Don’t Hold Your Breath for Special Session on Gas Tax Increase

Republican state lawmakers fanned out pretty much all over the state asking people at gas stations to sign a petition urging Gov. Dannel Malloy to call a special session of the General Assembly to stave off a scheduled increase in the state gas tax. It might be a clever political ploy but nothing more. There will be no special session.

The Rs have a credibility problem on this one. The 4-cent per gallon tax increase taking affect next Monday is part of schedule voted into law in 2005. Both Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero voted for the bill and Republican Gov. Jodi Rell signed it.

Cafero explains his vote for the increase by saying 2005 was a different time and a different economy. Well, of course it was. Did he think back in 2005 that things would be the exactly the same when the increase he was voting for would take effect in 2013?

Additionally, Cafero and McKinney had four more years under Gov. Rell to change the schedule and avoid the tax increase. They didn’t. They waited until the 11th hour to score points with the motoring public already besieged with a difficult economy.

Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba responded, “In 2005, Senator McKinney and Representative Cafero both voted in favor of the bill that scheduled this change, and it was signed into law by a Republican governor. Can someone please notify the credibility police?” Indeed.

There is, of course, a political aspect to this. Both McKinney and Cafero are contemplating a run for governor, the former more likely and credible than the latter. They are apparently counting on some folks, come election time, will think back and say, “Hey, this is the guy that asked me to sign a petition to stop the gas tax increase. I’m for him.” Then again, voters tend to be a little smarter than that.