by PATRICK SASSER JANUARY 5, 2021

These prices were from January 2019.

Gov. Ned Lamont and his administration are once again looking for another way to impose more taxes on the poor and middle class in Connecticut. This time it’s a regional gas tax called the Transportation and Climate Initiative that will raise the gas prices an estimated 5 to 17 cents per gallon with the possibility of future increases in upcoming years.

TCI does this by creating a “cap and invest” mandate on gasoline producers and distributors, forcing them to purchase carbon allowances and then funneling the money to the state government to subsidize electric cars, bike paths, and “climate justice.”

The gasoline producers will naturally pass this cost down onto drivers, so what TCI really amounts to is another back-door tax on the working families of Connecticut.

TCI’s supporters claim it’s not a regional gasoline tax, just a fee imposed on gasoline producers, but this is simply playing word games. Take Connecticut’s petroleum gross receipts tax, for example. It’s a tax levied on oil companies — not residents — but the cost is passed onto consumers, so who really ends up paying for this tax? We do.

The Governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding on December 21, showing his support for this new revenue scheme. The real question is when will Gov. Lamont show his support for the hard-working people of Connecticut?

The average driver in Connecticut already pays a state gasoline tax, state gross receipts tax for oil and a property tax on his or her car — all for the privilege of driving to a job where that same person will work and pay a state income tax, a new Family and Medical Leave tax, property taxes on their home and a sales tax on virtually anything they buy. And that’s not even counting federal taxes.

The residents of this state are tapped out. Adding another tax on top of all the other taxes we pay will do more harm than good. The TCI tax will take over $100 million per year out of Connecticut drivers’ pockets to appease a group of climate activists.

The truth is that this initiative will do nothing to actually change the climate of the Earth and to think it will is foolish. What’s more likely than TCI changing the climate, however, is that it will enable Connecticut’s government to continue its spending spree.

To that end, the governor tried to implement tolls but failed. This new tax, with a new name with a pie-in-the-sky goal, is essentially exactly what tolls would have been — a cash grab for a state that can’t stop taxing and spending.

It may be difficult for a man of means, like Gov. Lamont, to understand the struggle of making a mortgage or rent payment, car payments, buying new clothes for your children, and putting food on the table, but ignorance and inexperience is no excuse. Gov. Lamont was elected to represent the people of this state, not wealthy activists and elitists hiding in Washington D.C.

Maybe it’s time Lamont spent a year or two on a modest income, an income that represents the majority of people trying to live and survive in our state who do not have access to his wealth. This may help him understand why people can’t afford to pay a penny more.

Our hopes now lie in our elected state representatives and senators to vote this new unnecessary tax down. I am hopeful others will join me and contact their elected officials to stop this new gas tax.

Patrick Sasser is the founder of No Tolls CT.org.