State Sen. Kevin C. Kelly helped gather more than 60 signatures for a petition to try to stop increases in the state gas tax and diesel fuels tax at a Shelton gas station on Monday.
Kelly, who represents Shelton, was joined by state Rep. Dave Rutigliano of Trumbull during the two-hour signature collection drive at the Citgo Food Bag station on River Road (lower Route 110).
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 14,000 people statewide had signed the petition being distributed by Republican public officials in Connecticut.
‘Enough is enough’
“After speaking with people throughout our communities, I heard loud and clear that enough is enough,” Kelly said. “On July 1, the gas tax is scheduled to increase by 16%, forcing families to make tough decisions at the gas pump and the grocery store.
“With your support, I plan to submit these signatures to the governor’s office to show how many people oppose this tax increase,” he said. “We simply cannot continue to increase the burden on our middle-class families.”
Expect 4-cents-per-gallon price hike
According to a release from Kelly’s office, the gas tax in Connecticut is currently about 22 cents higher than in neighboring states like Massachusetts.
The July 1 gas tax hike would raise prices at the pump by about 4 cents per gallon, states the release.
The petroleum gross receipts tax is a hidden state tax on gasoline that motorists pay above and beyond the state excise tax (25 cents per gallon) and federal excise tax (18.4 cents per gallon).
The gross receipts tax is a percentage of the wholesale price of gasoline and is scheduled to increase from 7% to 8.1% on July 1, which amounts to a 16% increase.
According to the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, the average wholesale price of gasoline in Connecticut is currently $2.82 per gallon and Connecticut state taxes on a gallon of gasoline total 45 cents.
Impact on trucking, cost of goods
Also on July 1, Connecticut’s diesel fuel tax, which is based on the petroleum gross receipts tax rate, is scheduled to increase by 3.5 cents per gallon.
Kelly said this will increase trucking and transportation costs, causing a ripple effect that will increase consumer costs on everything from groceries and clothing to construction, as well as other goods and services.
Republicans offered alternatives
Republicans in the legislature made proposals this year in committee and in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives to eliminate the tax hike, and — according to Kelly’s release — they proposed several options to replace the lost revenue.
“I repeatedly supported proposals to reverse this burdensome tax increase and replace it with responsible ways to balance the budget without tax increases,” Kelly said.
With the petition drive, he said, he hopes “these signatures will help persuade the governor to stop the tax increase. Many thanks to Rep. Rutigliano, the Citgo Food Bag gas station and the dozens of people who went out of their way to sign our petition.”
To sign the petition
For more information or to sign an online petition, go to www.AxeTheGasTaxCT.com.
Kelly is in his second term representing the 21st Senate District, which includes all of Shelton as well as parts of Monroe, Seymour and Stratford. Kelly lives in Stratford and is an attorney.