battle. In a recently released Gonzales poll, opinions of Delawareans go against the plans of a little-known regional compact, the Transportation Climate Initiative, administered by the Georgetown Climate Center. This compact between 12 northeast and mid-Atlantic states is developing a plan to restrict the sale of gasoline, tax it, and develop new government spending on projects such as bike lanes and electric vehicles. Delaware is a participating state. Other states include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. https://www.transportationandclimate.org/content/about-us)
The initial TCI proposal outlined $4 billion in new taxes, creating the possibility of price increases of anywhere from $.05 to $.17 cents per gallon at the gasoline pump. Support is dwindling as the Governors and key policy leaders begin to understand how the proposal will affect everyday expenses. Even so, TCI and certain Governors and lawmakers are moving forward with the tax, cap and spend program and pushing the tax with the final plan expected later in 2020.
Mike O’Halloran, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Delaware, is concerned that the gas tax money raised by TCI will not be spent on improving the roads and bridges small businesses rely on to conduct commerce. O’Halloran says “rather, that money will be sent to a newly created multi-government run entity and spent on a host of Green New Deal type projects earmarked to encourage ‘affordable, low-carbon transportation options.’ NFIB opposes TCI efforts to increase taxes and burdens on small businesses through a new Tax-and-Spend program that functions as a backdoor gas tax.”
Advocates for the TCI proposal insist that everyday Delawareans will not feel the burden. However, not everyone agrees that consumers will be immune from increased costs. Ellen Valentino of MAPDA notes that “the concept that government-imposed taxes will not increase costs and not be felt by consumers defies all logic.”
This proposal will come as a surprise to Delawareans who are opposed to paying more at the pump for gasoline. The people of Delaware deserve to know the truth about hidden costs underlying the calls to fight climate change.