Mileage tax and tolls would hurt low-income CT workers most

August 12, 2015

(Please read my latest op-ed below regarding the latest discussions on funding for CT transportation upgrades. The Malloy administration is pushing for a special legislative session this fall, and that could lead to tolls and even more taxes on top of the record-breaking tax hikes we have already endured. Your opinion matters and has influenced the process. Stay involved!)

Mileage tax a burden to workers

I represent seven towns in lower Fairfield County in the State Senate. But I grew up in the Naugatuck Valley, the daughter in an industrial blue-collar, minimum-wage working family.

My first “official” minimum-wage job was in the City of Waterbury. At that time, business was thriving and Uniroyal and Anaconda American Brass were major employers.

Those days are long gone and people are now driving long distances to get to work.
Every day people crisscross our state from Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport, New London to Norwalk, Stamford and even Greenwich to get to their job.

A “Mileage tax,” or total miles driven tax, would be an enormous burden and severe financial hardship on these workers as it is highly regressive.

Many of my constituents in Wilton have a 15 to 30 minute drive to their offices in Norwalk, Greenwich or Stamford. Some have a quick drive to the train, where they commute to well paying positions along the “Gold Coast,” or in New York City.

They won’t carry the major burden of such a tax.

It is the middle-income and working-poor families who can’t afford to live in Fairfield County but travel to work here who will be hit by this tax the hardest.

A vast number of people drive 60 miles or more, round trip to get to work each day.

Additionally, there are a number of people who for economic or ecological reasons switched to small, highly fuel efficient, hybrid, or electric cars.
Now however, they face being penalized for being “green.”

It seems the Governor’s Transportation Taskforce may want their gas tax revenues back through this mileage tax, also considered by most as a tremendous intrusion on personal privacy.

Nearly all of my constituents are firmly against this tax and any idea that involves bringing back tolls.

Government needs to prioritize current funding to fix roads, bridges and rail. It should not reduce the commuters take home pay even further than it already does.

*Toni Boucher is a Republican state senator from the 26th Senatorial district, which includes Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.