UPDATE: The Taxman Cometh: Malloy to Propose Tolls, Gas Tax HikeJanuary 31, 2018
The Hartford Courant first reported that the governor, at a low in popularity and influence in the state capital, will propose tolls and a gas tax hike this week.
The Hartford Courant‘s Christopher Keating had a major scoop on Tuesday: Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) will propose reinstating tolls in Connecticut and increasing the gas tax this week, to pay for what Malloy sees is a critical gap in funding for the state’s transportation projects.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to announce his support for electronic highway tolls and an increase in the gasoline tax to pay for road projects as he unveils his transportation plan Wednesday, officials said.
The proposal calls for an increase in the state’s gasoline tax by 7 cents per gallon, phased in over four years, according to sources who have been briefed on the plan. The tolls would be operational around the state by July 2022 or sooner, and the money would be collected by the 2023 fiscal year.
Tolls and a higher gas tax will no doubt make the cost of living even higher for many in Connecticut. Voters in the state recently made clear that the high cost of living and high taxes are among their top concerns, with 93.7 percent saying they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about high costs, and 90.9 percent are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about high taxes.
That data, and Republicans’ influence in the state House and state Senate, makes it likely tolls will receive a chilly reception from both legislators and voters.
Then again, Malloy, a lame-duck governor who is not running for re-election, has little political capital left to lose.
Some Connecticut House Democrats launched a 2018 push for tolls this week.
UPDATE, 11:15am: Mayor Mark Boughton (R-Danbury), a candidate for governor, released a statement pledging to veto tolls if elected.
“Proposing tolls along with yet another increase in the gas tax, plus a new tire tax, is a slap in the face to every resident of the state of Connecticut. We are already among the highest-taxed states in the nation and losing population at an alarming rate. … Gov. Malloy and his Democrat accomplices in the legislature are penalizing the people of our state for the fiscal disaster they have created. As Governor, I would swiftly veto tolls.”
Former First Selectman Tim Herbst (R-Trumbull), another gubernatorial candidate, also released a statement, blasting the “near-constant stream of pain caused by this governor’s agenda.”
“Gov. Malloy’s new proposal to hike the gas tax, already the sixth highest in the nation, force tolls onto our already congested highways and place a fee on the purchase of new tires is an insult to struggling Connecticut residents,” Herbst said. “Thousands of struggling Connecticut taxpayers have tried to remain here, make a living here or retire here despite the near-constant stream of pain caused by this governor’s agenda — and he shows no sign of slowing down in his last year in office,” Herbst said.
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