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Malloy Signs State Budget, Lower Car Taxes For Cities

June 30th, 2015 · 16 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

Malloy signs budget

Malloy signs state budget with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and legislative leaders.

The state budget that was modified to mollify corporate suits who freaked over additional taxes was signed into law today by Governor Dan Malloy who touts major investments in transportation infrastructure, his Second Chance Society initiative and capping car taxes at 32 mils in 2017 and 29.5 mils in 2018, a second-year reduction by almost a third from Bridgeport’s current tax rate.

Under the car tax plan the state will reimburse municipalities for revenue losses as a result of the mil rate drop for higher taxed communities. Malloy says the budget holds spending growth to 3.9% in 2016 and 3.0% in the following fiscal year. Malloy news release:

Beyond responsible spending, investments in transportation that will help transform the way we travel, and tax relief for households, the budget also funds the bipartisan Second Chance Society initiative the Governor launched this year. With crime at a more than 40-year low, by making our criminal justice system fairer, Connecticut is working to drive it down even further by ending a cycle of crime and poverty.

Working with the General Assembly, Governor Malloy heard the concerns from Connecticut’’s business community and rolled back increases to the data processing and World Wide Web services taxes, while delaying the implementation of the unitary tax until 2016. Those improvements to the budget were paid for with responsible spending reductions.

“This was a difficult budget with no easy or popular decisions. But listening to many communities across the state, from business to non-profit to our municipalities, I believe we have a budget that helps deliver prosperity for the future. Working together, we made the difficult choices necessary to put Connecticut on the long-term path to success, while making major investments in transportation as well as providing car and property tax relief,” Governor Malloy said. “I want to thank our partners in the General Assembly for their hard work and commitment on these important issues.”

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said, “This budget expresses Connecticut’s commitment to our future–to a stronger transportation network that ensures we are moving people and products efficiently; a growing economy that creates good paying jobs for our residents and drives expansion of our global footprint; and strong communities with high-quality schools, accessible healthcare, and safe neighborhoods. I congratulate Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for their leadership and advocacy.”

“For the first time in our state’s history, we will diversify our local tax base by providing municipalities with a revenue source other than property taxes,” Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said. “The result: historic property tax relief for middle-class families and businesses. This budget levels the playing field for small businesses from Main Street to our largest employers and makes a once-in-a-generation investment in transportation infrastructure. We did this while preserving core programs for our most vulnerable children and seniors.”

“This budget provides real property tax relief for the middle class, protects vital services families rely on every day, and invests in Connecticut’s long-term economic future,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden). “We listened to the concerns of our constituents and business community to make it work better for everyone in our state, and begin to set us on a more stable, equitable path going forward.”

The budget includes the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in Connecticut history:

• The adopted state budget includes the largest transportation investments in Connecticut history, which will launch a new era of infrastructure improvements to give Connecticut a best-in-class transportation system.
• This will include a $2.8 billion increase for infrastructure over the next five years, including $1.77 billion for rail, $613 million for highways, $281 million for bridges, $101 million for bicycle and pedestrian trails, and $43 million for bus service. In total over the next five years, approximately $10 billion will be spent on transportation between this budget, planned capital spending, and federal funds.
• Projects include fixing the “Mixmaster” on I-84 in Waterbury, as well as the Hartford I-84 Viaduct. For rail, it will allow Connecticut to complete the Hartford Line running from New Haven to Springfield, and also to increase service on the New Haven Line with improvements to all branch lines including New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury. It also includes historic, first-of-their-kind investments in local bike and pedestrian improvements throughout our state.
• In recent decades, Connecticut has not kept up with a needed modernization of its transportation systems. With the adopted state budget, Connecticut is entering into a new era that will deliver a best-in-class transportation system.

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • Grin Ripper

    Lawmakers pass prostate exam license plate.

  • Maria Pereira

    Pure propaganda. Why don’t you reference 20,000 of our neediest CT families are being kicked off Husky? The tax exemption on clothing under $50 which was supposed to start on July 1st was completely eliminated. This would have helped every Bridgeport family. The amount to bury a family member without funds for a burial was reduced from $1,800 to $1,400. A sixth charter school in Bridgeport that will siphon $8 million away from our true public schools in the first five years. Millions cut for the Commissioner’s Network schools, the Alliance District, summer school and after school programs, etc.

    The Bridgeport delegation is an absolute disgrace and ineffective.

  • Pete Spain

    Maria, you point to some of the bad parts of the budget.

