The Capitol Beat: August 31, 2015

The world may owe you a living, but you have to hustle to collect!


Governor Says Nyet to GOP’s Call for a Special Session to Repeal Unitary Tax As Three Panels Zero in on the Sensitive Topic

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, Friday implored the Governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to repeal the unitary tax provisions adopted during the 2015 session and due to take effect January 1, 2016. The Governor rebuffed the idea, but indicated he would be open to “thought-out, thoughtful, realistic” proposals that don’t involve “phantom savings.”

Meanwhile, the imposition of the unitary tax in Connecticut – the only New England state that does not have such a levy – continues to be the focal point of much discussion. It is not just the new corporate tax that is causing angst; the state is projecting more budget deficits in 2018 and 2019, totaling $760 million and $650 million, respectively.

State Tax Panel to Solicit Input on Tax Policy at Public Hearing September 16

On September 16, the State Tax Panel charged with studying and making recommendations on the entire state revenue infrastructure by the end of the year, will hold a meeting at 10 a.m. followed by a public hearing from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building, Room 2B, in Hartford. Anyone may sign up to testify at the hearing on any facet of state tax policy. Generally, testimony is accepted electronically beforehand and oral testimony is limited to 3 minutes. Specific details from the Tax Panel are expected in the next few days. The Tax Panel has been busy gathering data from Connecticut and other states over the summer.

DRS Commissioner’s Ad-Hoc Practitioner Group Reviewing Unitary Tax, Revenue Gaps

Meanwhile, over at the state Department of Revenue Services (DRS), the Commissioner has formed an ad-hoc group of tax practitioners who are delving into the nuances of the unitary tax, and how it would be implemented. Part of the challenge is how to fill revenue shortfalls – the unitary tax is expected to generate $23.7 million a year. DRS Commissioner Kevin Sullivan is an ex-officio member of the State Tax Panel so there’s a good bet he will have some say about the outcome of this issue.

Economic Competitiveness Commission Prepares to Tackle Implications of Tax Policy

Created in one of the Special Session budget bills in the heat of the battle over the potentially far-reaching impact of the unitary tax, the newly formed legislative Commission on Economic Competitiveness is also gearing up to look at the inequities, inconsistencies, and hurdles posed by this tax, in particular, as well as state tax policy, in general. The 13-member panel, consisting of public and private sector interests, will analyze the affects of state tax policy on state business and industry. They will also be responsible for developing policies that promote economic growth. And yes, DRS Commissioner Kevin Sullivan is a member of this Commission, as is Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith. Stay tuned for the meeting schedule and other details.

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