WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 15, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Eleven mayors from Connecticut cities and towns representing nearly one million state residents gathered in Hartford today to praise the state budget passed last week by Democrats in the General Assembly, saying it provides essential public school aid while increasing PILOT payments and cutting one of the most burdensome taxes in the state: the local property tax.
Mayors from New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, East Hartford, West Hartford, Middletown, Hamden, New London and Norwich gathered at the State Capitol to thank Democratic legislators for protecting municipalities and their residents from drastic budget cuts in the recently completed FY16-17 state budget while simultaneously increasing school aid for many cities and towns and creating a new mechanism to provide a multi-million dollar revenue stream for cities and towns that will provide more state reimbursements for untaxable local property while simultaneously helping to reduce automobile taxes and the overall reliance on local property taxes.
State grants to cities and towns total $6.4 billion in the new biennial state budget, or about one out of every six dollars spent by the state. The budget provides $54 million in new state education aid to Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns and $214 million in new tax relief through the provisions of Senate Bill 1 (as incorporated in the budget bill), of which $59 million will directly help car and truck owners reduce their property tax bills.
According to a 2013 report by the Tax Foundation “The Sources of State and Local Tax Revenue,” local property tax payments in Connecticut make up the bulk of all taxes paid, comprising 42 percent of all state and local revenues collected. The Tax Foundation’s “2015 State Business Tax Climate Index” also ranked Connecticut 49th out of 50 states for its property tax burden on businesses.
“This is a truly transformational budget, not only for mayors and first selectmen, but for millions of people and businesses all across Connecticut,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “In terms of the effect of the property tax reforms and additional local aid in the budget, we made the PILOT distribution much more equitable, the car tax relief is a double benefit in that local taxpayers pay less while municipalities are held financially harmless, and the sales tax distribution helps everyone.”
“This budget is about property tax relief for hardworking families, and our cities and towns understand how important this is to their local economies,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden). “We’ve reformulated state aid for our municipalities to be more fair and to lessen the property tax burden on all of the families and businesses in our communities, and most car owners will see a reduction in their motor vehicle tax, which is the most unfair of all taxes.”
“Returning a portion of the sales tax to our towns and cities has always been a goal of mine,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “This helps to find another revenue stream other than the crushing property tax system. This will help our families and businesses find relief, especially since it is coupled with a property tax cap and car tax cap.”
“We worked hard to ensure that the impact of increased taxes would not fall on our hard-working, middle-class families, and this budget gives significant property tax relief for those families,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin, Southington). “Every town and city will receive additional state aid, and towns with a significant amount of untaxable property will receive additional state aid. This will help relieve the property tax burden on families and small businesses in every community.”
Seven of Connecticut’s thirteen largest cities and towns were represented at today’s press conference.
“I remember as far back as last fall, myself and other mayors knew the conflicting pressures that the state budget would be under to fund both necessary services and to not make drastic cuts to municipal aid. That was a big concern for those of us on the front lines of providing the day-to-day services that our residents count on,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, who could not attend today’s press conference but who wanted to express his support for the state budget. “I am more than pleased to say that the governor and the legislature kept their word to hold us harmless, and even provide a little bit more in many cases. That’s extraordinary considering all of the competing demands on a limited pool of state spending, and I and the residents of Norwalk are very thankful for it.”
Contact: Adam Joseph