Governor Seeks Major Sales Tax Changes

Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing changes to Connecticut's tax system, including imposing the sales tax on a long list of goods and services.

Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing changes to Connecticut's tax system, including imposing the sales tax on a long list of goods and services. 

The Democrat's budget director, Melissa McCaw, said Wednesday that Lamont wants to impose a "level playing field." 

Lamont's two-year $43.1 billion budget proposal eliminates sales tax exemptions for items from accounting services to vegetable seeds. Prior governors have tried to pare tax exemptions in the past but faced strong opposition. 

The budget increases taxes on digital downloads and hotel rooms. There's also a 10-cent surcharge on plastic bags. 

McCaw says no changes to the current sales or income tax rates are proposed. 

The state is facing a $1.5 billion deficit in fiscal year 2020 and $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2021. 

Lamont presented his two-year budget plan on Wednesday to the state legislature and his office posted the governor's budget online here.

A fact sheet on the budget is posted here.

The office has also put together a question and answer document on the budget here.

Jennifer Jackson, CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, released a statement in opposition to the proposal after the governor’s budget address.

“We are strongly opposed to the proposed budget. The current Administration is not honoring the bipartisan agreement for this year or next year, and the budget makes additional cuts to hospitals,” Jackson said in a statement. “Hospitals and health systems are key to the state’s economic recovery and employ more than 100,000 people in Connecticut. We continue to be willing partners to find a sustainable solution, but this is not it.”

Several Democratic lawmakers released statements in support of the governor’s proposal.

“Governor Lamont put forth a responsible budget that addresses our deficit and invests in our economy,” Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said in a statement. “Today was the beginning of the General Assembly’s budget process and I look forward to working together with him in crafting a final product. I want to thank the Governor for including critical policy proposals for Connecticut families including raising the minimum wage to $15 and a paid family and medical leave program.”

The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants released a statement opposing any sales tax on tax return preparation and accounting services provided to individuals.

“The US tax system is based on voluntary compliance,” CTCPA Executive Director Bonnie Stewart said in a statement. “Most people realize taxes are the price of a civilized society, but they view paying their taxes and the very process of tax return preparation as onerous and expensive. Proposing to tax people for their voluntary compliance with a complex and convoluted tax code, again, adds proverbial ‘insult to injury.’”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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