In his recent op-ed in support of highway tolls, Richard DeLuca fails to mention or makes just a passing mention of the raiding of gasoline tax revenue, and totally fails to mention that we have the hidden gas tax called the Gross Receipts Tax or GRT.
The GRT Tax was originally created to award funds for proper clean up of underground gasoline storage tank leaks which if left unchecked would have created an environmental nightmare for Connecticut. It should also be noted that the industry supported this fund with an all-voluntary board to award those funds. That board went further by punishing those that did not do proper clean-ups or had sloppy record-keeping — in some cases not awarding anything for clean ups. I know because I was a non-paid member of that board.
Let me make this very easy: Voters, Democrats and Republicans alike, remember the past of raiding the Special Transportation Fund. We are talking about billions of dollars, in fact, to date could be as much as $4 billion. Yep with a B!
With that said, I agree tolls are the way to go, but to insure raiding/robbing the fund will never ever happen again — because we don’t trust either side of the isle and the current lock box is like Swiss cheese with enough holes to drain it in a year –, the following must be done:
1. Eliminate the hidden gas tax called the gross receipts tax. That saves the voters who have been paying the tab and the ones who were robbed. It’s a break that makes sense.
2. The Transportation Lock box must be a real lock box that can only be changed by a voter referendum. That restores the trust that has been broken with the taxpayers of this state. If highway toll money is really going to only be used for transportation and not misdirected, what is the problem?
The only reason the governor or either party would not do this is if the real intent is to redirect the toll revenue like they have in the past. Both parties are too blame for this!
Now is the time to restore trust to those who pay the bills – the taxpayers of Connecticut. Period!
Michael J. Fox Sr. is Executive Director of the Gasoline and Automotive Service Dealers of America, Inc.