The Transportation Climate Initiative is like a pretty girl who suddenly can’t get a date. Or a pretty boy, or boy-girl, or girl boy, genderless penguin, Trans-Whale Horseshoe crab, or whatever. Sold as the darling of the ball TCI finds itself facing rejected yet again.
Before we get to that, New Hampshire’s Democrat Legislature will push a bill to the Governor’s desk allowing it (it is illegal for the Granite State to join at present) which I hope he will veto and Republicans will sustain. But he was an early not-adopter.
Since then Gov. Scott to our left in Vermont has announced he’s not a fan. Nor is the Democrat governor of Maine. Piling ever-higher fuel prices on residents may not sell well in largely rural areas but even Connecticut is being very cautious.
And now Virginia, which has more far-left Democrats in office than you can shake a carbon tax collector at is putting on the brakes.
During recent legislative hearings, Virginia Delegate Charles Poindexter got two members of Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D-Va.) cabinet on record promising that the General Assembly will decide whether the state joins TCI, but likely not until 2021, according to reports by The Bacon’s Rebellion. Poindexter and Northam did not respond to requests for comment.
That’s not a no, but the “Final Memorandum of Understanding” is due to be signed this spring. With 12 states in tow, the kitty might be worth tapping. The dream of pretending this will actually reduce emissions becomes more the nightmare for those that take on taxes that residents can avoid by driving across a nearby border.
With two out and others less than thrilled, this coalition might only have seven apostles and no Jesus. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker appears prepared to be crucified by TCI but that is not the same thing.
Virginia is currently the southernmost state to consider TCI and as they put on the brakes, the pool of remaining states continues to shrink,” Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance spokesman Paul Craney said.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu doubled down on his opposition in his State of the State Address Thursday, once again denouncing the initiative as a financial boondoggle.
New Hampshire has much to gain by staying out whether Massachusetts gets in or not but more to gain if the Bay State takes the TCI dive. We already benefit from cross-border commerce thanks to no sales tax, vaping products (still banned in Massachusetts) and cheaper cigarettes and beer. We attract job creators with an improving tax climate and no arbitrary payroll pressure created by job-killing minimum wages. If Mass raises gas prices those features will only become more appealing.
We’re all in favor of that, though it’s not clear how Virginia’s pause will play on Beacon Hill.
“Virginia made it clear that any commitment to TCI would be by way of the legislature,” Lombardo said. “It’s my hope that before Massachusetts embarks on the disaster of joining TCI, we would follow the lead of Virginia and ensure the legislature will have its voices heard on the matter.”
Bakes can pull the trigger from his corner office but will he? New Hampshire will need to wait before it can count on another windfall thanks to Massachusetts’ political priorities.