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Connecticut lawmakers discuss best way forward to provide gas price relief

Republicans propose suspending a gas tax, Democrats opt for a rebate

HARTFORD, Conn — State leaders and lawmakers finally broke their deafening silence Thursday on what to do about gas prices. Both parties say they have a plan to lower them, but they don’t agree on the best method to deliver cost savings. 

And while the political parties squabble over how to do it, voters told FOX61 they just want it to get done. Kitchen table economics are more complicated these days as families struggle to juggle groceries, utility rent, and gas prices.

RELATED: How gas prices might be impacting travel plans

Still, if you are seeking relief from pain at the pump, state Republican lawmakers say they have a plan. 

“To immediately suspend the state’s gross receipts tax on gasoline,” remarked State Sen. Kevin Kelly. The savings is 26.4-cents off every gallon.

Federal Democratic lawmakers say they have a plan. 

“Let’s suspend the federal gas tax,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. It’s a savings of 18.4-cents a gallon.

“This is quite frankly a no-brainer,” added Sen. Kelly. 

But Gov. Lamont doesn’t seem to think so. 

“You gotta ask them. How much does it cost? They don’t have an answer to that. How would you pay for it? They don’t have an answer to that. Those are all my jobs as Governor,” responded Lamont.

And while it’s true that the state would have to figure out how to supplement some of the loss of revenue, regular people are every day having to figure out how to pay for more, with less. 

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With inflation driving tax revenues to a record budget surplus, Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski say we can afford it. 

“He’s collected more money from taxpayers than he needs which is why we have billion-dollar surpluses but we need to give it back to the people Matt, they need it,” said Stefanowski.

In addition to spending the gross receipts tax, Stefanowski is proposing suspending the .25-cent / gallon excise tax. Republican state lawmakers haven’t backed that idea just yet. Meanwhile, Gov. Lamont outlined his idea. 

“We can afford to do a forgiveness or a gas tax holiday or some type of a rebate,” Lamont said.

RELATED: Connecticut consumers should expect gas prices to continue rising

Gov. Lamont said that rebate would be a check cut directly to vehicle owners. But he didn’t specify an amount. He also didn’t have a time frame in mind for how long a gas tax holiday would last.

Republicans have proposed suspending the gross receipts tax until July.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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