House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) and Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), and Republican lawmakers on the Environment Committee today released the following statement raising concerns about the Governor’s bill slated to be voted on this week which will make home heating oil and gasoline more expensive and resembles “TCI on steroids.”
“Two years ago, Republicans defeated the governor’s push for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) which increased taxes on gasoline,” Kelly said. “We rallied. We got out from under the State Capitol’s golden dome and took our message directly to the people. We noted how that proposal would burden middle class families and kill jobs while not delivering clean air for Connecticut. This year’s resurrection of this failed proposal – an even worse version of the original TCI plan – is perplexing and disheartening to anyone who wants to make our state more affordable. This is TCI on steroids.”
“It never ceases to amaze me how little this Governor’s administration thinks of the legislature’s role in policy-making, and how willing majority Democrats are to abdicate their responsibility in matters that affect their constituents’ wallets,” Candelora said. That’s just what this bill does—it gives his activist DEEP commissioner extraordinary power to go-it-alone and install environmental polices without each and every member of the General Assembly being able to weigh in on them. Our constituents deserve better. They send us to Hartford for a reason, and it isn’t to give the keys to the policy shop to an un-elected commissioner.”
“These are fuel taxes in disguise,” Kelly and Candelora added. “The last time the legislature considered this type of legislation, polling showed that 82% of Connecticut residents felt that the additional fees and costs would place an unfair burden on low- and middle-income residents. The burden of environmental policy must not fall on those who are least able to pay. If state government is given this authority, appointed bureaucrats – not elected officials, will be empowered to make decisions about increasing the price of fuel, home heating oil, and natural gas.”
“To add insult to injury, the bill redefines the terms direct and indirect emissions,” added Sen. Stephen Harding (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Pat Callahan (R-New Fairfield), who serve as Ranking Republicans on the Environment Committee. “The bill requires state government to report on the emissions of every resident and business in our state. From restaurants to office buildings, from single- and multi- family homes to apartment buildings, from manufacturers to farms, and even mortuaries, this legislation will adversely impact everyone in no uncertain terms. It represents government run amok. Make no mistake: This bill, if it passes, will hit families right in the wallet.”
“We call on the people of Connecticut to urge lawmakers to reject this misguided proposal,” added Kelly and Candelora. “Connecticut didn’t want this two years ago. Why would Connecticut want more of it today?”
- Allows the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to join in programs that place new taxes on gasoline and other fuels.
- Allows DEEP to enter into the TCI and other fuel tax programs without the legislature’s approval.
- Allows DEEP to implement “market-based compliance mechanisms”, i.e. cap and trade or carbon taxes, without legislative approval.
- Authorizes DEEP to lock Connecticut into emissions programs which are regressive and would disproportionately impact low and middle income working families and seniors on fixed incomes.
- Shifts authority from the legislature to DEEP by allowing DEEP to enter into agreements with other states and the Canadian provinces on emissions programs that will increase the cost of energy.
The Environment Committee meets at 10 AM on Friday, March 24 in Room 2 B of the Legislative Office Building. The meeting can be viewed live here.