In Face of Surging Gas Prices Under Biden, DeSantis Proposes Tax Pause

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021, 12:23 PM PERMALINK

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed pausing the state's gas tax to give weary Florida families a break as they are pummeled by high fuel prices due to inflation and restrictive regulations imposed by the Biden administration. 

The Governor announced the push to pause the gas tax, urging state legislators to step in, during visits to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville:

It is no wonder Gov. DeSantis is looking for relief, gas prices have hit their highest level since Thanksgiving 2012.

Floridians pay the 11th-highest gas tax burden in the nation, pausing the state's tax would reduce the total that people pay at the pump by 26.5 cents.

President Biden has done his part driving up energy costs by submarining the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in Congress are looking to add to the damage with their reconciliation bill, which includes an $8 billion home heating tax.

The Florida state legislative session starts on January 11, 2022.

Photo Credit: Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

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Norquist Warns Against Democrats’ Socialist Tax-and-Spend Package

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021, 5:20 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist appeared today on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria to discuss the Democrats' socialist tax-and-spend plan, legislation they’ve named, “Build Back Better.” Norquist warned the bill will lead to higher taxes, reduced American global competitiveness, and tax carveouts for Democrats’ special interests.  

Norquist explained that the bill would give the US the highest top personal income tax rate in the OECD, the 3rd highest capital gains rate in the OECD, and create numerous tax carveouts for left wing special interests: 

“Well, it’s not good news and it could get worse. Remember, the Senate gets to play with this… The ideas that we worried about, like spying on your bank account, didn’t pass the House, but Biden still wants to do it and the Democratic Senators still want to do it. So, keep in mind, the list of horribles from the House: highest personal tax rate in the developed world, capital gains tax going up to 37 percent (the highest since Jimmy Carter), and then a series of targeted tax cuts – subsidies – that are political payoffs. Billions for trial lawyers to sue people… billions to the press… a tax cut for the rich people in blue states [through a SALT expansion].” 

Norquist also noted that the bill’s tax hikes on corporations will be primarily felt by middle-class workers and consumers:  

“One trillion dollars in “business taxes,” or corporate income taxes – that’s just a disguise tax on wages and higher prices. 70 percent of the corporate income tax is paid by workers directly in lower wages. We saw the opposite of that when Trump and the Republicans cut the corporate income tax and wages went up. Raise the corporate income tax, wages go down again. Politicians love the corporate income tax because it’s a way of hiding that they’re taxing the middle class.” 

Norquist also explained that this bill is part of the Biden administration's larger goal to impose a global minimum tax on corporations across the world: 

“The Democrats look at what’s happening to California and New York because people can choose to move to Texas and Tennessee and Florida. They realize that if they have the high taxes they want on Americans they have to protect against companies starting up in other countries, which is what’s going to happen – they’re going to drive investment overseas and they think with this corporate minimum tax that they can reduce that. Do you really believe that China will impose that tax on their businesses? Or Russia? It does give the Russians and the Europeans a veto over our tax cuts.” 

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Every House Democrat Endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce Voted for the Reconciliation Bill

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Posted by Jack Fencl on Monday, November 22nd, 2021, 11:45 AM PERMALINK

All 15 House Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during the 2020 election voted in support of President Biden's multi-trillion dollar tax and spend bill, despite the Chamber publicly opposing the legislation. 

The Democrat reconciliation package passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday with a 220 to 213 vote, with only one House Democrat joining Republicans in opposition.  Of the 23 House Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber during the 2020 election cycle, 15 won re-election. All 15 of these Democrats voted to pass the "Build Back Better Act". 

Prior to the vote, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – the world’s largest pro-business trade association – issued a "key vote letter" warning that "no member of Congress can achieve the support of the business community if they vote to pass this bill as currently constructed."

The Chamber also launched a paid advertising campaign opposing the bill just one day prior to House passage of the reconciliation package, targeting 9 Democrat House Members - 6 of which the Chamber endorsed during the 2020 election cycle. Despite this opposition, the Chamber was unable to convince a single Democrat backed by the organization during the 2020 election to oppose the bill.

The U.S. Chamber’s endorsement of 23 House Democrats was a notable increase compared to prior years. During the 2018 cycle, the Chamber reportedly endorsed only 7 House Democrats. According to the U.S. Chamber’s own assessment of its impact on the 2020 House elections, the “U.S. Chamber endorsements are known to have a big impact and that rang true in 2020.”

