Christine Stuart photo
Gov. M. Jodi Rell (Christine Stuart photo)

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Thursday that she supports a Republican call for another special session to cap one of the state’s two gas taxes.

At a press conference Thursday in Wickham Park, Rell said she actually proposed the idea of capping the wholesale price of gas a few years ago. Click here to read her Sept. 18, 2006 press release in which she proposes the cap.

When Rell proposed that cap in 2006, the wholesale price of gas was $2.23 per gallon. Today it’s about $3.55 per gallon.

In 2006, Rell said a cap on the wholesale price would not affect funding for transportation improvement projects that are being paid for through the tax because, “for more than a year, the gross receipts tax has produced millions of dollars more than originally anticipated because of the spiraling cost of the price of oil.”

The gross receipts tax levies a 7 percent surcharge on the wholesale price of gas. The excise gas tax is a flat 25 cents per gallon, and the 7 percent gross receipts tax is more than 26 cents per gallon, according to the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association. This means Connecticut residents are paying about 51 cents per gallon in state taxes.

The legislature held a special session in June to stop the tax from increasing to 7.5 percent, but it didn’t cap the wholesale amount used to calculate the tax, which means that as the price of gas continues to rise, so does the state tax. Republicans called on the Democratic majority Tuesday to return to the Capitol and “finish the job they started” by capping the wholesale price at $3.40 per gallon.

Democratic leadership in response said that the skyrocketing price of gas was based on a failed energy policy at the national level.

“We all know that this is a global problem compounded by a failed national energy policy, and the state acted to help motorists where we could,” Speaker of the House James Amman, D-Milford, said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

Democratic leadership in the Senate echoed Amann’s statements. “The legislative Republicans, all of whom support President Bush and his failed energy agenda, would have you believe the energy crisis is due to Connecticut’s General Assembly—not President Bush, the international market, oil speculators, or the big oil companies enjoying record profits. No one buys what the Republicans are selling.”

“I can’t control Congress or OPEC, but I can control the taxes in the state,” Rell said Thursday. She said as gas prices continue to rise and as the home heating oil season approaches “it makes me feel like we need to do something now.”