Connecticut lawmakers ponder option to immediately suspend state gas tax
Republicans want to temporarily suspend the state gas tax as gas prices continue to skyrocket in Connecticut and nationwide.
Suspending the state gas tax would cost $180 million.
"Connecticut can afford this tax today. Our state has a surplus in revenue collected from taxpayers as a result of inflation," said Connecticut Senate Minority Leader Sen. Kevin Kelly.
Connecticut's tax is 26 cents a gallon. With the additional 18-cent federal gas tax, drivers could save 44 cents a gallon. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is pushing Congress to roll back the federal levy through the end of this year.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski wants to go even further by suspending both the wholesale gas tax and a flat 25 cent retail tax.
More than a dozen other states are also considering a gas tax cut, but Massachusetts and two other states have rejected the idea.
Democrats, including Gov. Ned Lamont, are promising relief for drivers. Leaders say they're open to a gas tax holiday, or possibly rebate checks or a tax credit.
The House finance chair wants to make sure gas stations actually pass the savings on to the people.
"There's a research report that came out in 2020. It looked at 113 different gas tax reductions across the country. And that report showed that only a third of them actually saw savings for the drivers," said Democratic state Rep. Sean Scanlon.
Another proposal would send drivers direct checks.
"Some have talked about a gas tax holiday, some have talked about a rebate so it goes right to people, doesn't go to the middleman," said Gov. Ned Lamont.
The gas tax holiday would only run until July 1 and gas prices after that could abruptly jump 26 cents.
Republican leaders want to skip the normal public hearing process and vote on a fuel tax holiday next Wednesday. Democrats say that's possible, but they're still crunching the numbers on each option.
Experts are not convinced any of the proposals will make a difference. Gas prices are projected to continue to swell.
"Unfortunately, I don't have any good news there," said Chris Herb, of Connecticut Energy Marketers Association. "Where the top actually is is still something that the market is going to have to sort out."