An Eye On Ackert, Part 2 – Inmates, Taxes and More

ackertYesterday our eyes were on State House Representative (R) Tim Ackert as your voice in Hartford.  Today we’ll take a look at some of his ideas concerning the treatment of the psychiatric disabled, revisions for the gasoline taxes and the treatment of prison inmates.

The price of gasoline has again been sky rocketing upward.   Yesterday I passed at station in CT selling gasoline at $3.97 and I later purchased in Rhode Island at $3.69.  That makes me wonder, what is Tim doing about the price of gasoline?

Years ago Connecticut had a single “motor vehicle fuels tax” collected on every gallon of gasoline pumped at the local station.  Then in 1981 a second tax called the “gross earnings tax” was add. The original legislation imposed a 2% gross earnings tax on any wholesale and retail dealers in this state. The act included a provision prohibiting companies from passing the tax on to consumers, but that provision was just a political smoke and mirrors trick later struck down in the courts as illegal.  The tax remains today at 7% and is scheduled to increase to 8.1% this coming July.

Rep. Ackert has proposed an amendment to combine the taxes (HB 5871).  This would make the tax more transparent for consumers and reduce cost of collections.  While this proposal falls a bit short of reduction in taxes most people would want, even this idea has almost no chance of passing into law this year.

While Connecticut taxpayers pay higher taxes on gasoline than other states it is not the only area we excel, we also pay higher costs for operation of our prison system.  Tim is offering a practical solution to lower the cost.  He proposes, (HB 5945) to place any inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration of eight years or more to serve that time in an out-of-state correctional institution whenever such placement is possible.

Now that is not a bad idea, but he may want to include a proviso of economic advisability.  Government often does things that are possible but not always economically so let’s make sure the taxpayers are protected against an increased burden in the future.

Tim has also shown his concern for those suffering from psychiatric disabilities and wants to expand treatment and care for them.  His proposal (HB 5992) would permit health care providers access to the records of patients in a psychiatric facility for their treatment and also allow persons involved in formulating the patient’s discharge plan to communicate with the patient’s family members concerning the plan.

This is a worthwhile attempt to expand treatment and Tim also recognizes and considers the restrictions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the wording of his proposal.  Protecting and caring for the disabled is a compassionate role of government.

In the next installment of “An Eye On Ackert” we’ll take a look at a good idea that may be bad, but that judgment will be left to the readers.  Come back to see what Tim has in mind for education.

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