A New Tax Without Legislative Approval? [PHIL-OSOPHY]
Knock, knock. Who's there? TCI Gas Tax. TCI Gas Tax who? A new tax for me and you.
I bet you've never heard of the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Thanks to the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and Howie Carr, I found out that this agreement is meant to increase the price of fossil fuels by placing a price on carbon.
The distributors of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and other fossil fuels will be forced to pay a new tax and they'll turn around and charge us the increased prices. And here's where the door slams in our face: the agreement doesn't seem to need legislative approval.
To me, this is taxation without representation. Ironically, we fought the American Revolutionary War over something similar.
According to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen Theoharides, the difference between TCI and a gas tax is the point of regulation. Decoding this into Americanese, you and I will be paying more at the pump to help reduce carbon emissions from vehicles – without legislative approval. Theoharides seemed to think that state officials have the authority under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act to implement this without a legislative vote.
How much more will we be paying? We'll find out in December, along with a cost/benefit analysis.
One of the most interesting remarks came from the House Chairman of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Bill Straus, who implied TCI was 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."
Mr. Straus is exactly right. We are much smarter than that.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.