    Yes, we need leaders on key issues for our city who understand the “fierce urgency of now,” as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it. And sometimes that will require these leaders to forgo political expediency and put their collective foot down. Other times, circumstances may arise–as they did during the less-than-ideal marathon sprint to the finish of the legislative session in Hartford that then went into an overtime session–that can completely prevent important goals from being achieved legislatively. As participants in our representative process, this should give us pause. As citizens of a city that remains above water thanks to financial contributions from the state and feds, we must realize we are their financial child. We cannot afford to bite the hand that feeds us. We can stand up, but we should do so wisely. Because it may be possible for a goal to be deferred, and then, with time and some extra help, to be achieved. While we live mostly in the moment, we must not lose sight of the long term. We must not forget tomorrow is another day when someone we disagreed with may turn out to be someone we agree with and need assistance from for another vote.

    According to several veteran legislators from outside Bridgeport, including a Republican, I’ve spoken with confidentially, some of our legislators are considered by their peers to be “sharp,” to be “real fighters,” and to be people who “represent Bridgeport very well.” Those singled out for praise were State Reps Jack Hennessy, Steven Stafstrom and Ezequiel Santiago, and Senators Moore and Gomes.

    As Thomas Aquinas wrote, “We can’t have full knowledge all at once.” You start with a beginner’s belief, “then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.” Few of us have mastered the evidence regarding state and city government, policies, budgets and regulations in Connecticut–much less know what goes on behind closed doors in Hartford. However, we should strive to master the evidence honestly and openly as best we can. We should be willing to give ourselves time to verify claims or to realize verification is not possible and we’re being asked to take it on faith. There is a difference.

    • Maria Pereira

      Pete,
      Please list all the specific parts of the state budget that positively impact Bridgeport and its residents.

      • Pete Spain

        Maria,
        There’s not a debate from me as to the fact the budget leaves much to be desired.

        Clearly we agree Bridgeport’s public school students don’t deserve to have moneys intended for them diverted to a new charter school–nearly $8 million over the next five years, as you’ve stated previously. This adds insults to injury, when Bridgeport contributes from its budget only $2,700 per student compared to over $4,500 per student by Hartford and New Haven (that is, Bridgeport’s annual municipal contribution falls short by at least $37.8 million to $39.6 million annually! Multiply $1,800 difference by, conservatively, 21,000 or 22,000 students) … AND Bridgeport already receives less from the state per student than those cities. Outrageously unfair, indeed. This is where your fight is, keep it up.

        However, since you characterized the budget’s reported benefits as “pure propaganda” and then asked me, here are several things I know of and find favorable for Bridgeport and its residents in the approved budget:

        - The car tax cut to 32 mils in budget year 2017 and capped at 29.5 mils in 2018. A 30% reduction in car tax is meaningful to most people in Bridgeport I know.

        - The city is to receive between $10 and $15 million per year in new money from the “sales tax diversion” to be used to offset property taxes.

        - The BOE is to receive nearly $8 million in new funding over the next two budget years.

        - Originally put-forth-by-the-governor drastic cuts to social service programs and our local non-profits were largely restored. For example, Wakeman Boys & Girls Club faced a dramatic cut that could have jeopardized their Black Rock after-school program. The vast majority of that funding was restored.

        Also, thanks to the good fight of Rep Vargas and others we had the Freedom of Information (FOI) requirements for charter schools get through–not clear and comprehensive as would be expected, but a step in the right direction. This despite a reported last-minute attempt to kill the FOI bill -see
        ctmirror.org/2015/06/09/at-last-minute-an-attempt-to-undo-charter-school-foi-action/

        Of course, as I’m still gathering and trying to verify information, I may have missed some items. I’m sure you and others will chime in. Thank you.

        • Maria Pereira

          Pete,
          Residents who do not own a vehicle will see zero tax relief.

          Most who will see a savings in their car taxes will have much or all of it negated by the elimination of the clothing tax exemption on items under $50.

          The tax credit of $300 for homeowners with a combined income of $100,000 was reduced to $200 and only those earning less than $70,000 now qualify. This will impact thousands of Bridgeport homeowners.

          The BOE will receive less than $8 million over the next two years, however our delegation is so weak, this is not a permanent increase to the ECS Grant. In other words in the 2017/2018 budget the state is not required to continue the funding. Almost $3 million of this increase will actually go to fund the transportation and special ed. costs for Dr. Perry’s Charter School.

          Capital Prep Harbor Charter School will siphon away $8 million dollars from our BPS in the first five years. The cost over the next 10 years is over $20 million.

          The Commissioner’s Network was cut by over $4 million. We have three schools in the Commissioner’s Network.

