Every homeowner has to pay property taxes, but the amount varies from town to town. One lawmaker wants to change that with a statewide property tax on homes valued at more than $430,000. He calls it a mansion tax.
“The only positive thing about the property tax -- which most people find regressive and burdensome because it’s not tied to income or capacity to pay it’s just tied to homeownership -- it’s that at least it’s a reliable source of revenue,” Senate President Martin Looney said.
Looney wants to increase the property tax by one mill on every home valued at $430,000 or more. His proposal would redistribute the money back to some cities and towns that are struggling.
“It would generate at that one mill, at that level $73.5 million,” Looney said.
Looney sees it as a solution to inequality.
“You have a disparity in Connecticut where Hartford has a mill rate of 74 and Greenwich a mill rate of 11 and everything in between that Greenwich raises $30 million on a single mill other communities raise only a modest amount of $100,000 or so,” Looney said..
Those swings in wealth are not necessarily helpful, according to Looney.
”In a state this small to have those kinds of contrasts is a real economic drag and an anchor on our state,” Looney said.
Looney added that “It is not another tax, it is a redistribution of property tax revenue. And many communities will benefit from it and see a significant decrease in their property tax liability.”
Looney said his plan will ease the burden on municipalities in dire need of aid. Republicans said it’s another tax on the middle class.
“Every solution they have appears to be the middle-class wallet, whether it’s tax, gas or tolls or insurance. Now they’re coming after middle-class homes. By no means are these mansions. These are middle-class homes in all 169 communities,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said.
And he said a redistribution of wealth would have a negative effect.
“It’s going to start sucking revenue and wealth out of our communities and taking it up to Hartford as if Hartford has been a good steward,” Kelly said.