Study Panel Hears Taxing Concerns
State lawmakers last year created the Connecticut Tax Study Panel to come up with some better ideas for state tax policy and report them to the legislature by January 2016.
This week, the panel held a public hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to listen to ideas from people and organizations, including CBIA.
And while the committee’s chairs, former State Sen. William Nickerson and former State Rep. William Dyson, said the discussion had to stay on revenue-neutral ground, most testifying said Connecticut’s spending habits have to be part of the discussion.
Concerns were voiced over a wide range of state taxes–personal income, estate, property, sales, hospital, business, and even car wash taxes.
“We can’t keep taxing like this,” was the gist of the message, with a call for the state to create a viable fiscal plan and stick with it.
The hearing took place just after Kiplinger named Connecticut the second-worst tax-friendly state in the United States, behind only California.
Divided into four subcommittees, the panel is charged with reviewing Connecticut’s income, corporate, consumer, and property tax structures and recommending how to modernize our tax system and make it fairer and more stable.
Earlier this year, the panel selected a consultant, Robert Ebel, who has done similar work for Minnesota, Nevada, and the District of Columbia, to develop a report on Connecticut’s tax policy.
In a “guiding principles” memo to the group in May, Ebel outlined the basics behind the panel’s work. He touched on some issues addressing what’s common practice in Connecticut and how the panel can help alleviate it.
“As legislators convene session after session, they often must take ad hoc actions in response to addressing immediate needs. Over time, such actions can lead to an intricately-constructed patchwork of unwieldy and contradictory collection of rules and regulations that have unintended and harmful results.”
He added that “if a state and its localities … create a revenue system that is characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, the result is to discourage private investment and job development within the state.”
It’s important for Connecticut businesses of all sizes—many of which often plan at least a decade out—to have a stable tax system that enables them to offer good jobs and compete and succeed here.
The study panel will hold its next meetings on September 30 and October 13, with its report due to the legislature by January 2016.
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