23 May 2007

House Republicans Try to Cut Gas Tax - Democrats On the Run

HARTFORD – House Democrats Wednesday refused to cut gasoline prices by 25 cents per gallon today when they resorted to legislative antics and blocked the Republicans' proposed Gas Tax Holiday that would provide millions of motorists much needed relief at the pump.

"When the Democrats had the chance to finally do something for taxpayers and anyone who drives in Connecticut they said 'No.' The Democrats are now on record as saying they don't care about lowering the price of gasoline, even if its just for three months,'' House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., of Norwalk said following the vote.

As promised, House Republicans presented an amendment to impose a three-month Gas Tax Holiday for the peak summer driving season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 25 cents per gallon that the state charges would be rolled back to zero and save motorists a total of $120 million for the Holiday. Republicans proposed the plan May 14 and said it could easily be paid for out of the newly discovered $846 million budget surplus.

As soon as Cafero finished introducing his amendment to a bill, the Democratic leadership immediately took the legislation off the floor of the House thereby preventing debate and sparing Democrats from casting a vote that will come back to haunt them

No transportation programs would be affected and the lost revenue that is used to back highway construction bonds would simply be replaced by the surplus money. Governor M. Jodi Rell also supported the idea. She has repeatedly said that if the legislature does not go along, she and her fellow Republicans will use gas tax proposal in the budget negotiations that have just begun.

"The Democrats have temporarily thwarted the will of the people by denying them a much-needed break at the pumps. I'm still hopeful that we can push this through if there is public pressure applied from outside the Capitol and through budget negotiations within,'' Cafero said

"Tax cut talk is cheap but gasoline is not. That's why the Democrats should have voted to do for this immediate 25-cent per gallon tax cut,'' Cafero added.