We are at a fiscal tipping point in Connecticut. I would be against the reintroduction of tolls. If you demand new streams of revenue without coming to understand why they cannot balance the budget with their current levels or without a 25 year plan, you are rewarding fiscal incompetence.
Tolls were removed in the late 80's as the result of public safety and environmental concerns. A tragic accident occurred in Stratford in 1983, when six motorists lost their lives while waiting to pay the nominal fee. This prompted a backlash against that form of revenue and ensured the political willpower to remove them under the auspices of the State Legislature and Governor William O'Neill.
The reason they enacted the Income tax was they argued they needed more funding because the tolls were removed. To bring the tariffs back also undermines that good faith. Once you put tolls back, once you incure that cost, you will increase our traffic problems, the result of poor long range planning, and you will never get rid of them again.
The legislative proposal, advanced by Ms Dillon, a health and human services advocate, will be referred to committee. Many health and human service programs in the state have been experiencing budgetary shortfalls in recent years and have grown exponentially in cost since their enactment.
Many of the programs, which have not achieved their ends, were proposed by the same Pat Dillon. Our structure is supposed to be strong enough to prevent such ludicrous proposals from gaining passage. She tried needle exchange, now can we exchange her for real leadership.
Among the questions which should be resolved prior to bill HB-5125, making it through transportation committee are: Where would such tolls be placed, as the old plazas were removed nearly thirty years ago; How might the individual representatives appeal a tariff increase and how much will these tolls be set at?
Tolls in the past were a primary source of revenue. At that time, the costs of government were significantly lower, and even without an Income tax, Indian Gaming, bottle deposits, lower administrative fees and less in federal aid, the State balanced its budget. Such a measure should only be considered in dire situations. There are no estates left in which to tax. We are literally painting ourselves into a budgetary corner, and once these monies are exhausted, we will be bankrupt with millions coming due in bonding, what then?
Some potential revenue generator sources, including the proposed sales tax on ammunitions, achieve public policy directives, while raising monies, and this I support. I will turn to my extensive network of public official contacts to oppose this dangerous measure, if need be.