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Report: CT Dem Considering Gas Tax Hike

January 23, 2018 By Staff
Report: CT Dem Considering Gas Tax Hike

An East Hartford-based Democrat wants to raise Connecticut's gas tax in 2018.

The chairman of the Connecticut House’s tax-writing panel, Rep. Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford), announced on Tuesday he will introduce a bill in 2018 to raise Connecticut’s gas tax by four cents per gallon.

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Connecticut’s transportation funding is in dire straits, with Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) postponing $4.3 billion worth of transportation projects earlier this month:

Malloy has said Connecticut’s transportation system will need almost $1 billion in new revenue during the next five years in order to pay for needed maintenance and improvements and avoid major rail, bus and road cutbacks.

Connecticut families already face some of the highest motor vehicle fuels taxes in the country, though, at 38.20 cents per gallon.

In 2016, Connecticut, by the state’s own account, took in over $497 million in tax revenue for fuel taxes alone. Aside from fuel tax, drivers in Connecticut face high registration fees and high property taxes on vehicles – along with a plethora of small taxes and fees like a $2 charge tacked on to ever tire sold in the state.

It’s no mystery why, in 2017, the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) rated Connecticut as one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.:

  • 2017 Cost of Living score: 6 out of 50 points
  • Most expensive area: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
  • Average home price: $652,192
  • Half gallon of milk: $2.70
  • T-bone steak: $12.13
  • Monthly energy bill: $237.81
  • Doctor visit: $124.96

Regardless of how much the state pulls in for transportation funding, some say the state still needs more money. Connecticut’s current Department of Transportation (DOT) special transportation fund stands at over $1.5 billion for 2018 and $1.6 billion for 2019. Despite the latest budget crisis ending with another round of tax increases, lawmakers are floating an array of new tax increases, with transportation in mind.

In 2017, the Office Of Policy And Managment (OPM) published a report, eagerly shared by the governor, that painted a grim picture of the current Speical Transportation Fund (STF), sparking renewed debate about increasing fuel taxes, and adding highway tolls. While the mileage tax scheme hasn’t resurfaced yet, it’s clear sapping taxpayers again will hit Connecticut’s already-fragile economy.

When it comes to transportation funding the best choice for Connecticut is anything but “clear.” What is clear is that throwing billions at the STF would only serve to further Connecticut’s history of “reckless transportation spending.” It seems like most of Connecticut’s budget problems transportation funding serves as another example of unchecked tax and spend politics.

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