On November 19, Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts will withdraw from the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). In 2018, Massachusetts joined a coalition of northeast states aiming to reduce transportation carbon emissions through a “cap and invest” policy called the Transportation and Climate Initiative. NFIB immediately opposed TCI noting it would include hidden charges for fuel distributors that would be passed along to consumers at the gas pumps. It also meant higher fuel prices for small businesses, workers, and all residents of the affected region.
When the proponents began firming up their plans and explained how TCI would work, they projected it may cost motorists upwards of 17 cents per gallon in TCI-related taxes. Additional reports projected it could cost as much as 38 cents per gallon. At this point New Hampshire immediately opted out of TCI. NFIB joined a coalition to help raise awareness of the price tag of this flawed policy and what it meant for the cost of goods and services in the 12-state region. As more information on TCI became available, states’ support for TCI began wavering including Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
It became clear that this policy was less about the environment and more about revenue for states. Public data revealed without TCI, new cleaner vehicles would naturally drop transportation emissions by almost as much as with TCI and its punitive taxes in place. Meaning proponents were making more of a cash grab for state coffers rather than effective policy to better air quality, which was going to happen organically through lower emission vehicles all without TCI’s taxes passed to Massachusetts motorists.
NFIB would like to thank all of our small business owner members that contacted their elected officials raising concerns with TCI. Your advocacy helped defeat this costly tax scheme and created awareness about how it would impact Massachusetts job creators.