Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she would be willing to suspend the scheduled increase in one of the state’s two gasoline taxes, if lawmakers are willing to find $25 million in spending cuts to make up for the lost revenue.
The gasoline gross receipts tax, which is based on the wholesale price of gas, will increase from 7 percent to 7.5 percent next month. Depending on the wholesale price of gasoline the increase is expected to add 3 to 4 cents to the price of gas at the pump. According to the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, the gross receipts tax already accounts for about 26 cents per gallon. Add that to the state’s flat 25 cent excise tax and Connecticut residents are paying about 51 cents per gallon in state taxes today.
“We have to make cuts in order to make it happen,” Rell said Tuesday. She said if lawmakers are willing to help her find $25 million in spending cuts in the budget, then together they could save consumers an estimated 3 to 4 cents at the gas pump.
According to a Journal Inquirer article Attorney General Richard Blumenthal now supports efforts to cancel the scheduled July 1 increase in the gross receipts tax, which is not what he said Monday morning at this press conference touting a bill aimed at examining fuel pricing.
Majority Leader Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said Tuesday that Democrats would be discussing the possibility of delaying the increase in the tax, along with Blumenthal’s profiteering bill.
Donovan said when Rell and Democrats approved the two-year budget in 2007 none of them could have predicted the current state of the economy, including the skyrocketing gas prices.
“I get public pressure every time I go to the pump,” Donovan said. He said people forget that he has to pay those high prices too. He said he hasn’t received many phone calls about this issue.
He said Rell should show more leadership by specifically stating where she wants to cut the $25 million.
A former state representative, Jonathan Pelto, was quick to express his outrage over the state gas taxes in this letter.
A decision on what if anything will be added to the call for special session will be made later this week, Donovan said.
A special session is scheduled for June 11 to extend the real estate conveyance tax and possibly an ethics reform package.