Governor Ned Lamont is under pressure to come up with a property tax break plan for Connecticut cities and towns that face tax penalties due to the amount of untaxable property in their communities – such as colleges, hospitals, public housing, prisons and parks.
Senate President Martin M. Looney, the non-apologetic progressive, has emerged as an advocate for the local community and has garnered bipartisan support to put more state aid on its way.
Connecticut offers PILOT payments instead of tax refunds on non-taxable real estate, but only about 30% of what the local government would get if the real estate were taxed.
Looney, a Democrat, is proposing a three tier system, a 50% PILOT reimbursement for cities with large lists of less than $ 100,000 per capita. 40% for individuals between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000; 30% for those with large lists of more than $ 200,000 per capita. The result is that communities with significant non-taxable real estate would see significant increases in government revenues.
The idea is to make Looney some unusual friends and put pressure on Lamont to respond.
“We, as community leaders, are writing to strongly support Senator Martin Looney’s proposed legislation to fund the state’s PILOT and pay off taxes program and implement an on-demand tiered system for the program. This non-partisan group represents cities of all sizes and make-up, reflecting the sweeping significance of this law. This legislation recognizes both the tax challenges facing the state and the urgent need for help from local authorities. As it stands, cities and towns with large amounts of non-taxable property are being destroyed by the pandemic, ”reads a letter to the governor signed by 28 community leaders.
Local signatories include Democratic Mayor Michael Passero of New London and Mayor Ron McDaniel Jr. of Montville, but also Norwegian Mayor Peter Nystrom and East Lyme’s first selectman Mark Nickerson, both Republicans. Also of interest is the signature of New Britain’s Mayoress Erin Stewart, who is expected to seek Republican nomination for governor in 2022.
“By including these dollars in your proposed budget, you will prevent property tax increases and permanent damage to the livelihood of our small business owners,” the letter also said.
Unsurprisingly, Looney’s letter neither confirms nor mentions controversial proposals to increase the revenue needed to help cities.
Looney is proposing to impose a state levy tax of $ 1 million on homes valued at more than $ 430,000. His office estimates this would generate $ 73.5 million. In addition, he has called for a capital gains tax of 1% on the highest income taxpayers in the state.
Our cities need help. The stress they face because they are the centers for many of the services that other communities depend on is unfair. Connecticut will only be as strong as these urban centers.
Looney comes up with a serious idea for more help and, as mentioned, one that was supported by both parties.
We are not ready to endorse his ideas for the payment, but we would like to see a debate. When Lamont publishes his budget proposal on Wednesday, he must show how he would help and pay for these communities. After all, this is one governor who, when he ran against an opponent who unrealistically promised to lift state income tax in 2018, replied that he would focus on property tax relief instead.
We are still waiting. Your move, Governor.
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