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Rep. Bolinsky Joins Colleagues in Opposing New Taxes Effective Oct. 1

Posted on September 13, 2019 by hbrooks


HARTFORD – State Representative Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) on Thursday attended a press conference with House and Senate Republican lawmakers to discuss newly released details on the 7.35% “meals tax” set to go into effect October 1, 2019. The tax was included in the state budget passed by legislative Democrats and signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont during the 2019 legislative session.

According to a Department of Revenue Services (DRS) policy statement issued this week, the Democrat-approved and Lamont-encouraged 7.35% tax will be applied to a long list of food items that have never before been taxed.

The taxes will apply to not only prepared meals such as sandwiches, deli salads, pizza and hot buffet items, but also small packages of snacks, loose baked goods, wrapped salads, small salad mixes in the grocery store, store-cut servings of fresh fruit, small servings of ice cream and “meal replacement bars”. It also applies to fountain drinks, including coffee and any beverage sold with a newly taxable “meal.”

“This grocery tax is just another example of how the budget passed by Democrats this year hurts middle- and working-class families, seniors, and individuals in Newtown,” said Rep. Bolinsky.

“On Governor Lamont’s authority, DRS widened the net to create a new, full-blown food tax. The new definition of a ‘meal’ will put nearly everything we consume at risk of being taxed. This kind of deception is unacceptable and is not the ‘honest budgeting’ the Governor promised on the campaign trail.”

In June, Governor Lamont and legislative Democrats labeled the new tax as only a 1% tax increase on items already taxed at 6.35%. But, the DRS statement clarifies that the new 7.35% tax will now apply to many food items that have never been taxed at grocery stores.

“I opposed their initial proposal because it was overly vague and left too much room for interpretation to folks who cannot be trusted to spend our tax dollars responsibly,” added Bolinsky. “This tax is regressive and will make it even more difficult for our community’s most vulnerable populations to pay for some of their most basic food necessities. Enough is enough.”

DRS Examples of Taxable “Meals” (taxed at 7.35% in eating establishments AND grocery stores):

  • Sandwiches, grinders, and wraps;
  • Popsicles, ice cream cones, cups, sundaes, and other individual servings of frozen desserts unless sold in factory prepackaged multi-unit packs;
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts sold in containers of less than one pint;
  • Salads sold at salad bars;
  • Lettuce or greens-based salads sold in containers of 8 ounces or less;
  • Salads that are not greens-based (macaroni, potato, pasta, fruit, etc.) sold in containers of 8 ounces or less;
  • Donuts, muffins, rolls, bagels, and pastries (5 or fewer);
  • Cookies sold loose (5 or fewer when cookies are sold by quantity, or less than 8 ounces when cookies are sold by weight);
  • Pies or cakes by the slice;
  • Prepackaged or factory-sealed bags or packages of 5 ounces or less of chips, popcorn, kettle corn, nuts, trail mix, crackers, cookies, snack cakes, or other snack foods, unless sold in factory prepackaged multi-unit packs;
  • Pizza, whole or by the slice;
  • Cooked chicken sold by the piece, including buckets of chicken, and whole cooked chickens;
  • Cooked ribs sold by the piece or portion and whole racks of ribs;
  • Hot dogs served on a bun or heated;
  • Bagels that are individually prepared;
  • Soup sold in containers of 8 ounces or less, unless sold in factory prepackaged units;
  • Smoothies;
  • Meal replacement bars;
  • All beverages provided with the sale of a taxable meal;
  • Food sold at a hot buffet;
  • Food that is cooked to order;
  • Popcorn, kettle corn, nuts and any other snack foods that are kept warm for purchase; and
  • Items such as salads, side dishes, and rolls, when sold as part of family pack meals typically including, whole chickens or buckets of chicken, when prepared and sold for immediate consumption, even when the items exceed the weight or quantity limits specified above

DRS Examples of Taxable Drinks (taxed at 7.35% in eating establishments AND grocery stores):

  • Beer, including nonalcoholic beer; & Wine
  • Fruit juices, sweetened beverages, soft drinks, and soda;
  • Carbonated water;
  • Coffee or tea (ready to consume, hot or iced);
  • Distilled alcohol such as brandy, rum, whiskey, gin, vodka, and tequila;
  • Fountain drinks of any kind;
  • Hard cider;
  • Kombucha tea, and other naturally carbonated beverages;
  • Malt liquor;
  • Milkshakes;
  • Hot chocolate; and
  • Syrup-flavored crushed ice drinks

Please click here to view the DRS’ full policy statement.