Governor Lamont Takes First Executive Action Since Re-Election: Calls Legislature Into Special Session for Gas Tax Cuts, Fare-Free Bus Service, Increased Energy Assistance and Pandemic Premium Pay, and Updates to Bottle Bill
Special Session Scheduled for Monday, November 28, 2022
(HARTFORD, CT) – In his first executive action since being re-elected to a second term earlier this month, Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is calling the Connecticut General Assembly into special session for the purpose of extending the duration of cuts on gasoline taxes, as well as the suspension of fares on all public transit buses. Additionally, he is asking the legislature to approve more funding for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and Premium Pay Program, and also modify the effective date of sections in the container redemption program, commonly known as the bottle bill.
“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,” Governor Lamont said. “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.”
Connecticut’s 25 cent-per-gallon excise tax on gasoline and the collection of fares on all public transit buses have been suspended since April 1, 2022, due to legislation Governor Lamont signed into law earlier this year. However, both of those measures are set to expire on November 30, 2022. Governor Lamont is asking the legislature to approve legislation that extends the full gas tax suspension through December 31, 2022, and then phases it back in over a period of five months at five cents per month beginning January 1, 2023. He is also asking them to provide funding to extend statewide fare-free bus service through March 30, 2023, which is the maximum date that complies with 12-month length-of-time federal restrictions for temporary public transit pilot programs.
Connecticut is one of only three states in the country that have a gasoline tax suspension currently in effect, with the other two being Georgia (scheduled to expire December 11, 2022) and New York (scheduled to expire December 31, 2022). Florida and Maryland also suspended their gasoline taxes for brief periods earlier this year, however those states have since let them go back into effect.
To ensure that the Department of Social Services has the funding necessary this winter for households eligible for CEAP, Governor Lamont is proposing to allocate ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds to supplement the program in response to this year’s unusual price pressures.
Governor Lamont is also asking the legislature to increase funding for the Premium Pay Program, which is providing payments to essential workers for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic, from $30 million to $90 million.
Finally, the governor is asking the legislature to push out the effective date of changes to the state’s bottle bill to allow retailers, especially small retailers, to sell off their existing inventory without being in violation of the changes that are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2023.
The governor’s special session call requires the legislature to convene at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 28, 2022.
**Download: Governor Lamont’s call of special session