The tax would charge Connecticut motorists for every mile they drive. The tax is progressive, in that the more you drive, the more you pay.
This would, at first blush, seem to make sense as a way to raise money to repair roads and bridges. People who use those roads and bridges more often would pay more than those who drive less.
Currently, money for road and bridge repair is supposed to be raise by the state gasoline tax. Connecticut has two such taxes, collecting a flat 25-cent tax at the pump, and an 8.1% "gross receipts tax" that gets passed on to consumers at the pump. The gross receipts tax, however, is variable, because it is applied to the price of gasoline, Gas prices fluctuate, so the tax raises less revenue when prices fall.
The other problem with the gasoline tax is that autos now get better gas mileage, requiring fewer fill ups, and electric vehicles use no gasoline at all. That has prompted legislators to consider alternatives. Enter the mileage tax.
State officials, however, have stated that a mileage tax is not actually being considered, and many state legislators say that, even if it were, it would be "dead on arrival." That's seems to be because the average citizen doesn't want the government monitoring their mileage (and who knows what else).
I, however, have a theory about why the state is participating in this mileage tax study. I have no evidence to support my theory, no insider information, just a gut instinct. Yet I'm confident my theory has validity.
Simply put: All this talk of the mileage tax, which the average taxpayer clearly does not want, makes proposing something else much less onerous, if not actually more appealing.
That something else? Tolls.
Compared to a mileage tax, placing tolls at the state's borders seems much more reasonable. New York and Massachusetts already have them, meaning Connecticut residents who drive there already subsidize road and bridge repair in those two states. So why not have NY and Mass. drivers do the same for us. And if you never, or rarely, drive to NY or Mass., you don't have to pay a toll.
That now sounds a lot more reasonable than the mileage tax, doesn't it? To me, that's the real goal of this supposedly pointless study.