MAYOR CALLS FOR LEGISLATURE TO SHIFT FOCUS FROM ELIMINTATING INCREASE IN GAS TAX TO REINSTATING FUNDING FOR EARLY READING SUCCESS DURING SPECIAL SESSION
(6/10/2008) NEW HAVEN- As the State Legislature prepares to meet in Special Session tomorrow, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. has asked leaders to shift their focus from eliminating the half-percent increase in the gas tax and to instead attributing funds that would be identified for that cut to reinstate funding for Early Reading Success.
“Early Reading Success is a grant program geared at improving literacy in the state’s poorest performing school districts. The Early Reading Success program has yielded exemplary results in New Haven and has truly made a difference in the lives of our students,” said DeStefano in a letter to Democratic Leadership. “The loss of this grant will result in New Haven losing 19 literacy mentors and 10 paraprofessionals. It will impact 4,300 students. This is a dire loss to our city and our young people.”
In 2003, the State instituted a gross receipts tax on the wholesale cost of gas scheduled to increase steadily by half of a percent annually. On July 1, 2008, the tax is expected to increase from seven percent to seven-and-a-half percent. “While we are sensitive to the needs of families during these difficult economic times, we recognize that the elimination of this half-percent increase would save consumers anywhere from three to four cents per gallon at the pump at a time when costs are going up in dollars. If the legislature is going to make spending cuts in the budget to make up for the $25 million that this change would cost the State, we’d rather they use those resources to reinstate the $20 million in funding for Early Reading Success, a program with results that, at the end of the day, mean much more for our community and the State’s economy—getting us a bigger return on the dollar.”
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