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.
“Today was a positive step toward providing relief at the pumps,” State Representative Bill Simanski (R- Granby) said. “Families and businesses on a razor thin budget can hardly afford to continue paying such high taxes on gasoline. Today’s legislation helps, but we still have a long way to go to makeConnecticut gas prices competitive with other states.”
In addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon in federal taxes charged in all states,Connecticutcharges 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 ofConnecticut- far more than 23.5 cents per gallon inMassachusettsor 33 cents per gallon inRhode Island.
“In my district, it’s far too easy for people to drive across state lines and buy gasoline that’s 20 to 30 cents cheaper than in Connecticut. That is bad for the businesses we have here and it causes people to question why our gas is so expensive. Unfortunately, I think it will be difficult to make any serious changes to the taxes levied on gasoline- but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying,” said Simanski.
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.
Simanski says public pressure is responsible for the Democrats’ change of heart but added that he is still worried about the increase in the gross receipts tax which will go in effect on July 1, 2013. Simanski joined his Republican colleagues in offering an amendment that would cap the percentage but Democrats defeated the amendment 94-53.