Posted on November 15, 2022
HARTFORD — House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) and Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) released the following statement urging lawmakers to call a special session to not only extend the gas tax suspension, but to also provide further relief, including home heating assistance to Connecticut families and stop a new truck tax from taking effect January 1:
“Connecticut Republicans have been pushing to extend gas tax relief since the spring. We need a special session now because Democrats refused to act for months. But much more than just the gas tax needs to be suspended.
“In addition to high prices at the gas pump, Connecticut families are facing a home heating crisis. Congress cut home heating assistance at a time when the need is growing. Connecticut families are now facing impossible decisions. Should I heat my home or pay my rent? Should I use my oven to keep my kitchen warm? These are choices no family must ever make. And they are choices that are happening every day in Connecticut while this government fails to act.
“We look forward to conversations with the Governor and Democratic leaders so that we can make your voices heard and advocate for more than just relief at the gas pump as inflation persists. Let’s address the home heating crisis today. Let’s stop the new tax on trucks from taking effect January 1 that will only further drive up the cost of goods and groceries. Connecticut government is benefiting from inflation taking more out of people’s wallets through sales and gas taxes. The state budget remains balanced without new taxes and would stay in surplus even with an investment home heating assistance. There’s no reason why our families shouldn’t be getting the help and relief they need now.”
Background on Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
• Congress has only approved $86.4 million in LIHEAP assistance for Connecticut, a 32% reduction from last year’s level of assistance.
• Even with the federal ‘increase’ in September Congress celebrated, CT is still receiving $42.6 million less in LIHEAP assistance than we received last year, even though the need is far greater today.
• Senate and House Republican legislators in Connecticut proposed increasing LIHEAP funds by an additional $112.3 million to accommodate increased demand and expand benefits to more working and middle class families expected to struggle to heat their homes this winter. The Republican plan utilizes $112.3 million from the Invest Connecticut account, a fund set aside by the Fiscal Year 2023 budget adjustment with readily available federal ARPA funds yet to be assigned to any programming.
Background on the Gas Tax
• In March, CT Republicans were the first to push for suspending the gas tax.
• During the legislative session, Republicans ran amendments to extend the relief beyond December.
• After the legislative session ended with no action, CT Republicans called for a special session to extend the relief further.
Background on the Truck Tax
• Connecticut Democrats and Gov. Lamont approved a new highway mileage tax on trucks set to begin in January.
• CT farmers have said the tax will lead to higher prices on food and have advocated for repeal.