Connecticut lawmakers fret over diesel sales drop

| Monday, October 14, 2002

Connecticut lawmakers gathered in Hartford on Thursday claiming the state's new 26-cents-per-gallon diesel fuel tax that took effect Aug. 1 has caused a sharp drop in sales and must be repealed.

Reps. Peter Panaroni Jr. (D-Branford), James A. Amann (D-Milford) and other lawmakers called for a repeal of the state's 8-cent fuel tax hike that's designed to bring in an additional $25 million this fiscal year. They charged that during August, there was a nearly 5.5-million-gallon decrease in diesel fuel sales, compared to July.

But Gov. John G. Rowland said he doesn't favor repeal and believes the state 's current diesel fuel tax is "competitive with neighboring states."

Panaroni, who is vice chairman of the legislature's Transportation Committee, said the drop in diesel consumption meant the state's diesel tax revenue saw only a net gain of $86,583 in August despite the tax increase.

Amann and Panaroni are working for repeal of the tax increase with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, most of whom represent towns along the I-95 corridor where major truckstops are located.

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