Sales Tax on Prepared Food Items Increasing Oct. 1

On October 1, the sales tax for certain groceries will go up that 1 percent to a total of 7.35 percent.

Get ready to pay more for prepared meals in the state.

Come October the sales tax for certain food items and drinks goes up 1 percent at grocery stores and restaurants.

Republicans are raising concerns about how many things will be hit with the higher rate.

“Not happy. Connecticut is really taxed already,” said Pat Charon of Manchester.

On October 1, the sales tax for those items will go up that 1 percent to a total of 7.35 percent.

“I do a lot of cooking. But we do like to sometimes be lazy, just buy already cooked meal,” said Nathan Penn of Hartford.

“It seems like it’s not that much. But when you spend a lot on groceries like I do. I have five children. It adds up,” Penn said when presented with the list of things he’ll pay more for, which includes cooked chicken, the hot buffet, and sandwiches.

When the list was revealed by the Department of Revenue Services, concerns were raised by Republicans.

Their state party vice chair Sue Hatfield took to Facebook.

“Items such as chickens will be taxed an extra 1 percent. So I’m going to refer to this new tax as the chicken tax,” said Hatfield.

Republicans argued the tax will also target items most people consider groceries that should be tax-free. They blasted the plan to also apply the roughly 7 percent tax to meal replacement bars, individual frozen desserts and snack bags weighing less than five ounces.

“Anywhere they can hit you in the wallet they’re going to hit you in the wallet,” said Pat Charon.

Democrats pointed out the change was part of a budget that required closing a multi-billion dollar deficit.

In a statement, the governor’s spokesman wrote:

“On the day the Governor took office, he was tasked with closing a massive $3.7 billion deficit and his budget closed it without an increase to tax rates all while ensuring that the safety net remains intact for the most vulnerable in our communities. The Governor has consistently said that due to years of instability in the state’s finances along with slow growth and volatility in our economy—we had to adopt solutions such as modernizing our sales tax and leveling the overall playing field. Why should the price of a bagel vary from Stop & Shop to your local neighborhood Dunkin? It’s apparently easier for the GOP to criticize rather than do the work of presenting their own budget. Connecticut will have the largest rainy day fund in history and this budget maintains and grows our reserves, providing reliability and predictability for our taxpayers, businesses, and those looking to invest in our state well into the future.”

When the budget was being debated, Democrats argued Republicans couldn’t criticize it since they hadn’t come up with an alternative.

To see a full list of affected items, click here.

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