One consistent call in nearly every legislative session is for property tax reform. More than most states, Connecticut relies on the local property tax to fund local government, and municipalities, taxpayers and policymakers would like to see the system improved.
However, the property tax changes contained in several bills before the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee have been considered and rejected many times over the years because they would simply make a bad situation worse.
Each of the bills opposed by CBIA in a recent Planning and Development public hearing would merely shift some of the tax burden from one class of taxpayer to another.
- HB 6233 would allow municipalities to create a “homestead exemption” for residential property. A homestead exemption reduces the assessed value of property for tax purposes. But the result is a reduction in the town’s grand list, followed by an increase in the mill rate—which raises taxes on other classes of property, particularly commercial and industrial real and personal property. Such schemes have been rejected every time they have been considered because of the negative effect they have on job creation and retention in the state.
- Similarly, SB 784 and SB 463 authorize municipalities to classify different types of property at different rates. These types of property tax classification measures again only shift the tax burden between different classes of property and do nothing to minimize the overall tax load. Employers are very sensitive to property tax classification measures because many other states do not even place a tax on business personal property like Connecticut does. Any increase in taxes at either the state or local level at this time will make it more difficult to grow our way out of the economic doldrums we find ourselves in.
- CBIA also opposes SB 783, which would allow any distressed municipality to create or amend boundaries of an underutilized development zone and tax underutilized property at a higher rate than developed property.
We continue to encourage the Planning and Development Committee to forego these and other similar proposals in favor of real property tax reform.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org