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Connecticut gas tax cut proposed to be extended to Dec. 1

The governor also announced a deal was reached on the state budget and tax cuts.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont announced in an afternoon press conference Wednesday that he and legislative leaders plan to extend the gas tax cut to December 1.

Lamont said he expects gas prices to stay high for a little longer and this continuation would bring some relief to taxpayers. 

"That's going to cost about $150 million out of our transportation reserves. But we've got extra transportation reserves right now going forward," said Lamont. "As you know, I've expressed concern over time that we also have additional expenses out of the transportation fund. With the federal money, infrastructure money coming in, we got to be able to pay our share. I think we have the reserves necessary to do that."

The cut was enacted on April 1 and scheduled to expire on July 1. 

RELATED: Connecticut lawmakers debate on tax cuts as bill advances to appropriations committee

Lamont and his fellow Democrats also announced they have reached a broad agreement on a revised one-year state budget proposal that includes nearly $500 million in tax reductions. It must be approved by the legislature before the session ends on May 4. 

The $24.2 billion plan, slated to take effect in the midst of the election season on July 1, also includes substantial new spending for mental health programs for children and early childhood programs, which have struggled to pay workers competitive wages while ensuring services are affordable to families, lawmakers said.

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There are what Lamont termed significant tax cuts that will help working families and the middle class, such as eliminating income tax on pensions and 401Ks.

The proposal also makes $2 billion in payments to help reduce state pension debt, according to the legislators, who have not yet released any documents. 

Lamont and the Democrats have not yet settled how much of the state's share of federal COVID-19 funds will be spent in this budget, including how much of that money will be set aside for pandemic pay for essential workers and to reduce the $493 million debt in the state's unemployment trust fund.  

RELATED: Connecticut Senate lawmakers pass new labor deal with bonuses for state workers

While GOP leaders have expressed support for tax reductions, they've called for more immediate changes that will help families struggling with rising inflation. They've also called for larger tax cuts, suggesting Connecticut join Republican states and challenge limitations that the federal pandemic relief law imposed on states seeking to cut taxes.

“I think we need broad-based tax relief,” said House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, shortly before the Democrats' announcement. “Just to give tax breaks to people only with children is short-sided. It's everybody that's suffering.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.


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