Photo of Senator Kushner.

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Representing Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield

Sen. Kushner Votes To Extend Cost-Saving Measures For Ct Residents Into 2023

Extension of gas tax cut and free bus fares; increased funding for pandemic worker bonuses and home heating assistance


State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) today joined the state Senate in a unanimous and bipartisan vote to extend important, cost-saving measures first approved by Democrats last spring that will now provide more than $200 million in additional financial benefits to state residents in the coming months.

"We had a number of valuable, cost-saving measures that were set to expire, and we took action to extend those cost savings to Connecticut residents for several more months," Sen. Kushner said. "It was a good day here in the legislature to help make like a little better for people."

Sen. Kushner joined a bipartisan and unanimous Senate vote to extend Connecticut's gas tax cut into 2023, saving motorists another $90 million through May 1. That existing 25 cents per-gallon gas tax holiday will be phased out gradually, avoiding a financial cliff and allowing for residents to acclimate to price shifts. The gas tax will increase 5 cents per-gallon, per-month, from January 1 to May 1.

Sen. Kushner also voted with her colleagues to allocate $75 million for a state program aiding essential workers who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program – first championed by Sen. Kushner in the spring 2022 legislative session - adds $75 million to the pandemic worker bonus fund, which will pay out bonuses of up to $1,000 to more than 130,000 residents who worked in essential in-person roles during the pandemic. That fund, initially budgeted at $35 million, will see its allocation swell to $105 million to ensure workers receive bonuses they were promised. Payments will be reorganized by income brackets; workers earning under $50,000 will receive $1,000, with bonus amounts reduced gradually among increasing income brackets.

Sen. Kushner also voted to invest an additional $30 million in Connecticut's home heating oil assistance programs, in particular the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program; the vote adds to the $97 million in existing state and federal aid already dedicated to helping Connecticut residents pay for winter heating costs.

Sen. Kushner and the Senate today also voted to maintain free bus fares for state residents through April 1, and to ensure that retailers' existing inventories of beverage containers not marked for recycling can continue to be sold after January 1, when Connecticut's new bottle laws take effect.