It’s safe to say our lives move on trucks. As a resident of Cheshire, I have to ask, why has State Liz Rep. Linehan voted into law measures that will hammer Cheshire’s biggest taxpayers and hike prices on everything from cereal to clothes, from petrol to home heating oil, even our beloved bedding plants.
In the past twelve months, Linehan has voted to pass the following:
HB6688, An Act Concerning Highway Use Fee. Set to take effect January 1, 2023, this law imposes heavy taxes on trucks in excess of 26,000 pounds. That’s everything from a box truck to a semi. The tax applies to all trucks that use Connecticut’s roads. (Well, almost. Municipal, state, and federal trucks get a pass. Of course.) Since the state has no way to collect the tax from out-of-state carriers, Connecticut’s trucking companies will be stuck with the tab.
SB4: An Act Concerning the Connecticut Clean Air Act. Passed in April, this bill will impose California’s truck emissions standards on trucks in excess of 10,000 pounds. That’s heavy pickups and vans all the way up to semis. The same bill requires the replacement of diesel engines with “clean” engines by 2050.
California was allowed by the feds to bypass EPA standards and set its own, stricter guidelines. States must choose to follow California or the EPA. Thirteen, including Connecticut, will follow California.
The cost of these laws will be staggering. Bozzuto’s Inc. has said in testimony that the highway usage tax alone will cost $1.3 million a year. The sticker on a truck equipped to meet the California emissions standards will run $60,000 more than a truck that complies with EPA regulations. And the current estimated cost of clean semi-tractor trailers is $500,000.
Many other states in the union value private enterprise and would gladly welcome a company that employs hundreds of people and contributes financially and civically to its community – a frightening prospect for Connecticut’s feeble economy. Yes, it’s expensive for a company to pick up stakes. But, eventually, the costs of staying becomes too much to bear. Just ask Elon Musk and Tesla.
The legislation that State Rep. Linehan and her fellow Democrats have so heartily supported allows for vouchers. Hint to these lawmakers: if you have to offer a voucher, the law you’re about to pass is probably too expensive. Fear not. The taxpayer will take care of it.
Bozutto’s is one company, albeit Connecticut’s largest carrier and Cheshire’s largest taxpayer. But what about AJ Hauling, Napoli Foods, or any of the countless Cheshire-based companies that transport freight within state lines? And what about all the other haulers across this state?
Given the number of mammoth blue and white Amazon centers consuming acerage across the state, Connecticut seems to have assumed the mantle of distribution capital of the Northeast. How do Democrats reconcile this incoherent economic policy? Perhaps it’s because they know we the citizens of the state foot the bill. Already operating on paper-thin margins, these companies will pass their costs on to their customers, who will, in turn, pass those billions of dollars on to us, the consumer.
July 1 saw Connecticut’s diesel fuel tax climb 23 percent to $49.5 cents per gallon. Yet we’ve heard nary a peep from State Rep. Linehan or any of her Democrat colleagues about ways to alleviate the inflationary impact of this increased cost on haulers or consumers.
State Rep. Linehan basks in the glow of the largess she has steered Cheshire’s way. She’s not alone. The final budget implementer is replete with goodies inserted by Democrats in the eleventh hour to boost re-election chances. When will voters demand that Linehan and her comrades explain these votes, which will cost us all dearly? In real time.