Gov. signs bill that suspends CT’s gas tax

VIDEO: Drivers won't see gas tax cut right away
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:23 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 12:22 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut’s governor signed a bill into law on Thursday that suspends the state’s gas tax.

The state Senate unanimously passed the gas tax bill Wednesday evening.

It headed to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk for his signature, which he signed Thursday.

“The gas tax cut passed the legislature [Wednesday] night,” Lamont posted to social media. “I’m proud it gained unanimous bipartisan support and moved swiftly to give folks some relief at the pump. When I sign the bill into law [Thursday], we’ll become just the third state in the nation to suspend the gas tax.

During the day on Wednesday, the state House of Representatives unanimously passed it.

The bill cuts the gas tax by 25 cents per gallon. It will go into effect April 1 and last until July 1.

Lawmakers also passed a sales tax holiday. The week-long holiday is set to start April 10 and applies to all items $100 or less. The holiday is in addition to the one that typically happens in August ahead of the start of the school year.

The bill also included a free bus service for three months. The date for the free bus service is still being worked out.

Eyewitness News talked to drivers about the bill.

“It’s a nice gesture but it’s not going to solve anything, I’m just fed up with everything,” said Phyllis Daly of Bolton.

Daly has limited her driving to avoid the high gas prices and says she would like to see more being done.

“I think that the united states should open with our own oil and be independent,” Daly said.

Drivers may not see the reduction in prices right away in certain places, because gas stations pay taxes on their fuel upfront.

“So places like Sprague, Thompson or Norfolk Connecticut that are very rural and have low volume gas stations that don’t go out of gasoline it might take them a week or more before they can pass those savings along,” said Chris Herb, President of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA).

CEMA says they are concerned that this will cause uneven gas prices throughout the state and confusion for drivers.

“We are working with legislators leaders to try and get the fix that Delaware implemented in their gas tax holiday legislation which is was to provide a credit so that there is a seamless transaction on April 1st is tax free,” Herb said.

Lawmakers said they are using three different funds to pay for the tax cuts. They said they’re limited to what they can do with the federal COVID relief money.

“There’s a certain tendency to say ‘lets cut even more, lets spend even more. We’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.’ That’s a mistake our state has made for many years,” Lamont said.

The current tax cut only applies to regular gas, and excludes diesel. Those who use diesel said they want diesel to be included in the tax cut. Lamont said a cut on diesel would mostly benefit out-of-state drivers.

“I’m very pleased by this bipartisan result [Wednesday night],” said Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney. “That’ll mean that the average person will be saving $3 on every fill up.”

Drivers with a 15 gallon tank will save $3.75

Looney weighed in on the other components of the tax breaks.

“The bus fee suspension is critically important to low income working people in this state,” said Looney,

While Republican leaders voted ‘yes’ on Wednesday, they said they still want to see more.

“People are feeling the pinch of a 40 year high in inflation. I think we can do better,” said Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly. “It’s a beginning but by no means the end in our opinion. From a sales tax perspective our initial proposal in January was for 300 million of tax relief and what we passed today was $5 million. So, we still have about 295 million of tax holiday to go around.”

Gov. Ned Lamont held a news conference at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in West Hartford to talk about it the situation:

Gov. Ned Lamont spoke about the impact of potentially suspending the gas tax during a news conference on March 23.

Democratic leaders held a news conference around 11 a.m.:

“Its not an election year gimmick, we have the discipline for 40 years of our rainy day fund,” said Rep. Matt Ritter, speaker of the House.

While not a huge amount, Democratic leaders said the state is in good financial shape and it could give people a needed break.

“Some stations, it might be a day, some stations it might be a few days, some it might be more than a week,” said Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.

That means if drivers live in a rural area with a gas station that doesn’t have a high volume of customers, the longer it will take to get through the taxable gas and get to that tax free holiday.

Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign a bill that suspends CT's gas tax.
The Senate unanimously passed the gas tax bill Wednesday evening. The bill will now make its way to Governor Lamont for him to sign.
Eyewitness News 11 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The House voted to cut the state gas tax.
House lawmakers passed a suspension of the gas tax on Wednesday.
Lawmakers have an agreement, now they have to vote.
Some relief for high gas prices may soon be on the way for Connecticut drivers.
Gas tax vote preview