NFIB Launches Campaign to Educate Virginia Small Businesses on New Gas Tax

Date: January 30, 2020

Group concerned about impact a transportation carbon tax would have on small businesses

RICHMOND Jan. 29, 2020 –  NFIB, the leading small business association in Virginia with thousands of members across the Commonwealth, will launch a new campaign this week to inform Virginia small businesses about the state’s participation in a proposed cap and trade proposal that would significantly increase gas prices, creating a hidden gas tax. Virginia is one of 12 states to initially participate in the regional collaboration to reduce carbon emissions from cars and trucks called the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), which willingly admits its program is expected to increase the price of gas by as much as 17 cents per gallon. A final commitment by the participating states will be expected later this year.

“Drivers of SUVs or work trucks could pay about five bucks more for every fill-up, and the average driver would pay about two dollars more to fill a 12-gallon tank—hurting every commuter each time they pull in to a gas station, especially small businesses that deliver goods or drive to worksites,” said Nicole Riley, state director of NFIB in Virginia. “What’s worse, carbon from transportation sources is expected to go down 19% anyway over the next decade without TCI as vehicles become more efficient, and it’s organizers admit the program would only lower emissions by an additional 1 to 6 percent–at a massive cost to the driving public.”

To inform drivers, small businesses and their employees in Virginia, NFIB is conducting an online advertising campaign that asks, “Do you oppose a 17 cent per gallon gas tax increase?” prompting people to click to learn more about TCI. NFIB is visiting its small business members to educate the owners on this hidden gas tax, and encouraging them to speak out against TCI if they oppose it.

The regional program would charge fuel distributors “allowances”, or essentially fees, based on the carbon content of their product. It is widely accepted, even by the crafters of TCI, that those fees would then be passed down to drivers in the form of higher gas prices.

The other states that initially agreed to participate in TCI also include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. More recently, Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said his state would drop out after hearing the TCI’s projection for large gas price increases, calling TCI a “financial boondoggle.”

TCI is gathering comments on its initial framework released in December, and it will provide a final plan in the next few months. By the end of 2020, participating states will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding before the program is implemented.

“We want people who live in the Commonwealth to tell Governor Northam and their elected lawmakers to reject TCI because it will be painful for those trying to make a living or run a small business, and make very little difference in reducing pollution,” added Riley. “Call or email policymakers in Richmond now and tell them this is a costly and flawed policy, and Virginians don’t want that big hit on their wallets.”

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