The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has a plan that recommends changes to the state’s sales tax structure.
“Governments in Connecticut stand at a crossroads,” the CCM report stated. “For over a decade prior to the Great Recession, governments in the state benefited from a strong economy and stable revenues. But this stability has depended crucially on the local property tax and reliable and adequate state aid. The lack of diversity in revenue sources and uncertainty at the state level are now eroding the capacity of local governments to meet their obligations to the public.”
The plan – which was presented yesterday with the social media-friendly hashtag #ThisIsDifferentCT – seeks to expand the sales tax base by repealing 10 percent of the exemptions for what the group called “selected consumption categories.” The plan would also reduce the state sales tax rate by 0.75 percent to 5.60 percent while levying a statewide local sales tax at the rate of 1 percent. The report also urged changes to state law that would allow municipal governments to require ongoing fees for the use of the public rights of way.
The group also offered a proposal “requiring property owners of properties subject to state PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) reimbursement to pay the difference between the state’s statutory PILOT rate and the amount towns actually receive in state PILOT payments, up to 20 percent of the mill rate.” The report also recommended changes to the Municipal Employee Retirement System with the creation of an additional retirement plan for new hires.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a member of the CCM board of directors, stressed that this proposal was not an attempt to push for tax hikes. “I have no interest in raising taxes,” he said in a statement. “What I like about this report are two things: it’s different, and if we’re able to turn some of these ideas into laws I believe we’ll be able to help reduce property taxes at the local level. I look forward to participating in a robust, very public debate about the ideas included in this document.”