Providence, RI – Last night, the Rhode Island General Assembly session came to a close without a vote by the House of Representatives on the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) already passed by the RI State Senate. This puts a hold on the TCI gas tax increase for the time being. The TCI was planned to be a regional cap-and-trade gas tax adding an additional cost to consumers across the northeast. With Rhode Island taking no action last night, the state joins a long list of states who have chosen not to go forward with the tax at least for now.
Polling showed initial conceptual support for the TCI drops significantly when voters learn the policy will result in gas tax hikes, a significant projected loss of jobs, and a major reduction in the average family’s disposable income.
“Ocean State House leaders apparently understand that as our state struggles to recover, economically, from the pandemic … now is not the time to impose new taxes at the pump. It would be cruel for lawmakers to impose this fuel tax, which will especially harm rural and low-income residents, just so the elite can receive a subsidy for their expensive electric vehicles,” stated Mike Stenhouse, the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity.
In March, the Center unilaterally called on McKee to withdraw from TCI. In May, an open letter was sent to the Governor by the Center, listing 12 coalition signatories and a range of reasons not to join the TCI compact. The conservative advocacy organization is encouraging motorists to take action to tell lawmakers to say no to the the TCI Gas Tax.
Stenhouse continued, “Motorists must remain vigilant and demand that the House not follow the Senate’s lead, by considering this destructive legislation in the upcoming special fall session of the General Assembly.”
The Center notes that this gas tax is highly regressive and predicts that it will have a larger impact on the budgets of lower income families in the Ocean State. The projected $1200 per family cost, according to research and a poll conducted by the Center, are highly unpopular among the public. A petition opposing TCI has already generated about 15,000 emails to state lawmakers.
The State of Connecticut said “no” to the TCI Gas Tax, killing the regional gas tax idea in the Nutmeg State. With the Rhode Island General Assembly also saying no for now, Massachusetts is the only state among the original 14 states still considering the gas tax increase.
General Assembly leaders are now considering a special session later this year, if the TCI will once again be considered by Rhode Island politicians remains to be seen.