Anyone doing business with state agencies in Connecticut starting July 1 won’t be paying those pesky credit card transaction fees. That’s because under a new executive order they’ve been waived, saving taxpayers around $6 million.
“Each of us is feeling the pressure of inflation, and I am committed to reducing costs for businesses and residents where the law allows,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
Among the agency fees affected are the departments of Motor Vehicles, Consumer Protection, Energy and Environmental Protection, and Public Health. Lamont directed his Office of Policy and Management Secretary Jeff Beckham to waive the fees even though it’s not part of the $600 million in tax relief Lamont and the legislature’s Democratic majority agreed to as part of this year’s budget adjustment.
Republican lawmakers say it’s simply a token of what the state should be doing.
“If the governor thinks $6 million will help ease burdens on working- and middle-class families, imagine what we could do with $750 million more in relief,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said in a statement. “Connecticut has the power to deliver far greater relief, but we must act by June 30. We continue to call for a special session to deliver relief to all Connecticut families.”
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 take effect next year, and extending a current gas tax holiday to diesel fuel.
The diesel fuel tax will go up 9 cents on July 1, but the 25-cent gas tax “holiday” is in effect until Dec. 1.
The Consumer Price Index, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is at 8.6%. It jumped 1% between April and May, which represents the largest 12-month increase since December 1981.
Gas prices dipped slightly this week. The average price of gas in Connecticut Monday was $4.86 per gallon. That’s down 8 cents from last week, but up 19 cents from a month ago.