Below are the House Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who voted in favor of the reconciliation package and the percentage of the vote they received as candidates during the 2020 election:

Rep. Colin Allred (Texas-32), won re-election with 51.9% of the vote.

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (Texas-07), won re-election with 50.8% of the vote.

Rep. Haley Stevens (Michigan-11), won re-election with 50.2% of the vote.

Rep. Josh Harder (California-10), won re-election with 55.2% of the vote.

Rep. Cindy Axne (Iowa-03), won re-election with 49.7% of the vote.

Rep. Susie Lee (Nevada-03), won re-election with 48.8% of the vote.

Rep. Angie Craig (Minnesota-02), won re-election with 48.2% of the vote.

Rep. Andy Kim (New Jersey-03), won re-election with 53.2% of the vote.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Virginia-07), won re-election with 50.9% of the vote.

Rep. Sharice David (Kansas-03), won re-election with 53.6% of the vote.

Rep. Antonio Delgado (New York-19), won re-election with 54.2% of the vote.

Rep. Elaine Luria (Virginia-02), won re-election with 51.5% of the vote.

Rep. Dean Phillips (Minnesota-03), won re-election with 55.6% of the vote.

Rep. Greg Stanton (Arizona-09), won re-election with 61.6% of the vote.

Rep. David Trone (Maryland-06), won re-election with 58.9% of the vote.

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ATR Op-Ed in Townhall: How Stablecoins Can Help the Underbanked

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Posted by ATR on Monday, November 22nd, 2021, 10:31 AM PERMALINK

In an op-ed published in Townhall yesterday, ATR Federal Affairs Manager Bryan Bashur outlined how stablecoins (digital tokens backed by reserve assets such as the U.S. dollar or short-term debt) can provide financial services to Americans who have previously lacked easy access to capital.

Lower-income individuals, minorities, and rural communities are the most likely to benefit from access to digital assets. As Bashur explains:

According to a Morning Consult poll, 37 percent of the underbanked population own cryptocurrency compared to only 10 percent of individuals who are fully banked.

Most importantly, the unbanked or underbanked individuals in the United States tend to be minorities. Black and Hispanic households are about five times as likely to be unbanked as white households. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in 2019 “unbanked rates were higher among lower-income households, less-educated households, Black households, Hispanic households, American Indian or Alaska Native” households.

Rural communities are also more likely to lack access to financial services. The FDIC reported that “64.6 percent of rural households used bank credit, compared with 69.2 percent of urban households and 77.3 percent of suburban households.”

Finally, low-income households are also disconnected from banking. The FDIC found that “only 37.0 percent of households with less than $15,000 in income used bank credit, compared with 89.9 percent of households with income of $75,000 or more.”

Unfortunately, the Biden administration opposes the development of stablecoins and the innovative financial services that they can offer. Bashur points out that:

This month, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published a report on stablecoins that asked Congress to pass legislation that would only allow federally insured depository institutions to issue stablecoins. The report also says that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have broad authority to regulate stablecoins.

Biden’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has been particularly opposed to stablecoin development and promotion. Bashur states that:

Following the publication of the Biden administration’s report on stablecoins, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, recently said that stablecoin development is “not what you want” and that the outcomes of innovation are “not going to be good.”

Fortunately, some groups have the right idea when it comes to protecting investors while also encouraging the usage of stablecoins. The Cato Institute has written a detailed framework that avoids burdensome regulations but requires adequate disclosures so that bad actors will not take advantage of investors. Bashur explains that:

The framework would amend current statute so that issuers of digital tokens are regulated as “limited purpose investment companies” and have certain collateral requirements they must meet. The proposal would also require the issuers to disclose “a detailed explanation of its reserve holdings” including the value of the assets and the percentage of each asset. For example, how much of the stablecoin is backed by the U.S. dollar versus short-term debt.

Bashur concludes by stating that any new regulatory framework should promote stablecoin innovation, expand access to financial services for the underbanked, and provide safeguards for crypto investors.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

Photo Credit: "Tether USDT" by The Focal Project is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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Dem Bill Spends 23x More on IRS Enforcement than Taxpayer Services

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Monday, November 22nd, 2021, 9:50 AM PERMALINK

Funding for audits, investigations, and other tax enforcement would be 23 times greater than funding for taxpayer education and assistance under Democrats’ just-passed tax and spend bill.

