Freshman senator from Westbrook still opposed to gas tax hike

Hartford — Over the past month, state Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, gathered 1,150 signatures from people who oppose the scheduled increase of the gross receipts tax at the gas pump.

The gross receipt tax is scheduled to increase to 8.1 percent from 7 percent on July 1 and is projected to provide the state with $60 million in revenue. It is estimated to increase the price of gasoline by 4 cents per gallon.

The increase was designed and passed under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

"We feel it is not unreasonable to ask to have prevented this tax hike from happening," Linares said on Wednesday, the same day that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the $37.6 billion biennial budget bill, which includes the gross receipts tax hike.

Connecticut's gasoline tax rate is already one of the highest in the country.

"He signed the budget, so that is his choice, I guess," Linares said. Linares added that he voted against the budget and would be walking the petition over to the governor's office. The petition is still available on Linares' website.

Now that Malloy has signed the budget, Linares said he and his staff would have to take another look at it.

"Ultimately, I think this tax hurts everyone and it is unfair, and that is why I took a chance at creating this petition," Linares said.

As of Jan. 1, Connecticut's gasoline tax rate was 45 cents per gallon, according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit.

j.somers@theday.com

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