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State Rep. Kathy Kennedy: Op-ed – Working to provide families and farmers relief

Posted on April 8, 2022


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The high cost of fuel, and the price of everyday services and goods has been on the minds of families. Their budgets have been stretched and many have been forced to make tough budget decisions. And while the suspension of the state’s $0.25 gas tax helps a litle we can and should do more.

Many have asked why no relief on the price of diesel fuel? Unfortunately, the governor believes only commercial vehicles use diesel. Tell that to the thousands of Milford and Orange residents that call their diesel car or pick-up truck, the family vehicle and are paying $5.26 a gallon.

In our communities, the number of small-scale, family-owned farms has grown over the years offering our families the opportunity to purchase home grown fruits and vegetables. We are fortunate in Milford and Orange to have several working farms.  I believe we need to support our local farmers.

Last week, I, along with my Republican colleagues reiterated our support for local agricultural businesses by calling for the agriculture industry to be exempt from the new Highway Use Tax on Trucks (HUT) approved during the 2021 legislative session if not just scrap the truck tax all-together before it goes into effect in 2023. The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, which represents 2,500-members also supports the exemption.

The per-mile tax rate will be based the on the weight of trucks, ranging from 2.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing up to 28,000 pounds, to 17.5 cents per mile for vehicles more than 80,000 pounds.

The Republicans in 2021. in an effort to give some relief to our farmers, proposed an amendment to the Truck Tax that would have exempted trucks carrying milk or dairy products, to or from a dairy farm, a retail or wholesale food delivery vehicle, or a motor vehicle used to transport agricultural commodities or supplies to or from a farm. Unfortunately, that amendment failed with the majority voting against. We also proposed an amendment that would have exempted trucks used to transport agricultural commodities, livestock, machinery or supplies to and from farms, from the truck.  Sadly, that amendment was defeated by the majority party.

The truth is the ‘Truck Tax’ was bad policy in 2021 and its bad policy now, and it will negatively affect the cost of everything we buy as consumers not just agriculture products, particularly as diesel fuel prices are over $5 a gallon.

I will continue to work with my colleagues to repeal HUT.  Our farmers deserve better.  They work to put food on our table – farm to table.

As always, please contact me should you have any questions about this important issue or concerns on any other topics relating to state government at Kathy.Kennedy@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.