          The Alliance Districts were cut by over $3 million. We are one of the 15 Alliance Districts.

          Funding for summer school and after school programs were cut.

          Let’s see if the sales tax revenue is used in any way to offer residents tax relief. Every single homeowner’s taxes are going to skyrocket if Finch is reelected and the reevaluation is implemented.

          This is what I will be sharing with the voters in my neighborhood as I door knock. It is imperative residents/voters understand what our delegation voted to support.

          • Maria Pereira

            Pete, let’s not forget the 20,000 Husky participants who are being kicked off Husky. That will clearly impact thousands of Bridgeport residents.

            Let’s not try to make champagne out of lemons.

    • Maria Pereira

      Sorry, I forgot the homeowners $300 tax credit for a couple earning $100,000 or less was reduced to $200 and only a couple earning $70,000 or less is eligible.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Lower car taxes??? Give me that kind of propaganda any day of the week. Thank you Governor Malloy and thank you for your support for the city of Bridgeport.

    • Maria Pereira

      Steve, I will save less than $100 per year in taxes next year. Just last week I bought seven clothing items priced at under $50 each. The taxes were $21.00. This doesn’t include holiday purchases, back-to-school, etc. As a Bridgeport resident, do I lose or gain with this budget our entire delegation voted for?

      • Steven Auerbach

        Maria,
        I am not sure what you are asking. I was only addressing one line item. As for your clothes you have two options. Wait for an amazing sale at Lord and Taylor or Macy’s or shop at T. J. Max and Marshalls or take a ride to New Jersey, make a day of it and wait for their tax-free shopping spree. Me, I’ll take good news where I can get it. Lower car taxes is a plus. Bridgeport has been the recipient from the Malloy Administration to the tune of millions, so I’d give our delegation some credit.

        • Maria Pereira

          Steve, the vast majority of Bridgeport residents will see their taxes go up, not down. If you do not own a vehicle you see zero tax relief. I will see zero tax relief because I certainly pay more than $100 in sales tax on clothing items under $50. The seven items I bought last week were from Lord & Taylor. With a clearance sale and a coupon, I still paid $21 in sales tax. Effective July 1, 2015 I would have paid zero, but our weak delegation voted to approve the elimination of the tax exemption for clothing under $50.

  • John Marshall Lee

    I tried to get a comprehensive report on what the State has done and I was told they are working on it. Saturday Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes spoke at an open session at the Discovery Museum and responded to questions. Marilyn had an estimate that showed with the varied credits and debits from previous releases, the City is likely to end up on the plus side and a substantial part of that will go to public education. If that is true then we have the State to thank once again and not a Mayor who claims to be “pro-education” but cannot supply local dollars to show City taxpayers and voters look to provide real opportunity to all students. I feel certain the just-closing City fiscal year will turn out to be like recent years, where we will find unfilled employee positions and other Line Items provide millions of alternatives, had there been honesty at budget setting. Of course if the public does not get to see the year-end numbers as happened for more than 20 years, or has to wait six months for an official report, then the Finch regime ought to be questioned further. Where does all the money come from for the Stratford driveway (unbudgeted), layoff settlements (unbudgeted), to pay salaries for those not working at their assigned tasks, for playgrounds and ball fields not fully covered in Master Plans or Capital plans, but springing up like daffodils this year? And once again, why does Lighthouse not post their $850,000 of fees from parents and families for afterschool and summer activities as revenues? Other City departments report their fee income for copies, for parking, etc. Who supervises the Lighthouse youth services program where the top two employees earn almost $100,000 each in salary? Is this program top-heavy in compensation? What does it cost to provide similar services in other youth service programs locally? Are there many youths not getting services for any reason? Time will tell.

    • Ben Walker

      Mr. Lee, I do believe the lion’s share (all) of those education dollars will be going to the state’s charter schools rather than the Bridgeport Public Schools, although I have not seen a summary as of yet.

  • Maria Pereira

    I have already started to speak with those I work closely with about potential candidates to challenge all the members of our delegation. The goal is to challenge every single one of them. They may very well win, however they are going to have to fight for their victory.

    As far as I remember, other than our delegation, paid lobbyists and specific employees; no other Bridgeport resident spent more time in Hartford during the legislative session than I did. I know what I saw and heard while I was in Hartford. Every single member of our delegation you just referenced was weak, ineffective, and did Malloy’s bidding, not that of their constituents.

  • Mojo

    *** Let’s see how many more big industrial companies leave CT there, Danny Boy! ***

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