(The Center Square) – With Connecticut’s gas tax holiday set to expire next month, state leaders are considering an extension, with inflation and other economic factors keeping prices up at the pumps.
Gov. Ned Lamont, fresh off his reelection victory, is among those who are considering extending the break from the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax before it expires on Dec. 1. Lamont won a second term after defeating Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the Democrat said with inflation “slamming” the middle class he wants lawmakers to reconvene to extend the gas tax holiday, and possibly take other steps to ease the financial burden on the state’s consumers.
“I’ve got to see what we can afford and we’re going to model this out,” Lamont said. “Right now, I think we’re in decent shape, but I’d like to sit down and talk with the legislature about how we can continue a gas tax cut.”
Lamont cautioned the state needs to make sure it has “enough money to fix our roads and bridges” if prices at the pump drop following another extension of the tax holiday.
A tax-reduction package Lamont signed into law in May, included about $600 million in cuts, including an extension of the temporary gas tax holiday until December.
Legislative leaders on both sides of the state’s political aisle appear to be warming to the idea of returning to session before the holidays to extend the gas tax suspension.
Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, and his House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, have both called for a gas tax holiday extension, repeal of a new highway mileage tax on trucks set to begin next year, and other moves to ease the impact of inflation on the state’s consumers.
A perfect storm of supply chain disruptions, 40-year high inflation levels and the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on global oil markets are behind high prices at the pumps.
Gas prices in Connecticut were averaging about $3.77 per gallon in the past week, compared to $3.54 a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association of the Northeast’s weekly survey of gas stations.
Overall, Connecticut drivers pay 54.14 cents per gallon in gas taxes, including state and federal charges, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Without the holiday, drivers in the state would be paying more than $4 per gallon.
But the suspension of the tax comes at a loss to the state, which estimates it’s forfeiting about $30 million a month in revenue.