Sen. Boucher Rep-Am letter – ‘Mileage tax’ would be disastrous for working families –

August 19, 2015

Op-Ed as it appeared in the Waterbury Republican-American

I grew up in the Naugatuck Valley, in an industrial blue-collar, minimum-wage working family.

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

Those days are long gone, and people now drive long distances to get to work.

Every day, people crisscross Connecticut from Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport and New London to Norwalk, Stamford and even Greenwich to get to their jobs. A “mileage tax,” or total-miles-driven tax, would impose an enormous burden and severe financial hardship on these workers. It is highly regressive.

Many of my constituents in Wilton have short commutes or quick drives to the train station. The tax would not be a major burden for them. 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 — 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, they face being penalized for being “green.”

It seems Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s transportation task force may want gasoline-tax revenues back through this mileage tax, also considered by most to be 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 lines. It should not reduce commuters’ take-home pay even more than it already does.