Starting next week legislative Republicans are taking their call for more tax relief on the road with six rallies in different towns.
Their calls for a special session earlier this week were ignored by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and legislative Democrats, but the Republican lawmakers are intent on pinning inflation on the party in power.
The Republicans called for proposals including reducing the income tax rate from 5% to 4% for individuals making less than $75,000 and households making less than $175,000, reducing the state sales tax from 6.35% to 5.99% until the end of the year, eliminating a mileage-based highway user tax scheduled to go into effect next year, and extending a current gas tax holiday to diesel fuel.
In total, they want a special session to adopt $750 million in relief.
As part of his re-election campaign Lamont is touting the $600 million in tax relief they offered to residents.
The commercial features a narrator describing the impact of inflation driving up the costs of goods before shifting to a series of residents praising recently-adopted provisions expanding a property tax credit, capping the statewide mill rate and reimbursing towns for lost car tax revenue, as well as a temporary holiday from the state’s gasoline tax.
In a press release, Lamont’s campaign spokesman Jake Lewis said the governor had worked to make the state more affordable.
“Connecticut families and small business owners know that Governor Lamont has their back,” Lewis said. “His recent budget provides hundreds of millions of dollars in historic tax cuts and critically needed financial relief–allowing families to save for their futures and businesses to get ahead.”
Earlier this week Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski said he wanted to suspend the scheduled increase in diesel fuel.
Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, argued Tuesday that increasing the cost of diesel would increase the cost of all goods transported by truckers.
“Their customers are grocery stores and gas stations and clothing stores so your food is going to cost more, your gas is going to cost more and your clothing is going to cost more,” Sculley said.
Democratic lawmakers and Lamont are not buying that argument.
“You know the diesel tax, let’s say half that is paid for by out-of-state tractor trailer trucks, many of which don’t stop in the state they just keep rumbling through,” Lamont said. “I like to do tax cuts that really focus on middle class folks here in our state.”
Asked Wednesday whether it was fair to blame Lamont for inflation that has also impacted countries in Europe, Stefanowski said Lamont’s policies had not helped things here.
“You talk to a mom or dad in Connecticut, they don’t really care whether it’s Governor Lamont or President Biden’s fault. Governor Lamont runs this state,” Stefanowski said. “He’s in charge of the economics of this state and he’s got to be held accountable.”
Most of the Republican rallies will start at 4:30 p.m. The first will be held Monday, June 13 at the Sunoco Gas Station, 1758 East Main St. in Torrington, the second will be Tuesday, June 14 at Forbes Premium Fuel, 81 Frontage Road, in East Haven, the third will be Wednesday, June 15 at Wheels Gas Station, 440 Lordship Blvd. in Stratford, the fourth will be Thursday, June 16 at the Mobil 1001 North Colony Rd., in Wallingford, the fifth will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 18 at the Blue Colony Diner, 66 Churchill Rd. in Newtown, and the sixth will be held 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 22 at the Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Blvd, in Stamford.