GOP Forces Hearing on Proposal to Eliminate Highway Use Tax
HARTFORD—House Republicans have used a parliamentary procedure to circumvent Democrat opposition to a bill that would save inflation-weary businesses and residents money by eliminating the new highway use tax (HUT) on heavyweight trucks.
Republicans petitioned to raise H.B. 5290, An Act Eliminating the Highway Use Tax, after the Finance Committee’s Democratic leadership refused to even hear it. Republicans on Tuesday secured the required 51 petition signatures to force a public hearing on the bill.
“Many members of the General Assembly proposed this legislation on behalf of their constituents, and the committee’s failure to raise the bill meant a large swath of Connecticut residents would be silenced,” said Rep. Holly Cheeseman (R-37), House Ranking Member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. “That’s unacceptable given the far-reaching, negative impact this tax will have on the cost of living here, and I’m thrilled my caucus colleagues joined me in petitioning to deliver a public hearing that will give everyone an opportunity to be heard on the most important issue we face—affordability.”
Passed by Democrats in 2021, the HUT is levied according to a truck’s weight, classification and number of miles traveled in Connecticut. Targeted truck owners are required to obtain a permit to remit payments to the state, and it’s expected to generate $90 million in annual revenue. The HUT became effective Jan. 1, and businesses subjected to the tax are expected to make their first payments to the state on Feb. 28.
“Before this legislation was adopted, we heard over and over from trucking company owners who warned us of the trickle-down impact of this tax, which will cause residents to pay more for basic services and goods such as groceries,” House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-86) said. “Now that we’ve raised our bill, Democrats who have gotten more comfortable talking about the affordability crisis they helped create should put their money where their mouths are and encourage citizens and business owners in their districts to testify when a hearing date is set.”