OP-ED | Mileage Tax? Don’t Even Bother Studying It
I am a life-long Democrat and have voted the straight party line for some time. In addition, I have lived in Connecticut my entire life. That is why I am absolutely aghast that the democratically controlled General Assembly is considering resurrecting the mileage tax.
As I understand it, the Transportation Committee in the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut is looking at a mileage tax as one consideration being floated along with several other revenue generating measures to provide funding for Gov. Malloy’s infrastructure program. While I applaud the Governor for the vision to realize that the infrastructure required for the transportation network in the state needs updating, it needs to be delayed given the state’s budgetary crisis which may or not be fixed given the lack of credibility of revenue estimates that the state has received of late. In addition, in my opinion, widening I-95 would only invite more traffic causing safety and environmental concerns while taking valuable resources away from improving mass transit — particularly the rail system.
It is believed that this tax on mileage is not being given a high priority of passing at this time but there is nothing that precludes it from becoming a reality after the November elections. After that, elected General Assembly members cannot be recalled and are therefore untouchable for two years. Contact the members of the Transportation Committee and let them know this is a bad idea.
It just doesn’t make sense to do this. The gas tax is essentially a usage tax and to incorporate a mileage tax on top of that would be redundant and economically crippling to a state that is facing all kinds of financial and demographic issues.
Who are some groups that might be negatively affected by this? I am thinking just about everyone since Connecticut is such a small state, commuting is a necessary evil. In particular, students who commute and are already incurring debt; the elderly which are already being driven from the state by its costliness; businesses would incur additional expenses as reps and deliveries would be costlier; and, finally, families that are trying to give their children a better life at the same time as take care of elderly family members. Maybe exemptions could be carved out but that would only create claims of discrimination and favoritism. For example, suppose one of those possible exemptions was given to the very state legislators that initiated such a tax. Finally, how do we track and tax vehicles traversing the state?
It is my firm hope that the General Assembly will not go down this path and that the voting public should hold them accountable if they do.
Robert A. Cuozzo is a Guilford resident.
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