House Speaker Jim Amann spent two weeks hammering a proposal by House Republicans to suspend the state gas tax for the summer. Last week he capped it off by implying that high gas prices help America fight terrorists. Then... suddenly, the House Democrats included the Gas Tax Holiday in their tax package. What happened? Did he negotiate with Al Qaeda?!?
That's right... after two weeks of refusing even to debate the GOP gas tax relief proposal, calling it alternately a "gimmick" that would save people "pennies," Amann treated us to this gem:
"If you care about yourselves as Americans, every time you fill up your pump you're not helping America out, you're helping out the enemies," he said. "Those monies that go to Iraq and Iran and all these other countries, they feed the terrorists." - Hartford Courant, May 25, 2007
Well then. What sinister plot could be at the back of what he feels is a pro-terror measure ending up in the Democratic tax package?
The answers are pretty clear. Amann realized that the GOP proposal, which saves everyone roughly $5 every time they fill their tank, was gaining enormous popularity. Amann pledged to never let the Gas Tax Holiday even get a debate or vote on the House floor this session, and he was looking like a fool. Further, the GOP had pledged to amend every possible bill with the Gas Tax Holiday, and eventually Amann would not be able to prevent a vote being taken on the measure. What could he do?
Amann, ever the cagey mountebank, decided to make the proposal a piece of the House Dem tax package which was also loaded with tax hikes on clothing (the Underpants Tax), funerals, cigarettes and other things. He could get his own caucus on the record supporting the Gas Tax Holiday, knowing two things:
1) He could cleverly get the House GOP to vote against their own proposal.
2) Governor Rell would veto this massive tax hike, and they could start over tomorrow.
Unfortunately for Amann, as House Republican Leader Larry Cafero pointed out in yesterday's debate, we all know where the Gas Tax Holiday came from, and we all know who railed against it for two weeks.
To further illustrate the point, House Dems once again voted against the Gas Tax Holiday in a GOP amendment which struck all the tax increases as well.
You may wonder what progress has been made in the last few days of the General Assembly. The answer is: NONE.
There is no budget. There is no gas tax cut. There is no eminent domain legislation. There is no 'Energize Connecticut' bill to help us on energy prices. It seems as if the more members the Democratic caucus has, the less they are able to do... they are a sprawling, overweight monster, rendered inactive under the heft of their own shifting blubber.
No, the Gas Tax Holiday does not support terrorists, and high gas prices do not help in the War on Terror. But you can be sure that the Democrats are continuing to wage their War on Business, and War on Taxpayers. And they are trying to plant an IED right in your wallet.