Sen. Kelly: Gov. Lamont’s gas tax hike is “a lump of coal to middle-class families.”

December 21, 2020

(from the Hartford Courant)

Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday signed on to a multistate effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reinvest millions of dollars a year toward cleaner transportation, a deal that will likely mean higher gas prices in Connecticut.


Lamont joined Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia in joining the bipartisan Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P), which guarantees that Connecticut will reduce carbon emissions by at least 26% in a 10-year period from 2022 to 2032.


The initiative is a regional cap-and-trade plan to raise money to combat climate change by seeking wholesale reductions in motor vehicle pollution, which is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. It requires that large gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers purchase allowances for the pollution caused by combustion of the fuels they sell in Connecticut.


Senate Minority Leader-elect Kevin Kelly called the pre-Christmas move a “lump of coal to middle-class families.”

“This tax hike will burden middle class families’ budgets at the absolute worst possible time without improving our aging transportation infrastructure,” Kelly, R-Stratford, said. “[Lamont’s] holiday gift to Connecticut families is new and higher taxes.”


The National Federation of Independent Business, which represents thousands of small businesses in the state, said many who are struggling to make ends meet due to the coronavirus pandemic will face additional financial stress if gas were to go up in price.


“Restaurants require fuel to deliver food orders, plumbers and electricians drive to job sites, construction companies utilize fuel to operate their equipment,” said NFIB State Director Andy Markowski. “All of these small business jobs will now be more expensive because Connecticut joined TCI.”


Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, an industry group, said TCI would “put another tax, on top of another tax, on top of another tax, on top of another tax” on gasoline, which he said is “one of the already most taxed commodities in Connecticut.”


We don’t see this as an environmental initiative but rather a money grab,” Herb said. “We already have one of the highest gas taxes in Connecticut. This would be the breaking point for many people in Connecticut already struggling to make ends meet and quite frankly, just trying to survive.”


States that were initially on board with the program — but failed to commit this week to the agreement — include Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia.

Full story: