From Governor Ned Lamont
Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed into law House Bill 6001, a comprehensive bill that was approved by both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly in special session yesterday and extends several cost-saving measures first approved this spring that will provide financial benefits and savings to state residents in the coming months.
“I thank the legislature for their prompt support on a bipartisan basis for this bill that is focused on helping to make Connecticut more affordable for our residents,” Governor Lamont said. “We’re extending the gas tax holiday a little bit longer, providing energy assistance for those in need, and increasing the amount of funding available for the pandemic pay program for the essential workers who’ve showed up to work every day throughout the pandemic. During the upcoming regular session, it is my goal to continue advancing more policy changes like these that will make a difference in the lives of the people who live here.”
The legislation takes the following actions:
— Gas tax cuts: Extends through December 31, 2022, the ongoing suspension of the state’s 25 cent-per-gallon excise tax on gasoline. Beginning January 1, 2023, the tax will be phased back in over a period of five months at five cents per month. (Connecticut is one of only three states in the country that currently have a gas tax suspension in effect.)
— Fare-free bus service: Extends through March 31, 2023, the ongoing suspension of the collection of fares on public transit buses statewide. (This is the maximum date that complies with 12-month length-of-time federal restrictions for temporary public transit pilot programs.)
— Increased energy assistance: Supplements this year’s $98.5 million of federal Low-Income Household Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) funding with an additional $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to the Connecticut Department of Social Services. This additional state-directed funding substantially mitigates the impact of unusually high energy prices and will help ensure that funding for the state’s energy assistance program (the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program or CEAP) is available to low-income households.
— Increased funding for the Premium Pay Program: Supplements the $30 million for the Premium Pay Program, which is providing payments to essential workers for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an additional $75 million, bringing it to a total of $105 million.
— Updates to the bottle bill: Pushes out the effective date of recent changes to sections in the beverage container redemption program, commonly known as the bottle bill, to allow retailers, especially small retailers, to continue selling off their existing inventory without being in violation of the changes that are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2023.