The stubborn gasoline tax: It’s hard to increase, hard to reduce

Despite substantial electoral risk, Connecticut’s legislature agreed last week to a budget that raises the sales tax, the personal income tax and taxes on alcohol, tobacco and hotels. But there was one increase that legislators deemed too great a risk. They rejected Governor Dan Malloy’s plan to increase the gasoline tax by three cents a gallon.
Sensitivity to raising gas taxes may come as no surprise. But cutting them can be problematic as well. Not far from Connecticut, the New Hampshire House voted last month to suspend five cents of its gas tax for two months. The bill now seems to be dead. Both Democratic Governor John Lynch and senators in the Republican majority said it would divert too much money from the state’s roads.
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