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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: No Budget Increase But Plenty of New Taxes

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  July 5, 2019 --

The 2019 Connecticut Legislative session wrapped up on June 5th with the passage of a budget. Governor Lamont had pushed for a budget that did not include an increase in the sales tax rate and that did occur. What they did instead is expand areas that will now be taxed. You will now pay a tax on tickets to entertainment events such as theaters and games, prepared meals, parking, dry cleaning, automobile trade ins and ride sharing (Uber, Lyft) among other areas. The proposed tax increase on investments income on the wealthy was dropped. They did add a statewide conveyance tax on the sale of homes costing over $2.5 million.

There is some good news such as the phase out of income taxes on Social Security and pensions. There was no decrease in aid for city and town schools with some district receiving a small increase in funding. The budget introduced a program to provide a debt-free college program at community colleges for Connecticut residents funded by creating a new on-line lottery.

Included in the budget is a new fee on single-use checkout bags with the eventual phase out of singleuse plastic bags. Starting August 1,2019, stores will be required to charge a ten cents fee for every plastic check-out bag provided to the customer. Exempted from this fee are other plastic bags such as, compostable plastic bags, bags provided for meat, seafood, loose produce or other unwrapped food, newspaper bags and laundry or dry-cleaning bags. Compostable plastic bags are defined as plastic bags that conform with the American Society of Testing Material standards and is capable of biological decomposition. Starting July 1, 2021, no owner or store will be allowed to provide or sell single-use checkout bags to customers at point of sale.

Outside the budget bill, license renewals will now be done every eight years instead of six and motor vehicle registration renewals go from every two to three years. Failed bills included the adoption of tolls on our highways which will come back in a special session. Legalized marijuana and school regionalization of local school district failed. They also did not approve a bill that would allow the importing of drugs from Canada and other recommendations to decrease health care costs. Bills concerning the ban on plastic straws, Styrofoam food containers and the expansion of the bottle bill to teas, juices and sport drinks also died at the end of the session.

Now is the time to start working your Grange resolutions to be sent to State Grange. How do you feel about some of the state topics such as banning plastic straws and Styrofoam containers, early voting, and other topics? Write a resolution and let us know. The Connecticut Grange web site has information for the proper formatting of resolutions. You can also contact any member of the Legislative Committee for assistance in writing your resolution.



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