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House Republicans hint a cut in gas tax could bring support for tolls


Connecticut gets a new Governor Wednesday but it is also the start of the 2019 General Assembly Session. Besides that huge state budget deficit there are dozens of other proposals from highway tolls to legalizing marijuana on the agenda for action in the coming months

While there’s change at the top in the Governor’s office, and a lot more Democrats in the General Assembly, the leadership team that Governor Lamont will deal with is the same one that Malloy had over the past 4 years.

Representative Joe Arisimowicz of Berlin will be confirmed for another term as Speaker of the House on Wednesday and Senator Martin Looney of New Haven will be confirmed for another term as State Senate President Pro tem.

Republican Len Fasano of North Haven will be tapped to be the Minority Leader in the Senate and Representative Themis Klarides of Derby in the House.  Because the Democrats now have much greater numbers in both chambers,  the Republicans’ influence will be diminished.  Klarides saying,  “All we have heard from our colleagues on the other side of the isle has been more, bigger, and let’s expand.”

Those issues the Democrats are pushing are; the $15 per hour minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, and legal, recreational marijuana for adults over age 21.  Senator Looney says those are all a major push for Democrats adding,  “We have been advocating in the Senate for a long time and actually have passed paid family and medical leave, we are very strongly in favor of that.”  They’re  all issues that Lamont spoke of favorably in the campaign and in recent interviews.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Southeastern Connecticut has filed a bill for sports betting, Lamont is also on board.  Lamont’s policy committee recommended that a hike in the gas tax and
tolls for cars and trucks be on the table.  Lamont continues to only support tolling out of state trucks.   Clearly tolls are on the agenda.  Republicans are now hinting their could be support for tolls if there’s a significant cut in the Gas Tax.  Deputy House Republican Leader Vin Candelora (R-North Branford) saying,  “If we’re going to hoist another tax onto the residents then we need to look at an offset to the Gas Tax and maybe people would support it.”

Republicans are also suggesting that the state could save some money on transportation if some of the off peak hour busses on the New Britain to Hartford Fastrak line were eliminated.

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