Devlin and Kupchick vote against lockbox ‘gimmick’

State Reps. Laura Devlin and Brenda Kupchick expressed disappointment that a purported Transportation ‘lockbox’ proposal debated in the House of Representatives really was not much of a lockbox at all.

The lockbox is concept developed years ago by Republican lawmakers but now is being used by some in the majority to sell the idea installing tolls in our state.

During debate in the House of Representatives important facts came out that, the funds in lockbox language of the bill, revenue sources would not protected. In other words, this proposal would NOT prevent a future legislature form altering statutory language in such a way as to effectively remove one of the funding sources of revenue that feed into the fund.  

House Republicans along with Reps. Devlin and Kupchick offered their own tightly constructed lock box proposal that would guarantee the money is used for only transportation projects, but it was rejected after on a strict party-line vote by Democrats who resorted to parliamentary maneuvers to rule it out of order.

Rep. Kupchick said, “The residents of Connecticut, particularly Fairfield need to know that when they go to the polls in November 2018 and vote for a transportation lockbox, the lockbox they will be getting isn’t truly locked. People are tired of this type of nonsense in their government.”

During debate Rep. Devlin said, “This bill will not protect our state transportation dollars. The lockbox is not secure and can be picked with a bobby pin or in this case statutory language to change what a ‘revenue source’ is defined as in the Special Transportation Fund.”

Rep. Devlin voted for a stricter version of a Transportation Lockbox two months ago in the Transportation committee but that version was not put before the full House of Representatives.

By current law, the Special Transportation Fund pays for state highway and public transportation projects. It is supported by a number of revenue streams, including the motor fuels tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees (e.g., driver’s license fees), and surcharges on motor vehicle-related fines and penalties.

For example, Connecticut currently levies a 25-cents-per-gallon retail tax on gasoline, and the entire $511 million it raises currently is spent within the Special Transportation Fund.

With the resolution receiving a majority (76 votes) of the House of Representatives required, the question will now appear on the 2018 general election ballot. If a majority of Connecticut voters in the general election approve the amendment, it will become part of the State Constitution.

The ballot designation to be used when the amendment is presented at the general election is “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to ensure (1) that all moneys contained in the Special Transportation Fund be used solely for transportation purposes, including the payment of debts of the state incurred for transportation purposes, and (2) that sources of funds deposited in the Special Transportation Fund be deposited in said fund so long as such sources are authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state?”

State Representatives Laura Devlin (R-134) and Brenda Kupchick (R-132) .

State Representatives Laura Devlin (R-134) and Brenda Kupchick (R-132).

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