NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Adding jobs and cutting taxes are the top priorities as the new legislative session begins, said state Rep. Tom O'Dea, a Republican who represents New Canaan and Wilton.
The Connecticut General Assembly opened its short session last week. In short sessions, adjustments are made to the previous year’s approved budget, said O'Dea, who represents the 125th District.
“I am looking forward to the upcoming session – we certainly have a lot of work to do,” said O’Dea. “My focus for this session will be the same as the last one – increasing jobs and decreasing taxes. We need to work toward a business climate that promotes expansion and growth for all businesses.
"I applaud the governor’s proposals to provide Connecticut residents with some tax relief and to put money into the rainy day fund, but I think we need to aggressively look for ways to cut spending and decrease the size of state government.”
O’Dea previously introduced a measure that would temporarily cut Connecticut’s gas tax, currently the nation’s third highest at just less than 50 cents per gallon to a level below that of neighboring states. This would encourage residents near the border and motorists going through Connecticut to fuel up and spend money here as opposed to passing through or going into New York, Massachusetts or Rhode Island for gas, O'Dea said.
“While reducing the tax rate may result in a loss of revenue initially, if enough people who would otherwise fill up out of state fill up their tanks in Connecticut and buy other merchandise here, the added volume will make up the difference,” O’Dea said. "This legislation would reduce the gas tax by 26 cents a gallon, saving the average two-car family approximately $40 in a single month.
"If this tax cut ends up increasing revenues as a result of the increased volume of gasoline and associated goods sold, as I expect that it will, hopefully we can make the tax cut permanent. I ask that anyone who backs this proposal help spread the word and contact other legislators and the governor's office to express your support."
In addition to budget adjustments, the General Assembly can also consider issues such as mental health and school safety, the implementation the Common Core Standards in Connecticut’s public schools, the state’s long-term obligations and fiscal outlook, and the effects on the state of the Affordable Care Act, Republican legislators said.