The bill will fund 1.2 million more annual IRS audits; about half will hit households making less than $75k.

Out of nearly $80 billion in new IRS funding, $44.9 billion, more than half, will go directly towards enforcement. The agency will receive a comparatively meager $1.93 billion in funding for taxpayer services, which include things like pre-filing assistance and education, filing and account services, and taxpayer advocacy services.

Clearly, the goal of this funding is to empower the IRS to audit and harass millions of American families, self-employed people, and small businesses including cash heavy businesses like nail-salons, barbershops, and food trucks. It would add a whopping 87,000 new IRS agents – enough to fill Nationals Park twice. That is a greater quantity of agents than all the personnel on all 11 U.S. aircraft carriers.

Any new IRS funding should be alarming given the IRS has a history of incompetence and corruption. In fact, most recently, the progressive group ProPublica announced it had the tax returns of thousands of taxpayers stretching back 15 years. This sensitive taxpayer data was either obtained through an unauthorized leak by an IRS employee or through a data breach – either way the IRS failed to safeguard taxpayer information.

More IRS Funding Will Lead to More Audits of the Middle Class and Small Businesses

Legions of new IRS agents will be unleashed for invasive and time-consuming audits of middle class Americans and small businesses. The IRS previously announced a goal to increase small business audits by 50%.

As previously reported by CNBC, experts say a fattened-up IRS would go after small businesses that necessarily depend on cash transactions:

Certain small businesses may face an audit under the plan. “I think the industries that should be concerned are those in cash,” said Luis Strohmeier, a Miami-based CFP and partner at Octavia Wealth Advisors.

[He expects the agency to scrutinize cash-only small businesses like restaurants, retail, salons and other service-based companies.]

The wealthy and large corporations already have armies of lawyers and accountants that ensure they legally take advantage of the plethora of credits and deductions offered by the tax code.

Further, the IRS already audits the largest corporations at high rates. It doesn’t matter how much more the agency receives in funding – they will not find violations in the law that do not exist. 

After the agency comes to this obvious conclusion, they will still be pressured to go find the $400 billion this funding is supposed to create. They will go after easier targets to find this money instead: businesses and individuals without legal teams and accountants.   

New IRS enforcement will fall on American families and small businesses, not the “rich.” 

Additional Funding Will Empower the IRS to Harass and Abuse Taxpayers

The IRS has been notorious for using its power to harass and abuse taxpayers.

The last time the Democrats were in power, the IRS wrongly used its authority to target and harass taxpayers, especially conservative non-profits. Most notably, the Obama IRS was caught unfairly denying conservative groups non-profit status ahead of the 2012 election. Lois Lerner’s political beliefs led to tea party and conservative groups receiving disparate and unfair treatment when applying for non-profit status, according to a detailed report compiled by the Senate Finance Committee. Because of Lerner’s bias, only one conservative organization was granted tax exempt status over a period of more than three years.

Additionally, TIGTA has repeatedly documented the IRS violating taxpayer rights. In one 2017 example, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) regularly violated taxpayers’ rights and skirted or ignored due process requirements when investigating taxpayers for allegedly violating the existing $10,000 currency transaction reporting requirements.  

In these reporting requirement cases, almost none found actual fraud, the IRS seized financial assets before ever having talked or consulted with the investigated taxpayers, the IRS didn’t attempt to verify reasonable explanations investigated taxpayers offered, taxpayers were not informed of important information nor the purpose of the interview, and IRS-CI agents most often didn’t properly identify themselves. These were all offenses considered flat out violations of taxpayer rights afforded in the Internal Revenue Manuals.

Most voters are aware of this abuse, and subsequently believe that the IRS is already too powerful. A June 19 - 22 Fox News National Survey of 1,001 registered voters asked if the IRS has "too much power." 65 percent said yes, 31 percent said no. The same question asked in June 2019 produced a result of 60 percent yes, 34 percent no.

Because of this radical increase in funding coupled with no reforms, the agency will continue with its culture of abuse except now with more resources.

IRS Funding is Yet Another Way to Funnel Taxpayer Money into Democrats’ Campaigns.  

New IRS funding will be a boon for the union that represents IRS employees. This union overwhelmingly supports Democrat candidates so new IRS funding will also shovel more money into Democrat campaign coffers:   

  • The left-wing National Treasury Employees Union represents 150,000 taxpayer-funded federal employees across 31 departments and agencies. The NTEU is famous for aggressive use of lawsuits in order to advance Democrat union priorities.   
     
