To the Editor,
The governor has called for the implementation of the nation’s highest per-user electronic tolling network for Connecticut, on top of a 7-cent per-gallon increase in the state gas tax and a brand-new 3-dollar per-tire tax. Talk about crippling our state and forcing people, businesses and jobs out in droves! On the heels of lower revenues that 7-years of one tax increase after another, we all need to shout “NO WAY and NO MORE!” loud enough to shake the state capitol.
In total, this would become the largest effective tax increase in Connecticut history. By a lot. At the same time, this lame duck governor makes no mention of reforming government to become more efficient or doing more with less, like the rest of us do in our own personal finances. This is crazy.
Let me demonstrate just how crazy by using my wife and I as examples. I work in Hartford and would pass under 9 toll-gantries each way on I-84 for a daily net toll of $9.00, 150-times a year for a whopping $1,350, plus an additional $38 in new gas tax. My new individual tax burden is about $1,380, not including tire taxes. Luisa would pass under 5 toll-gantries each way on I-84 for a daily net toll of $5.00, 250-times a year for $1,250, plus an additional $45 in new gas tax. Her new individual tax burden will be $1,395. That’s $2,645 for a middle-class couple to go to work. Now, add the tolls we’ll pay to shop or visit friends and family in a state where EVERY limited-access highway will be tolled. Route 7 to Stew Leonard’s or Costco. Route 8, I-91, I-691, I-95, I-395, Route 3, Route 9, Route 71…You get the message. We’re a mobile family and all this will add up to a cool $4,000 a year, not including the burden on our kids, who both drive and, are questioning whether they can afford to live in Connecticut much longer.
Some of you have told me you’re okay with tolls. Perhaps if they were not killer-tolls, we could agree, but this plan may be the end of Connecticut, as we know it. Seriously. If you believe as I do that Connecticut is the most wonderful place in our nation but could be better and more thriving if made more affordable, you may also agree that it’s worth fighting for. We have an unchecked spending problem in Connecticut, not a revenue problem. Republicans and Democrats together killed a similar proposal in 2017 because there is a clear path to making critical infrastructure improvements without hitting the wallets of taxpayers. It starts with fiscal responsibility in Hartford and structural changes to make our state government more efficient and focused on serving us, not the special interests.
Our gas and other taxes have long been siphoned away from the Special Transportation Fund for years to pay for special interests’ and friends of career politicians in Hartford, not for transportation spending. That’s why the fund is almost insolvent. Do you trust these folks to not continue sweeping the record monies they want to take from your household for something other than our roads?
I will continue to fight like heck for you and a return to affordability in Connecticut but, the stakes are too high to leave anything to chance or to back-room deals. Please, be engaged. Be angry. Be very angry. Demand accountability. Do not allow this governor and his legislative colleagues to hit you with another monster tax increase. Let’s shake the Capitol with shouts of “NO WAY and NO MORE!”