Lamont seeks major sales tax changes

Lamont seeks major sales tax changes



By SUSAN HAIGH

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Ned Lamont has called for revamping Connecticut's sales tax system, offering a budget plan that would impose the 6.35 percent levy on a long list of additional goods and services.

The proposed sales tax changes are a key part of the Democrat's first budget, a two-year $43.1 billion tax-and-spending plan he presented to the General Assembly on Wednesday. The budget comes at a time when Connecticut still faces deficit challenges.

"Today, I am presenting you a budget which gives us the best chance to get this state growing again," Lamont told lawmakers during a joint address to the legislature.

The new fiscal year beginning July 1 is projected to be $1.5 billion in the red, while fiscal year 2021 is expected to have a $2.2 billion deficit.

"There are no easy choices," said Melissa McCaw, Lamont's budget director, referring to the plan which includes some controversial concepts, such as highway tolls. "There is pain throughout."

Lamont's plan extends the sales tax to a long list of goods and services, eliminating existing exemptions for items ranging from accounting services to vegetable seeds. While McCaw said Lamont, a former successful businessman, wants to impose a "level playing field," past governors have tried to pare tax exemptions but faced strong opposition from special interest groups.

The budget calls for increasing taxes on digital downloads and hotel rooms, eliminating the sales tax free week, imposing a 10-cent surcharge on plastic bags, and adding a 25-cent deposit on wine and liquor glass bottles. It also would increase taxes on electronic cigarettes and set 21 as the age to legally buy cigarettes. McCaw said there are no changes to the sales or income tax rates in the budget package.


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