With gasoline prices soaring and inflation in general, Governor Lamont and the General Assembly suspended Connecticut’s gasoline tax until November 30, when the state elections will be passed. safe and there is nothing voters can do against reinstating the tax. But Keith Phaneuf of the Connecticut Mirror reports that two major transportation-related tax increases are still in the works.
The state’s diesel fuel tax, which is automatically adjusted each year to reflect changes in wholesale diesel fuel prices, is expected to rise sharply on July 1, as wholesale prices have more than doubled over the past year. The current tax, 40 cents per gallon, may increase by 10 cents or more.
In addition, on January 1, a new tax on large commercial trucks will take effect and will raise approximately $90 million per year.
Of course, the two tax increases will be immediately passed on to buyers of anything that comes into the state by truck – that is, most things – causing even more inflation, although for the most part people, taxes are hidden in the general cost of living.
Given that the state government has a huge treasury, largely due to billions of dollars in emergency federal aid, should the governor also call the legislature into special session to postpone increases in taxes on diesel and trucks? The governor likes to say he hasn’t raised taxes, but the upcoming tax increases more or less contradict him.
Meanwhile, Connecticut’s governor and congressmen are rushing around the state to grant and claim credit for various gifts that are funded by inflation, the federal government’s excessive money creation. Since inflation is the public’s biggest problem, these goodies may not confer the expected political benefit. While it’s rarely politically difficult to cut taxes, Democrats hate doing so because of the pressure it places on future spending.
So there will likely be no action on diesel and truck taxes unless Republicans have the wits to make it a campaign issue.
* * *
STUDENTS NOT AVAILABLE: Their union complains that Hartford teachers are unhappy with their work, and not just because they consider their pay insufficient – of course, it could never be high enough for them – but also because of the lack respect and even violence that teachers experience from students.
It used to be in Connecticut that a student who attacked a teacher or was otherwise incorrigible was expelled. But education policy is now to accept such disruption and keep incorrigible children to harm the education of everyone else, believing that it costs less than putting the incorrigible on the streets and risking bringing them into the criminal justice system.
Of course, when children realize that there is no punishment for misbehavior at school, they happily carry on, demoralizing everyone.
Just as student violence at Hartford schools is largely ignored, it is now forgotten that in January a 13-year-old student hid 40 bags of deadly fentanyl around his college in Hartford before suffering a fatal seizure from contact with the dope. It’s a miracle there were no more deaths.
Taken for granted, this misconduct degrades city schools and, increasingly, suburban and rural schools. Equipping schools with mental health clinics, as planned by the state government, is only a remedy at best. No one in authority dares to ask the crucial question: where do all the messed up kids come from?
* * *
EXCUSING CORRUPTION: New London Day columnist David Collins writes that although Connecticut’s Democratic state administration is corrupt and incompetent, especially when it comes to his State Pier project in the city, he could never vote Republican because the party harbors people who advocate the removal of voters and gun rights and might like to ban abortion and interracial and gay marriage.
Nationally, Republicans include these people, but by national standards, the Connecticut Republican Party is quite liberal and has long been shy to the point of irrelevance. There is little to no desire among Connecticut Republicans to support the potential policy changes that Collins worries about.
So if Republican extremism in other states is to prevent regime change in Connecticut, the Democratic corruption and incompetence Collins complains about can’t really bother him.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer.