In the disingenuous politics of General Assembly Democrats, there is no better political play than that which allows them to co-opt a popular Republican proposal, but not have to live with the consequences of it actually becoming law. Such was the case around midnight in the Senate Circle, as Senate Democrats, who were roundly critical of the House GOP Gas Tax Holiday, suddenly became advocates of the measure, knowing full well they'll never see it enacted.
Indeed, Senate Democrats joined Senate Republicans last night in a 35-1 vote to pass the Gas Tax Holiday. But wait! Senator Martin Looney didn't want the bill to be immediately transmitted to the House. He wanted it transferred to the Appropriations Committee. He reasoned that the bill being amended with the Gas Tax Holiday had been to that committee so it should go back.
That bill had incidentally also previously been to The General Law Committee and the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee. With one week left in the legislative session, the chance of this bill making it through three committees and then being called in the House for a vote are next to none. The bill can be amended in one committee, required to come back to others, or back to the Senate.
The intention of the Democrats is barely even concealed. The slickly mustachioed Senator Don Williams and the Senate Democrats are now able to go back home to their constituents this summer and tell them how much they wanted to have that Gas Tax Holiday and that they voted for it! Oh, but alas, time just ran out in the session, and they were powerless to implement it. Make no mistake... that is the common refrain that you will hear from each and every one of these third-rate actors.
They think the public is stupid enough to buy it. Unfortunately, everyone knows that legislative Democrats, especially House Speaker Jim Amann, have spent the last two weeks vigorously railing against the measure. He called the Gas Tax Holiday a Republican "gimmick" that would only save people pennies, and then he went so far last week as to claim that buying gasoline fuels terrorism, suggesting that high gas prices are good for America; an unusually dumb comment even from him.
People also know that General Assembly Democrats have the power to make anything happen, since they have a supermajority. Excuses like time running out just don't cut it.
Because time is running out on a lot of things. It's running out on and energy bill for instance. With over a year to work on hammering out a plan, it appears that a 1700 page bill will be dropped on legislators' desks perhaps next week if at all, with the session scheduled to end midnight on Wednesday the 6th. What, I wonder, will be the excuse then?
In the meantime, their super numbers will have done nothing to help Connecticut motorists, or abate high energy costs.