Opinion: Mileage tax hypocrisy

Most of us have read the press reports about the governor’s “mileage tax,” which would charge each and every one of us for every mile we drive. The tax is lethal and should not even be considered.

Despite that, the governor and legislative Democrats need their money and they’ll get it any way they can. Tracking the miles we drive and taxing us on each mile is the governor’s answer. He is so committed to it that he has authorized a DOT study costing $300,000. For those keeping score, the state has no money. But the governor thinks spending $300,000 to design a new tax on us is worth the investment.

Those of us who balance our household budgets know that when income is down, spending has to decline. We eliminate some of the “nice to have” expenses so that we can afford the “need to have” essentials. That’s how we balance our budgets.

But that’s not how Hartford Democrats have historically operated. When expenses exceed revenue, they just seek out new taxes and fees. Hence, we see this proposed mileage tax.

Many Republicans and I have aggressively opposed this tax. A few weeks ago I released a 30-second video urging residents to contact the governor’s office to oppose the tax. The video has been seen nearly 100,000 times and the calls to the Capitol have been fast and furious. Many others in the legislature and throughout the state have applied pressure effectively, as well.

Of course, this is an election year and Democrats are feeling the heat. Recently, the Senate Democratic leader stated that he does not support the tax and that the concept will not be considered by the legislature. But talk is cheap and Hartford Democrats don’t exactly have the best record when it comes to keeping election year promises — particularly when those promises involve taxes.

Why is he not railing against the Governor’s $300,000 study? Why is he not demanding legislative action to block the expenditure? Why is he not standing up to the leader of his party, Gov. Malloy, and taking him to task? I don’t know the answers to these questions but these are all things he simply must do. We’re either serious about killing the mileage tax or we’re posturing about killing the mileage tax. We can’t do both.

So, let’s get serious. A $300,000 study about a poorly conceived tax is wasteful and wrong. The legislature needs to convene to block the expenditure immediately. The governor is out of touch and everyone needs to scream it in unison.

If we don’t all get on the bus to kill the mileage tax today, we’ll be stuck paying the mileage tax tomorrow.

Jason Perillo is a Republican state representative serving Shelton.