Today the Connecticut General Assembly passed an emergency certified bill that will cap the gross receipts tax on gasoline when the wholesale price of gas reaches $3 per gallon. With the wholesale cost of gasoline over $3.20 and rising, it is a move that will ease some of the pain at the pump.
“This is good, this is something Republicans have been trying to pass since 2007,” State Representative Whit Betts (R- Bristol) said. “The people of Bristol, Plymouth, and Terryville deserve the credit for this cap- they are the ones who spoke up, applied pressure on legislators and demanded this cap be enacted.”
Betts says that, while the cap is a positive step in the right direction, Connecticut motorists still pay far too much at the pump due to high taxes levied on gasoline. In addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon in federal taxes charged in all states, Connecticut charges a state excise tax of 25 cents per gallon and the gross receipts tax which, at 7.53% of the wholesale cost of gasoline, is currently close to an additional 25 cents per gallon That means 50 cents per gallon goes to the State of Connecticut- far more than 23.5 cents per gallon in Massachusetts or 33 cents per gallon in Rhode Island.
“Connecticut is making a windfall profit off of each one of us every time we go to fill up our cars. The government has imposed its financial problems on Connecticut residents by punishing them for driving to work, running errands or going to pick up their kids. These are every day activities that simply cannot be avoided. Even with the cap, we are paying way more than neighboring states and I think we need to reduce state taxes on gasoline even more” said Betts.
Originally the Democrats proposed making the gas tax cap temporary, due to expire on June 30, 2013, just a day before the gross receipts tax is scheduled to increase from 7.53% to 8.81%. Hours before passing the bill the Democrats changed course and agreed to make the cap permanent.
Betts says public pressure is responsible for the change but added that he is still worried about the increase in the gross receipts tax which will go in effect on July 1, 2013. Betts joined his Republican colleagues in offering an amendment that would cap the percentage but Democrats defeated the amendment 94-53.