  • NTEU collects dues from roughly 70,000 IRS employees, nearly half of NTEU’s total membership.  
     
  • NTEU shovels 97 percent of their money into Democrat campaign coffers. In the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, NTEU’s political action committee raised $838,288. Out of $609,000 in spending on federal candidates, an overwhelming 97.04 percent went to Democrats.   
     
  • IRS employees regularly perform Democrat union work on the taxpayer dime. In fiscal year 2013, IRS employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activity, costing taxpayers $23.5 million in salary and benefits. To add insult to injury, the IRS had at least 40 out of 201 workers solely devoted to union activities that made $100,000. In 2019, 1,421 IRS and other Treasury Department employees spent 353,820 hours of taxpayer-funded union time (TFUT), costing $19.77 million in salary and use of government property.
     

New IRS Funding Would Reward Incompetence and Irresponsibility.  

The IRS has proven time and time again it cannot spend responsibly and complete the most basic of tasks. The agency needs reform, not more money and more power.   

Several audit reports have demonstrated how the agency’s inability to do its job is due to incompetence, not lack of funding:  

  • A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report on the 2021 Filing Season found that almost 40 percent of printers were not working at tax processing centers in Ogden, Utah and Kansas City, Missouri. However, in many cases the only thing wrong with the printers is that no employee had replaced the ink or emptied the waste cartridge container: “IRS employees stated that the only reason they could not use many of these devices is because they are out of ink or because the waste cartridge container is full.”  
     
  • This year, despite having funding for new hires, the IRS only achieved 37 percent of their hiring goal. They had trouble onboarding new hires as well, as it was “difficult to find working copiers (as noted previously) to be able to prepare training packages.”  
     
  • In 2016, the IRS has lost track of laptops containing sensitive taxpayer data. TIGTA estimates that the IRS had failed to properly document the return of 84.2 percent, or more than 1,000 computers due to be returned by contract employees.   
     
  • A TIGTA report in 2017 showed that the IRS rehired more than 200 employees who were previously employed by the agency, but fired for previous conduct or performance issues.
     
  • Each year the IRS hangs up on millions of callers -- a practice they refer to as “Courtesy Disconnects.” Currently, if you call the IRS, you have a 1-in-50 chance of reaching a human being.   
     
  • According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2014 Annual Report to Congress the IRS was unable to justify spending decisions. As the report stated: "The IRS lacks a principled basis for making the difficult resource allocation decisions necessitated by today’s tight budget environment.”   
     
  • The agency has repeatedly failed to compile legally required tax complexity reports. These reports are supposed to contain the IRS's specific recommendations on how to make the tax code easier to comply with. Since 1998, the IRS has done so just twice – in 2000 and 2002.   
     
  • In 2015, the IRS was spending $1,000 an hour hiring a litigation-only white shoe law firm for an investigation, despite having over 40,000 employees dedicated to enforcement efforts.    
     
  • In 2015, the agency has been caught red-handed wasting taxpayer dollars on Nerf footballs, the world’s largest crossword puzzle, extravagant $100 dollar lunches, and more.

 

As Norquist wrote in one op-ed, “The IRS should not be rewarded for failing to reform, failing to obey the law, failing to fire those who break the law, and spending tax dollars to act as the enforcer for a partisan political machine.”

Despite claims that additional IRS funding is needed to solve problems with taxpayer services, like taxpayers being incapable of getting an IRS employee on the phone, of navigating through paperwork, of paying taxes, etc., virtually none of the funding in this plan would go towards these initiatives.

Democrats seek to supersize the IRS for the sole purpose of unleashing the agency on the American people via audits and investigations. Inevitably, low-income Americans, middle-income Americans, and small businesses will be the primary targets.

Photo Credit: Photo from IRS-CI Annual Report 2020

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VIDEO: Social Spending Bill is Not “Zero Dollars”

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 19th, 2021, 4:22 PM PERMALINK


PA Lawmakers Seek Constitutional Amendment to Limit State Spending

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Posted by Dennis Hull on Friday, November 19th, 2021, 3:46 PM PERMALINK

It’s not rocket science: spending drives calls for tax hikes, and the ability to hike taxes fuels more spending.

