by Brent Addleman
Gov. Ned Lamont said he is proposing a package of legislative proposals that would provide for $336 million in tax relief for state residents.
The governor announced the first package of tax aid comes as the state has a projected $1.48 billion surplus in its operating budget. The surplus, Lamont said, enables the tax cuts to be built into the budget and will ensure the state’s Rainy Day Fund remains strong.
“When I took office three years ago, Connecticut had a $3.7 billion deficit with projected deficits for many years to come, and for the sake of our economic future I made it a commitment to turn that instability around and strengthen our state’s fiscal health,” Lamont said in the release. “Today, Connecticut has a surplus, and we did it without broad-based tax increases, and while making an historic investment in our pension obligations and leaving the Rainy Day Fund untouched. Connecticut’s fiscal health is stronger than it’s been in decades, and now we can move toward the next phase of the Connecticut comeback – cutting taxes for the people who live here.”
Lamont said he asked budget analysts to crunch numbers as to how taxes could be cut in a responsible fashion that wouldn’t negatively impact the state’s financial standing.
Rep. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, who serves as Senate Republican leader, issued a statement regarding the governor’s proposed tax cuts, saying, “Unfortunately, there is no actual relief here until next year!”
“It must be an election year since Democrats are talking about tax cuts,” Kelly said. “Connecticut absolutely must look to reduce taxes on residents and make our state more affordable for middle class families. Republicans have long called for relief when it comes to property taxes and taxes on pension in particular. But we also need immediate relief. Inflation right now is crushing family budgets. We must reduce the sales tax now. Promises for future tax credits are welcome, so long as they can be delivered. But we cannot ignore that what families are calling for is real relief now.”
The tax cuts, according to the release, come in five parts, including restoring the property tax credit, increasing the property tax credit to $300, accelerating a plan for a phase-in of pensions and annuities being exempted from taxes, and reducing motor vehicle property taxes.
Lamont said he will ask the legislature to restore full eligibility for the property tax credit, which would impact 500,000 residents, beginning in 2022. Under current law, the credit is limited to residents over the age of 65 or who have dependents.
By increasing the property tax credit from $200 to $300, which is estimated to impact 1.1 million residents, Lamont said the impact would be $70 million to the state.
– – –
Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.