Posted on April 1, 2021
Hartford – The Environment Committee held a meeting Wednesday morning to act on several bills. According to State Rep. Patrick Callahan (R-New Fairfield), the committee moved forward a costly piece of legislation associated with the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) agreement, S.B. 884 – An Act Reducing Transportation-Related Carbon Emissions. The legislation effectively increases the cost of petroleum through a series of policy changes and mandated caps on Connecticut suppliers, in turn causing prices to rise at the pumps.
“I continue to express my frustration with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle when it comes to burdening Connecticut’s residents with additional financial constraints as the country attempts to climb out of the grips of the pandemic. The legislation passed in committee today shows legislative Democrats are focused on taxing you out of driving your car, making fill-ups progressively much more expensive, and raising costs on most other goods and services in Connecticut,” said Callahan, who cast his vote against the new gas tax.
The legislation will throttle the amount of petroleum Connecticut gas suppliers may purchase and allocate. Consequently, the mandates will increase the cost of gas across the state. Democratic members of the committee argued that the legislation would not result in a tax, but research conducted by the Yankee Institute indicates the new tax will generate as much as 17 extra cents per gallon to fund the various zero-carbon based projects within the TCI agreement.
“We must all be conscious of our environment and take that stewardship with the utmost responsibility. However, forcing residents to pay more for driving gas-powered vehicles is a punitive measure on the working and middle-class. I applaud those who wish to explore hybrid and electric powered vehicles, but those who cannot afford to simply purchase a new vehicle on a whim shouldn’t be forced to subsidize those costs for those who can. The passage of this bill adds hundreds of dollars to household budgets, all of which are clearly stretched thin right now,” said Callahan.
The bill also calls for the funding collected through the TCI agreement to be allocated to municipalities that have been ‘overburdened by air pollution,’ ultimately funneling resources to the state’s larger cities.
The committee pushed the partisan legislation forward by a party line vote of 21-11. It will head to the Senate Floor for consideration before House action is needed. A vote, however, is expected in the House later this session as this is part of Gov. Lamont’s legislative agenda.