Gov. Ned Lamont told Connecticut’s largest business group on Friday that he will make property tax relief a priority this year and leave any action on property tax relief to the General Assembly. Corporation tax.
“I will present to the legislature a plan for significant property tax reform that particularly affects, I think, the middle class, to provide relief to them,” he said at the annual meeting on the economic outlook. of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.
The Democratic governor, who has announced he will seek a second term this year, said he also hopes to eliminate taxes on pensions.
Pressed for corporate tax relief, Lamont advised CBIA President Chris DiPentima to work with the administration and “our friends in the Legislative Assembly to see what the priorities are.”
If tax cuts were tied to job creation and economic growth, that would make “that all the more compelling and much easier for me to defend,” the governor said.
DiPentima said the corporate tax relief would cost the state about $200 million, but no tax cuts or credits would be significant. For example, a manufacturing apprenticeship credit would cost the state a relatively small $1.4 million, but would send a “huge message” to manufacturers.
Lamont said he and the General Assembly should “look carefully at the property tax” on homes and cars.
“It is a fixed tax. You have to pay for it during the bad times and the good times,” he said.
“It’s ruthless in that sense. It hits the middle class especially hard,” Lamont said. “This will be one of my strong initiatives … doing what we can to reduce property tax and broaden the base of those who have access to property tax reduction and also focus on cars.”
Lamont campaigned in 2018 on property tax relief, saying local authorities relied too heavily on taxing homes and vehicles to fund essential services. But the idea did not take off in the legislature. The governor said earlier this month he would push to expand the property tax credit.
Lamont would also not accept business requests for additional federal pandemic aid to help reduce unemployment insurance fund debt. The state used the aid from Washington to repay about $150 million of the $700 million borrowed from the federal government when jobs disappeared during the pandemic and unemployment claims soared.
“The rest would fall on the shoulders of the business community around November when the valuations come in,” DiPentima said.
Lamont said he was “a little hesitant” and had to decide if it was more important to use federal money to purchase additional testing resources.
Interest rates are low, making borrowing cheaper, and jobless claims have fallen as the economy strengthens and businesses hire workers, he said. The state contributed an additional $250 million, the governor said.
DiPentima said in an interview after the reunion that he wasn’t surprised by Lamont’s priorities. With about three weeks until General Assembly begins on Feb. 9, the governor and the House and Senate Democratic and Republican caucuses are setting their priorities, he said.
Lamont, who wore black to mark the passing of rocker and former Connecticut resident Meat Loaf on Thursday, used his appearance at the CBIA annual meeting last year to rule out large-scale tax increases that contributed to set the tone for the legislative session.
With a state budget surplus and an election in 2022, Lamont and state lawmakers are now debating the proposed tax cuts.
Senate Republicans have called for a temporary reduction in the state sales tax and the elimination of an additional 1% tax on meals in restaurants and supermarkets starting Feb. 15. The total tax cut by Republicans would be $315 million for the remainder of calendar year 2022.