My mother drove down from Massachusetts this past weekend and said something that is becoming a real problem for our state. “I had to get gas before I crossed the state line because it is so expensive here,” she said. This coming from a woman who lives in a state that used be called “Taxachusetts.”
Connecticut now has higher taxes than Massachusetts on gas, wine, beer, cigarettes, sales, and the list goes on.
The Connecticut gas tax stands at $.44 a gallon. In Massachusetts, it is only $.24 cents. For thousands of Connecticut taxpayers it makes sense to go north of the border and save some cash. A few of our employees live in border towns and gas up in the Bay State. FIlling up a 20 gallon tank saves you $4.00! A few tankfuls a week and you really rack up the savings.
For those of you who live along the Rhode Island state line, go into the Ocean State to fill up. The tax there is $.32 a gallon. New York’s gas tax is slightly less than ours at $.41 a gallon.
We have the second highest gas tax in the nation. California is a penny higher, but when our tax climbs later this year, Connecticut will be king of the gas tax nation. Lucky us.
Question is, how did we get to this high gas tax? Two key events led to the steady growth of the gas tax. In 1983 The Mianus River Bridge collapse in Greenwich necessitated millions of dollars in badly needed (and overdue) highway improvements. The gas tax helped pay for the work. That same year a truck driver named Kluttz (I’m not kidding) crashed into a toll plaza on I-95 in Stratford, killing seven people. The tolls were banished and the gas tax was raised to make up for the lost revenue.
So here we are a quarter century later with a gas tax that is sending local gas prices above the $4.00 mark. What can be done?
Call your state lawmaker and tell him or her to work on getting the tax on a par with the rest of New England. Personally, I think they ought to consider putting tolls at the border and dropping the tax. Think of all the money outsiders would be pouring into the state coffers. If you want an idea go to the Mass Pike on a Sunday when tens of thousands of drivers are paying the state of Massachusetts moments before driving into Connecticut. What do we get from that? Nada, Nothing, Zippo. With EZ-Pass, it is easy money….easy money to which Connecticut is saying “no thank you.”
In theory those drivers passing through could gas up in Connecticut and pay that tax, but…naaaah. The word is out. Don’t buy your gas in Connecticut.
Would you buy a gallon of milk from a store that sold it for $4.39 or from the store across the street where the price is $4.19?