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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Conn. legislators head into session on gas tax, other issues

    HARTFORD (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers are set to discuss gasoline taxes, heating-bill help, pandemic pay for essential workers and other issues when they convene Monday for a special legislative session.

    Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday he was calling the General Assembly into session to help Connecticut residents cope with “rising prices due to a number of international dynamics and market instability.”

    His proposals include extending the suspension of Connecticut's 25-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. The suspension is currently set to end Nov. 30. The Democratic governor wants to keep the tax on hold through the end of the year, and then start adding back 5 cents per month until hitting the prior 25-cent-per-gallon amount in May.

    The governor also is asking the Democrat-led Assembly to put more money into Connecticut's heat and utility assistance program for eligible households; to extend free public bus fares through March 30; and to allow stores to sell off their existing inventory amid forthcoming changes to the state's returnable-bottle-deposit law.

    Lamont also wants to triple funding — to $90 million — for “hero pay” for eligible, private-sector essential workers who helped Connecticut get through the coronavirus pandemic.

    The $30 million program was initially expected to provide up to $1,000 to eligible health care professionals, grocery store employees and certain others who worked in-person between March 10, 2020, and May 7, 2022. But applications are so numerous that there's concern that the benefit might max out at $233, unless funding is boosted.

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