That’s why Pennsylvania state lawmakers Ryan Warner and Camera Bartolotta reintroduced the Taxpayer Protection Act, a proposed constitutional amendment to rein in government spending.

HB 71 and SB 286 would limit overall spending increases to the inflation rate, plus population growth. A supermajority of 2/3 could override the limit.

By focusing on the spending side of the ledger, the Taxpayer Protection Act would offer needed relief for Pennsylvanians by limiting government’s demand for their tax dollars. 

This pro-taxpayer measure is especially necessary for Pennsylvania. Government spending in Pennsylvania has risen dramatically over the past 50 years. Between 1970 and 2020, state spending more than tripled. But the state’s population only grew 8.3% over the same period.

The Keystone State has even seen its population shrink in recent years, leading Pennsylvania to lose a congressional seat after the 2020 Census. The state and local tax burden costs residents $5,970 per year. While that is more competitive than some of Pennsylvania’s eastern neighbors, taxes are still driving people away.

This trend of leaving the state is especially prevalent amongst people aged 20-35. The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office reported that 47,000 people in this age bracket with at least an associate’s degree left the state in 2015.  

Spending restraint is also broadly popular: 73% of Republicans and 65% of independents support limits on government spending, according to Susquehanna Polling & Research. A majority of Democrats also supports the measure.

While spending and deficits have risen over the last several years under Democrat Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania was making good progress on reducing spending. From 2012 to 2017 Pennsylvania’s spending declined relative to state GDP, dropping nearly 20% – by that metric, fifth most in the nation. Republican legislators having control of the state purse strings during that period is largely why.

But lawmakers in Harrisburg are already planning to use $7 billion in surplus revenue to create more programs and new spending. Passing the Taxpayer Protection Act now would go a long way to rekindling recent progress on spending restraint, limiting the ability of future legislatures to waste the public’s money.

Now is the perfect time to pass the Taxpayer Protection Act and restrict their out-of-control spending for good.

 

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Created: 28 July 2019

Location: 40° 15′ 49.13″ N, 76° 52′ 50.57″ W

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ATR Op-Ed in RealClearMarkets: Emphasis On ESG Investing Will Compromise Future Retirements

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Posted by ATR on Friday, November 19th, 2021, 1:41 PM PERMALINK

In an op-ed published in RealClearMarkets today, ATR Federal Affairs Manager Bryan Bashur highlighted the Biden administration’s misguided initiative to weaponize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing strategies.

Biden’s support for ESG will kill energy jobs and put Americans’ retirement savings at risk. As Bashur points out:

Within his first week in office, President Biden issued an executive order on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” Among the provisions in the EO, one directive mandates the Export-Import Bank, the U.S. International Development and Finance Corporation, the State Department, Treasury Department, and Energy Department to develop a plan to “[promote] the flow of capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments.” 

In May, Biden issued another order on “Climate-Related Financial Risk.” The EO aims to redistribute capital away from oil and gas companies that employ hundreds of thousands of Americans to subsidize special interest groups backed by the top 1 percent. 

Diversion of capital to ESG investment products is more expensive and produces lower returns than non-ESG counterparts. As Bashur explains:

Greater capital flow to ESG funds is beneficial for institutional investors because they offer high fees. As the Wall Street Journal aptly pointed out, exchange-traded funds that invest in ESG products have 43 percent higher fees than other ETFs. 

At the same time, returns on ESG-driven investment strategies risk being lower than is the case with their more traditionally run counterparts. According to Pacific Research Institute research, $10,000 invested in an ESG fund would be around 44 percent lower than an investment in a fund that tracks the S&P 500 for ten years

In fact, some industry experts such as Tariq Fancy, a former chief investment officer for sustainable investing at BlackRock, believe that “the ESG industry today consists of products that have higher fees but little or no impact and narratives that mislead the public.”

The Trump administration understood that political virtue signaling does not belong in investment decision-making and issued rulemakings to combat it. Unfortunately, the Biden administration is unravelling their good work. Bashur states that:

Biden’s Department of Labor decided to reverse course and prioritize woke investing strategies over maximizing returns for retirement accounts. Biden is effectively allowing pension plan managers to redefine their fiduciary duty to the plan beneficiaries, in the name of ESG and other forms of socially responsible investing, a move that may well mean that could hit the amount in a beneficiary’s pension pot when the time comes to retire.  

