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Municipal Sales Tax On Table For Upcoming State Legislative Session

December 22nd, 2016 · 9 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, News and Events, State Politics

Senate President Martin Looney, prior to his kidney transplant on Tuesday, filed a series of bills for the legislative session that starts in two weeks including a proposal to authorize municipalities to levy a local sales tax of one-half of one percent, something that if passed would provide a new revenue source to Bridgeport as officials are poised to lobby for additional state dough with the state itself facing another budget crunch.

The city’s eight-member legislative delegation is preparing its own agenda for the upcoming session. One possibility is getting behind Looney’s proposal or a variation of it. Bridgeport doesn’t have a strong retail base so the question remains how much extra revenue would it generate? Also, who has the administrative burden collecting the sales tax revenue, the city or state? Is it better to increase the state sales tax slightly and share it with municipalities?

This is a key legislative session for Mayor Joe Ganim as he prepares submission of his budget proposal to the City Council the first week in April. What happens in Hartford impacts the local budget. Ganim does not want a tax increase after a stressful first budget following his return to office about a year ago. 2017 is also an election year for the City Council.

The CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas shares more about Looney’s proposals here.

· Legalize the sale of marijuana and “tax such sale in the same manner as the state of Colorado.” Malloy remains opposed to legalization, but the passage of a legalization initiative in Massachusetts is likely to get Looney’s bill a hearing.

· Raise the minimum wage, which is now set to increase to $10.10 on Jan. 1, to $15 in five-year increments, beginning in 2018. Starting in 2023, increases would be adjusted annually based on inflation

· Authorize municipalities to levy a local sales tax of one-half of one percent.

· Match the federal exemption on the estate tax in steps, from Jan. 1, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020.

· Exempt all Social Security benefits. Connecticut, which is rated by Kiplinger as among the least-tax friendly states for retirees, now exempts Social Security for individuals with a federal adjusted gross income of less than $50,000 and couples with an AGI of less than $60,000.

· Exempt the first $10,000 of a business’s property from the property tax and relieve small businesses owning less than $10,000 in personal property “from the administrative burden of itemizing their tangible personal property items.”

· Authorize Connecticut to enter into the National Popular Vote Compact, which would commit states to cast electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote.

· Strengthen the penalty for hate crimes.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Sorry, off topic, but I’m wondering if any of my State Reps or Senators will put together legislation that makes it a crime to market and/or merchandise KKK robes, also making it a Hate Crime. If not in Connecticut (home of “Amistad”) then where better to start?

    • Ron Mackey

      This is from the Anti-Defamation League.

      Today, then, there is no universal set of meanings behind Klan robes and their colors and symbols; Klans can very greatly from one to the next. With most Klan groups, the general membership wear white robes. In some cases, Klan officers also wear white robes, but with colored stripes on them to indicate rank. In other Klan groups, Klan officers are allowed to wear robes of other colors: black, green, purple, etc. What color indicates a particular rank can vary from one group to the next.

      Generally speaking, white robes tend to indicate a rank-and-file member, unless all members wear such robes. Green robes indicate state leaders (Grand Dragons) in many Klan groups, while black robes often indicate Knighthawks, a sort of Klan security position. The leaders, or Imperial Wizards, of different Klan groups have chosen a variety of different colors of robes to wear. Klan groups may also use a variety of stripes (in different colors and numbers), sashes, and emblems on their robes.

      Some Klan groups require that members wear robes at all Klan events, while other Klan groups mandate robes only at certain ceremonial functions. Some Klan groups may not use robes anymore, preferring instead military-style uniforms or simple casual wear.

    • Michael Smith

      Hector, as disgusting as it may seem, I am not sure such a law would pass U.S. Constitutional muster. I think that the sale of KKK robes would be protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I am not a constitutional law expert and I am not in favor of the KKK or its attire, but I think it would be unconstitutional to ban the sale of the robes.

      • Hector A. Diaz

        The KKK has no standing as it is a “secret society” that encourages hate. The robes, in my opinion, are TOOLS used for the purpose of hiding the user’s identity. According to Wikipedia “the costume of the KKK is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the KKK, and recognized worldwide …” Again, I believe there is no debate in that they are a hate group that has committed terrorist atrocities and should be treated as such.

        • Ron Mackey

          Héctor, unfortunately I agree with Michael Smith but there is nothing wrong with a boycott or protesting those who sell and make those robes and hoods.

          • Hector A. Diaz

            Ron, I’ve been thinking about this and I would agree, if they weren’t a “Criminal Secret Society” that promotes hate, we are talking like we are speaking of a club or group of good ole boys, while they may be just that, when they are not wearing their hoods. Do you not believe discussion i.e. debate is needed? That while legislation is being crafted to stop sagging pants and such, or any number of laws that directly affect just the poor or needy?

  • John Marshall Lee

    If the subject is financial as it seems to be we must look at more revenue or the reduction of current budgets. Are there other ways to improve the lot of a citizen taxpayer short of moving away?

    “Authorize municipalities to levy a local sales tax of one-half of one percent.” If Looney’s plan were implemented I feel sure we would hear the tax is regressive and hits lower income families of whom Bridgeport has no shortage, but it might be effective if Bridgeport had a bustling retail sector. But what are the details of the plan? Currently we benefit from a sharing of regional sales tax and that has already brought in $17.5 Million to the FY 2017 budget. Planners last spring projected the sum to be only $9.8 Million so this seems to create a happy positive variance. Through the first four months however, Police and Fire overtime projections are up $3 Million and the City seems to have thrown in the towel and ceased expecting any more worker givebacks to the tune of $1.4 Million. There are many departments that seem to be operating under year-end projections and that begs the question of why taxes were increased so steeply (relative to home values) in one year. Where are the extra pension contributions showing in the monthly report?

    If there were Open, Accountable, Transparent and Honest handling of revenue and expenses on a regular basis, and if we had priorities that were addressed with those dollars, would people feel less angry at the world and with their neighbors? Why are we content with a corrupt status quo that serves the “personal needs” of a handful of elected officials to be photographed around non-priority activities? What does the City employment chart look like today with a total of civil service employees _______? And a total of Mayoral appointees _______? And what are the duties of the latter group especially, that gets them paid the big bucks? Time will tell.

    • Jimfox

      So John, are you saying the Ganim team is Loading The Swamp?

      • John Marshall Lee

        Jim Fox,
        Writing during the campaign last year I said of the prospect of Ganim2, if he is asking for a “second chance” for himself though not necessarily having been an advocate for “second chances” for others, we might be willing to TRUST but he must provide evidence of VERIFICATION, if he cares!!!

        In our post-truth society he wooed us with “STOP RAISING TAXES” and slammed us with a revenue budget causing extra dollars to be raised beyond basic needs his first year. He also removed simple info that had come at budget time in recent years to see what City employment looks like. And he took no new effort to reveal how grants from all sources provide necessary City services. Trust? Whom do you trust and why? Time will tell.

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