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Connecticut GOP renew call for special legislative session on tax relief

Office of State Senator Kevin Kelly
Connecticut Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly is calling for a special session to pass tax relief measures to alleviate financial pressure caused by rising fuel prices.

Connecticut tax officials announced on Wednesday that the state’s diesel fuel tax would increase by 9 cents a gallon on July 1. Republicans have responded by renewing their call for a special session to pass additional tax relief.

They are proposing spending $750 million of the state’s $2.1 billion surplus on reducing the income tax rate from 5% to 4% for most low- to moderate-income earners. They’d also slightly reduce the sales tax and eliminate a highway mileage user tax for trucks.

“Maybe we can’t drive gas prices all the way down, but if we cut the income tax, and leave more money in people's pockets, that's better than saying we can’t do anything,” said Kevin Kelly, the state Senate minority leader.

Kelly said Democrats should allow a special session so action can be taken on these measures before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

“This is about bringing relief to families who are struggling with finances today," he said. "And we have $750 million worth of opportunity and what Republicans want to do is utilize that to bring whatever relief the state can to the people that need it most.”

To put pressure on Democrats, Kelly and his fellow Republicans are holding rallies at gas stations.

Democrats dismissed the Republican proposal. They say it's reckless because it takes the $750 million from scheduled debt payments. They say that would cost taxpayers for the next 25 years.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.