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Lawmakers to vote Wednesday on a gas tax holiday in Connecticut

Gas_pump.jpg
Ali Oshinskie
/
WNPR
Drivers wait in line on a recent day in March 2022 at Forbes Premium Fuel in New Haven. The average gas price in Connecticut was $4.47 per gallon.

The General Assembly is prepared to vote Wednesday on a three-month suspension of Connecticut’s 25-cents-a-gallon tax on gasoline, free CT Transit buses and a second one-week sales tax holiday on clothing, Democratic legislative leaders said Monday.

With the GOP minority voicing support, the legislative leaders and Gov. Ned Lamont announced a week ago they had agreed in principle to a gas holiday that would run through June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

House and Senate Democratic leaders said after a virtual meeting with the governor Monday they had finalized most details necessary for a vote in both chambers Wednesday on an emergency-certified bill that does not require hearings or committee votes.

The only detail to be determined is whether the free bus fares will be offered for one month or until the end of the fiscal year, said Senate President Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven.

The statewide average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Connecticut had dropped by 15 cents Monday to $4.337 from the recent high of $4.486 on March 11.

“I think anytime you can give relief to folks at the pump is helpful,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk. “Even though prices might be coming down now, a lot of people have spent a lot of money over the last few weeks on gas.”

House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, and Looney are united in their support for increasing the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor, but that will await action of the full budget.

“Many members of our caucus feel strongly that we have a lot more to do,” Ritter said. “But to be fair, that’s all grafted to a budget negotiation, which is going to take place in the next six weeks.”

Connecticut’s 25-cents-a-gallon excise tax is the 29th lowest in the U.S., but the state also collects an 8.1% gross receipts tax on wholesale gasoline sales, capped at 26.4 cents per gallon at the pump.

Last year, when the wholesale prices were much lower, the Tax Foundation reported that combined state taxes in Connecticut added nearly 36 cents to the price of a gallon of gas — the 17th highest burden in the U.S.

The sales tax holiday planned for a week in April will replicate the holiday already budgeted for August. It exempts the purchase of clothing and shoes under $100 from the 6.35% sales tax.