HARTFORD - Lawmakers passed a bill early Thursday morning that allows gas stations to give discounts to people who pay with cash.

The lawmakers have also voted to put an increase in the state gas tax on hold. The tax hike was originally scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Retailers estimate that an increase in the gas tax, which currently stands at 7 percent, could have added as much as 5 cents to the price of a gallon of gas.

The gas tax represents a percentage of gas prices, so as prices go up, so does the tax.

Republicans criticized the delay, saying state legislators could have done more by capping the tax.

"As the price of gasoline continues to increase, the gas taxes also increase,? said state Sen. John McKinney (R- Fairfield). ?We're saying let's cap gas taxes. Don't allow them to increase at all from this day forward."

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she intends to sign both bills when they get to her desk.

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