State Legislature Extends Gas Tax Suspension
Connecticut lawmakers Nov. 28 extended the suspension of the state’s 25 cents-per-gallon gas tax after the legislature was called into special session by Gov. Ned Lamont.
Originally scheduled to expire Nov. 30, 2022, the state’s tax on retail gasoline sales was suspended in April as gas prices hit record highs amid soaring inflation.
Lawmakers extended the suspension until Dec. 31, with the tax then reinstated in five cent monthly increments until it hits 25 cents a gallon on May 1, 2023.
The Senate unanimously approved the bill 33-0 after the House passed it on a 134-7 vote.
The suspension of the full 25 cents-per-gallon tax costs the state an estimated $30 million monthly.
Like the measure approved in March, the legislation does not impact taxes on propane, natural gas, or diesel sales.
Retail prices for regular gasoline were around $4.30 per gallon April 1 when the suspension began, hitting a high of $4.98 a gallon in mid-June.
AAA reported an average price of $3.65 per gallon in Connecticut Nov. 28, 10 cents higher than the national average.
Free Bus Service, Home Heating Assistance
With the state’s free bus service program also set expire Nov. 30, lawmakers extended that program deep into next year with a $10.8 million allocation to the Department of Transportation.
This increases the current allocation from $8.1 million to $18.9 million.
The legislature also allocated $30 million to the Department of Social Services for the Home Heating Energy Assistance Supplemental Reserve.
The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, the beneficiary of these funds, provides home heating assistance between $250 to $600 depending on income level, household size, and whether there is a vulnerable member in the household.
The benefits are usually paid directly to the utility company or fuel supplier.
Pandemic Pay Program
The budget implementer bill from last session included an ambitious state program to provide up to $1,000 each to essential workers who worked during the height of the pandemic.
While $30 million was originally allocated to the program, more than 150,000 applications were approved.
Legislators approved an additional $45 million in funding for the program and changed eligibility requirements.
Eligible essential workers making $50,000 or less annually will receive $1,000 payments, with payments proportionally reduced for higher income earners.
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