Posted on March 14, 2019 by Greg MacKinnon
Opportunity to Testify and/or Submit Written Testimony
This Friday, the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee of the General Assembly will be holding a public hearing on Governor Lamont’s proposed revenue budget and the Senate Democrat Leader’s proposal to institute a statewide property tax and a statewide car tax.
As you may have heard, Governor Lamont’s proposed budget, SB 877 ‘An Act Concerning Revenue Items to Implement the Governor’s Budget’, expands many taxes, including the sales tax to cover many previously exempted items; such as non-prescription drugs, accounting services, legal services, digital downloads like Netflix, children’s car seats and bicycle helmets, dry cleaning, barber shops, beauty salons, veterinary services, parking, newspapers and a wide range of professional services including legal, accounting, interior design, real estate, and sports and recreation instruction. All totaled the tax expansions will cost Connecticut families an additional $300 million more in the second half of 2019 and $600 to $800 million in calendar 2020 and 2021.
His proposal would also place a 10 cent surcharge on plastic bags and a 1.5 cent tax per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, juice, and sports drinks, among many other new or expanded taxes.
It also eliminates the increased exemption on Social Security income and the phase-in of our exemption for pension and annuity income passed in 2017 (and co-sponsored by me) in the bipartisan budgets of the last two years, leading to higher income taxes on seniors and other retirees.
As if that’s not unaffordable enough, to help make the case for tolls, Governor Lamont’s proposal would divert funds intended for the Special Transportation Fund (STF) to the General Fund, essentially making the STF insolvent by 2021 and circumventing the entire spirit of the constitutional lockbox passed overwhelming by the residents of Connecticut in November.
Despite the state’s financial crisis, the proposed budget before us INCREASES spending by more than 2% and 3.7% in the next two years. Agree or not, it’s clear to me that Connecticut has a spending problem and, despite the promise of structural reforms, the proposals on the table will add hundreds, perhaps thousands of new bureaucrats to manage everything from the administration of new taxes to a new toll commission that will have the authority to increase tolls without legislative approval. We’ll also get a fresh, new cannabis control commission and new arm of the Labor Department to administer paid family leave outside the oversight of your elected representatives, allowing future tax increases to keep the program solvent, without a vote.
Your opinion on these proposed tax increases is critical and expressing it is as simple as sending an email as public testimony on the proposals.
This legislation will be heard by the committee on Friday, March 15th, at the State Legislative Office Building.
Below are the instructions on how to send in brief testimony:
If you can, you may also attend the public hearing on Friday, March 15th at 10:30 a.m. in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building to testify in person.
Please note: All public testimony is entered into the public record, and may be accessible via search engines like other public documents.
You can read more about the Governor’s proposed increases here: SB 877 ‘An Act Concerning Revenue Items to Implement the Governor’s Budget’
You can read more about this proposed tax increase here: SB 431 ‘An Act Concerning Property Tax Reform’
Proposed by Senate Democrat Leader, Martin Looney (D- New Haven), the legislation would impose a new 1 mill statewide property tax, enact a new statewide motor vehicle tax, and eliminate the existing municipal motor vehicle tax, thereby creating a de facto increase in your Newtown property taxes, further shifting the property tax burden to homeowners and local businesses, moving existing tax collections to subsidize poorly-managed, distressed larger cities.
If you have further questions about these proposals, or any other issue regarding our state government, please do not hesitate to contact me.