Fortunately, some politicians understand the issues with politically charged investing strategies. The Texas legislature, for example, passed a bill to ensure retirement accounts continue to maximize returns. Bashur underscores that:

Under the new Texas law, retirement funds will not be subjected to using taxpayer dollars to pay high fees for ESG products more focused on political initiatives than creating real economic value for employees. 

Bashur concludes by stating that Biden should be more focused on ensuring that Americans can maximize the amount of money in their retirement savings and not cater to special interest groups and Wall Street banks.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

Photo Credit: "West Texas Pumpjack" by Jonathan Cutrer is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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TCI Gas Tax Dead as Gov. Charlie Baker Pulls Support

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Posted by Dennis Hull on Friday, November 19th, 2021, 12:56 PM PERMALINK

Support for a regional gas tax among Northeastern governors has finally evaporated in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday withdrew his support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which would have raised the price of a gallon of gas by up to 38 cents. Baker had long touted TCI as a way to reduce emissions from cars and trucks, but now says the agreement is “no longer the best solution for the Commonwealth’s transportation and environmental needs.” 

Twelve states signed on to TCI when it was first proposed last December. But with Massachusetts’ exit from the compact, only Washington, D.C. and Gov. Dan McKee of Rhode Island remain interested, leaving the climate agreement dead in the water for the foreseeable future. 

The demise of TCI is good news for drivers in New England, who have already been hammered with soaring energy costs and high inflation on essential goods and services. 

The now-unsuccessful climate initiative would have imposed stringent requirements on fuel producers to purchase a dwindling number of allowances for carbon emissions, essentially forcing a 26% reduction in emissions by 2032. Taxpayers would have footed a 3 billion dollar bill for this radical energy wishlist. 

In Massachusetts alone, the cost of a gallon of gasoline would have risen by anywhere from 17 to 38 cents per gallon, while simultaneously driving a massive fuel shortage. As a result, more than 80,000 vehicles would have been without fuel in 2025, just two years after the program was scheduled to begin – leaving low-income drivers with few alternatives. 

“TCI is a regressive gas tax scheme that would have hurt the middle class and the working poor the most,” said Paul Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “It’s such wonderful news to see that Massachusetts families will not be forced to endure the economic hardship TCI would have imposed upon them.” 

Baker’s decision came just hours after Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut reversed his own course on TCI, saying he would not promote legislation to join the agreement during next year’s session. For nearly a year, Lamont had made little progress in convincing the legislature to sign up for the new gas tax, despite significant Democratic majorities in both chambers. 

“Look, I couldn’t get [TCI] through when gas prices were at historic lows. So, I think the legislature has been pretty clear – it is a tough rock to push when gas prices are so high,” Lamont said on Tuesday. 

Sen. Martin Looney – the influential Senate President who has railed against the climate agreement as a regressive tax on the poor – pointed out that the Connecticut legislature would never pass TCI without proactive support from Gov. Lamont. 

“Without the governor advocating for this, pushing for it, it clearly can’t happen,” he said. “What the governor said yesterday was that we’re going to defer this to another time because of the fact that gas prices are currently so high that any further increase would be punitive, and I think that’s certainly right.” 

Now that Massachusetts and Connecticut have thrown in the towel on the climate agreement, inflation-weary residents across New England will avoid state-imposed fuel shortages and even higher prices at the pump.

Photo Credit: Suffolk University Law School

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Toolkit: Here's What's in the Dems' Big Bill

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 19th, 2021, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

House Democrats just passed the following:

Highest personal income tax rate in the developed world: 57.4%

Highest capital gains tax rate since the 1970s. "The average top marginal combined tax rate on capital gains would be nearly 37 percent."

Violates Biden's middle class tax pledge to oppose any and all tax hikes on Americans making less than $400k.

All 50 states will have a combined federal-state top marginal income tax rate above 50%. Eight states will pay a combined federal-state top marginal tax rate of over 60%.

87,000 new IRS auditors and agents.

50% increase in small business audits.

IRS "enforcement" funding 23 times greater than "taxpayer services."

1.2 million more annual IRS audits; about half will hit households making less than $75k.

$2.5 billion special tax handout for trial lawyers.

$8 billion home heating tax.

$13 billion crude oil tax

$1.6 billion special tax handout for media companies of any size. Each company--broadcast, print, digital--can claim the tax handout for up to 1,500 employees.

 

Photo Credit: "President Joe Biden Visit" by National Renewable Energy Lab is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


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