Cities and Towns Start Push for Taxing Authority

Cities and towns in Connecticut are on the airwaves for the first time in several years in an effort to sway lawmakers to allow them to assess local sales taxes.

Currently, the sales tax is only assessed by the state, and those funds make their way back to municipalities in the form of municipal aid through the state budget.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) has made a television ad-buy to drive the point home, showing Connecticut residents and hearing from them in their struggle with property taxes.

Matthew Galligan is a former president of CCM and has been pushing for some kind of local taxing authority for decades. He said if there ever was a time to provide more autonomy for cities and towns to raise cash, free from the state, then it’s now.

“We can do a lot of that regionally,” Galligan explains. “In New York a lot of communities are able to do local sales tax, cities, they share it with other towns and it is a way to try to keep us in line with the revenue structure and make sure we have a steady revenue force instead of waiting for the state legislature to pass a budget.”

Most cities and towns already have their budgets in place for the next fiscal year, even though the General Assembly hasn’t yet approved a budget to send to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Some Democrats have said they want to see cities and towns be on the same schedule with the state budget so they all know for sure how much municipal aid will be distributed. Galligan said that’s not impossible, but it could be a difficult ask.

“In the cities it may be OK, and towns with a town manager form of government where the town council approves a budget you can get away with it, but in some of the smaller communities where they vote on their budgets, it could be very difficult.”

The state’s fiscal year ends June 30.

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