HARTFORD — Caving to public pressure and angst over dramatically raising gas prices, Democrats today finally acknowledged election year public support for long-standing Republican plans to bring down costs by capping the gross receipt taxes on fuel. “Today is a good day,” House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. said. “My father always taught me that when someone admits to a wrong and changes a long held position, they should be commended.”
Democrats have voted consistently against capping the gross receipt tax that increases as the price of gas goes up as far back as 2007. Just 37 days ago, Democratic lawmakers called the Republican plan a “political stunt.’’
“I guess what was a political stunt a few weeks ago is good public policy today, Cafero said. Republicans have presented the gas cap tax at least eight times in the last four years. Cafero called the gross receipt tax the “hidden tax,’’ because unlike the state sales tax on fuel, it is not noted anywhere at the pump.
The Democratic plan, announced at a press conference today, would only cap the gas tax through the election and let it expire on June 30, 2013. Republicans say it should be permanent.
Cafero said that the legislation could be fast tracked by emergency certification, voted on by both chambers and sent to the governor for approval. It is estimated that over a year the price cap could save motorists $45 million. Democrats refused to say how or when they would move to pass the legislation.
It is expected that the legislature could be in session on April 4.