Latest budget plan still has Sales Tax hike, but not at 6.99%

State lawmakers meet at the Capitol. (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State lawmakers have been told by their leadership to be prepared to come back to Hartford the week of September 11 for a possible vote on a state budget plan.

There is a really hard deadline coming up at the end of September; that’s when the checks for local school aid start to go out from the Capitol to your local school system; and without a budget in place those cuts could be very tough. Getting a budget plan in place by mid-September is now the goal.

The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate appear to be coming together on a budget plan for a possible vote that week that apparently includes the House plan to increase the Sales Tax.

“We are considering that in the Senate. We have a plan that we will be caucusing with our members next week. It is quite close to the House plan in many particulars,” said Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) the Senate President Pro tem.

Just how much the Sales Tax would go up appears to be still up in the air as well as what items the Sales Tax will be extended to. It does appear that a hike to 6.99 percent is now off the table.

Here’s the exchange I had with House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) today;

[ARESIMOWICZ] “I don’t know what level it will be until I finish talking to my members.”

[DAVIS] “That says to me you’re still talking about raising it.”

[ARESIMOWICZ] “You said 6.99 Mark, I’m saying it won’t be 6.99.”

[DAVIS] “Will the Sales Tax remain at 6.35 percent?”

[ARESMOWICZ] “That’s a great question, I don’t believe it will.”

Another item that remains on the table is the Governor’s proposal to have the cities and towns pay for part of the pension plan for public school teachers, just not at the one third that the Governor proposed.

Said Looney. “There is not support for the $407 million coming from that category in the legislature, but the Governor’s made clear that it is important that the issue be addressed in some way so we’re looking at some other formulations.”

Here’s what the Governor said about that today, “It is vitally important that we begin to change the dynamic where Connecticut carries all the weight for municipal retirement programs.”

But no matter what the eventual formula is, any shift of the pension costs to the cities and towns will result in upward pressure on local Property Tax rates.

The two Democratic leaders say they have been reaching out to the Republicans but their leadership has repeatedly said they will not vote for any budget with a tax increase


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