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Republicans partner with No Tolls CT to stop new gasoline and truck taxes

Republican leaders today announced they are partnering with No Tolls CT to hold a series of rallies around the state to oppose the Transportation and Climate Initiative and the highway use tax on trucks, which they say will not only raise the price of gasoline but also on food and goods.

“Gov. Lamont and his majority are advocating for $200 million dollars in taxes levied against gasoline and trucks that the middle-class families in Connecticut are going to have to pay at a time when the middle-class family is struggling,” Republican Senate Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said during a press conference. “It’s what makes our great state more and more unaffordable.”

“What this is really all about is another attempt by the Democrats to pick-pocket the state of Connecticut,” said Republican House Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative would place an emissions cap on fuel wholesalers and distributors and force them to buy emission credits at auction. The funds would be used to support electric vehicle sales, public transportation and “climate justice” initiatives in cities.

TCI was meant to be a regional partnership between thirteen states and Washington D.C., but thus far only Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington D.C. have signed on to the plan.

The TCI program is expected to bring in roughly $1 billion over the next ten years but will likely result in higher gasoline prices. The amount of the increase is in dispute, ranging from 5 cents in the first year to possibly 26 cents by 2032.

The highway use tax would be levied on trucks based on their weight and the number of miles they drive in the state and is also expected to bring in roughly $100 million per year.

Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said the highway use tax has been tried and rejected by twenty other states, which he labeled a “failed policy.”

“It’s expensive to administer, it’s hard to enforce, it’s easy to evade,” Sculley said. “So why would the state of Connecticut think that they could do this where twenty other states have failed?”

John Pruchnicki, owner of Coastal Carriers of Connecticut, a trucking company with locations in Ansonia and Bloomfield, said the highway use tax alone will cost his company between $175,000 and $200,000 per year, which he will be forced to pass on to his customers.  

“We are greatly concerned with these two tax policy proposals that will crush small business here in the state of Connecticut,” Sculley said. “TCI is not an infrastructure program, it’s not an environmental program, it’s just a money grab.” 

Kelly and Candelora argued the two measures will increase the cost of groceries, home heating fuel and municipal expenses.

Wayne Pesce of the Connecticut Food Association, which includes major grocery stores in Connecticut, said they estimate TCI and the highway use tax will cost the average Connecticut family “almost $500 per year on their grocery bill.”

“This tax is regressive,” Pesce said. “And we’re also asking our legislators to protect consumers, as well as food suppliers and distributors, local trucking companies, and our state’s most vulnerable residents who really feel the impact of this tax policy.” 

Republican leaders and the other speakers pointed to the fact that Connecticut has a budget surplus, federal funding coming into the state and a $3 billion reserve fund to say the state has no need to raise taxes.

Gov. Lamont and Democratic budget proposals use the additional taxes to bolster the Special Transportation Fund, which will likely go broke within the next three years. Lamont says the additional revenue can be leveraged to get low-interest federal infrastructure loans.

Both the TCI and highway use tax were passed by their respective legislative committees and appear to have strong support among Democrats, who have wide majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, making this an uphill battle for Republicans who are hoping to recreate the 2019 tolls fight.

“Similar to the fight against tolls, this TCI gas tax and truck mileage tax is very similar in the way it puts another regressive tax on the people of Connecticut,” said Patrick Sasser, head of No Tolls CT. “We were successful in stopping tolls in the past by working together and informing the people of Connecticut about these proposals, so we thought it was important to make the same effort. We’re looking forward to holding multiple rallies throughout the state and encourage people to attend and let their voices be heard.”

During 2019, No Tolls CT held rallies and protests around the state and hounded Gov. Lamont at nearly every step. Their campaign was ultimately successful when the legislature declined to act, and Lamont gave up the fight and moved on to other issues.

“Democrats continue to lead with revenue, as opposed to coming forth with a transportation plan that makes sense for the state of Connecticut,” Candelora said.  

“Once families across our state find out what Democrats are doing to make their gas to get to work more expensive, to make the food they put on their table more expensive, they’re going to reject these ideas,” Kelly said.

The first rally opposing the two policies will be held on April 29 in Stratford. 

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch is the author of several books and novels including Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science and Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot. Marc was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and his work has appeared in The Federalist, American Thinker, The Skeptical Inquirer, World Net Daily and Real Clear Policy. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University. Marc can be reached at [email protected]

8 Comments

  1. John
    April 29, 2021 @ 11:22 am

    ReRepublicans stop the new tax. We are taxed enough in the state of Connecticut!

    Reply

  2. John C Miller Jr
    April 29, 2021 @ 1:30 pm

    Interstate motor carriers are already subject to the fuel use taxes imposed by the international fuel use agreement. what is the state doing with those tax receipts and why do we need another fuel use tax imposed on motor carriers, which will untimately be paid by our citizens at the grocery store?

    Reply

  3. Mark Ohlson
    April 29, 2021 @ 2:42 pm

    I wish I could be there today. These policies are terrible. Here’s a wild idea….take the money you have, create a budget that works with the money you have, and stick to it!!! It will never happen in CT the government thinks it has more of a right to your money then you do, its a joke, its too bad the people who support these redicuous ideas added seats in Hartford in November!! I hope people are paying attention to what the Democrats are trying to do, if they aren’t, they will just be paying at the pump, and cash register!

    Reply

  4. donald hutchinson
    April 30, 2021 @ 8:56 am

    Is there anything that the legislators do besides inventing new taxes and ways to soak the remaining wealthy high earners in conn.????? tax success and subsidize everyone else. level the playing field by soaking the successful while not raising up lower earners. Fla here i come

    Reply

  5. Mich
    May 12, 2021 @ 2:50 am

    I sometimes wonder about voting fraud in Connecticut because we can’t have that many foolish voters can we who keep voting for these democrats and expect to get a different result? a gas and food tax hike, tell me where is the social justice in this? the state can’t even take care of it’s own citizens yet they waste our tax dollars giving away free things to illegal immigrants while senior citizens and disabled living on fixed incomes don’t even have enough quality affordable housing. also, many housing in black communities were promised repairs, a better quality of life and for many years that has turned into more empty promises. Democrats only care about the African american community when it’s election time!

    Reply

  6. Carol
    June 16, 2021 @ 3:16 pm

    I have known for a long time that there is voting fraud in ct there are not that many stupid voters in ct the voting is controlled by the unions. You want to see a thriving town go visit the mall ay Nashua nh there are usually more ct and ma cars shopping there then nh cars that ought to tell you something a out how people feel about ct taxes

    Reply

  7. Mike
    August 20, 2021 @ 10:07 am

    Rich demons crat have no idea what fixed income means they never do without, it’s easy to gain income by taxation without giving thought to the ppl of ct. Hardest hit many jobs high earning jobs are gone folded up for ever .line after line of donated produce was loaded into trunks ,these ppl had newer cars yet no food; its way to soon to politically screw over this economy. It is just now a flegling for recovery poor judgement on Lamont to even entertain this callous notion for gain.

    Reply

  8. HENRY F KAZIMER
    September 16, 2021 @ 12:16 pm

    IM GLAD TO SEE THAT THE REPUBLICANS WAN TO FIGHT THE GAS TAX INCREASE ive been complaing about gas gas taxes since a least january

    Reply

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