HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut General Assembly will meet in a special session next week to discuss issues such as extending the state’s gas tax holiday, adding more funding to an energy assistance program, and modifying the “bottle bill.”
The lawmakers are also set to discuss free bus fares and “hero pay” when they meet on Monday.
“I’m asking the legislature to extend for several additional months the suspension of Connecticut’s gas tax that has been in effect since April, as well as the waiving of fares on all public transit buses,” Lamont said in a written announcement. “Additionally, I am proposing to allocate more funding to our energy assistance program to ensure that we can meet the needs of our residents, and make available more funding for the Premium Pay program for essential workers. These actions can help provide more immediate relief for Connecticut residents as consumers across the country are facing rising prices due to a number of international dynamics and market instability that go far beyond our state.”
Calling the General Assembly in for the special session is his first executive action since being reelected earlier this month. The gas tax holiday is scheduled to expire at the end of the month. Lamont is asking for it to extend through the end of the year, and then be phased back at five cents per month over a period of five months.
Among his other requests is increasing the fund for “hero pay,” which was a bonus of up to $1,000 promised to essential workers during the pandemic, to increase from $30 million to $90 million — a boost that still will not be enough to fund the program fully.
He asks for the free bus fares service to extend through March 30. The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program may also see funds from the ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds to supplement the program in the wake of rapidly rising heating costs.
He also wants the bottle bill to go into effect on Jan. 1 in order to allow retailers to sell off existing inventory.