A state budget that reflects our priorities – Finance Committee hearing

Back • March 6, 2017 • Uncategorized

The state budget should reflect the core values and priorities of its residents. It should advance a vibrant, more inclusive economy. It should connect residents – funding not only roads and bridges but also public transportation and high speed internet. It should open the doors of opportunity to all children and families.

That is why your voice is needed, when the Legislature's Finance Committee will consider a number of proposals to change the revenue side of the budget.  

Several proposals will be heard that will reduce or eliminate estate and gift taxes and decrease taxes on retiree income.  Connecticut Voices for Children will be present to urge Committee members to base their decisions about these matters on hard facts rather than speculation. Connecticut needs a balanced budget approach that includes adequate revenue raised through a transparent and equitable tax structure.

Please consider joining us at the Legislative Office Building.

Finance Committee hearing

Friday, March 3 – Room 2E, 1:00 PM

Estate tax changes:

Retirement and social security exemptions:

Why are they important?  We at Connecticut Voices for Children understand the concerns of policymakers to remain competitive with our peer states when it comes to tax policy. Likewise, we recognize that retirees and individuals with high-worth estates contribute to our economy in significant ways.

There is no evidence, however, that tax policy causes residents to flee the state. Both measures will have significant costs for Connecticut. Exempting retirement income from state income taxes not only reduces revenue in the short term, but given the state's aging population, will have a bigger impact in the coming years.

Our Position: Should the legislature choose to adopt retiree income tax exemptions, we recommend that lawmakers target relief to residents earning less than $150,000 to reduce the fiscal impact of the measure and make it more equitable. Should the legislature choose to reduce gift or estate taxes, which help to reduce existing income and wealth disparity across the state, we encourage lawmakers to cover the cost of any cuts with income tax or capital gains tax increases for high earners.

Property tax and local finance:

Why Are They Important? Our property tax system stifles economic development, penalizes poor families, and deepens racial and educational inequality. These proposals introduce reforms in the system to alleviate some of these issues, be it by reducing their impact on business (S.B.7) , giving municipalities other sources of revenue (S.B.8), or providing tax relief through tax credits (S.B 415).

Our Position: These reforms are well-intentioned. We believe, however, that the property tax system requires a more systemic overhaul. We will testify about our proposal for a statewide adjusted property tax system to fund education in the state to address these issues.

How to testify:

Public speaker order will be determined by a lottery system. Lottery numbers will be drawn from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. in the First Floor Atrium of the LOB.  Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names placed at the end of the speaker list. Bring 35 copies of your testimony when signing up so the committee staff can distribute them to legislators.

For written testimony, email it in Word or PDF format to FINtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

Reference Materials: Budget Reports

Connecticut Voices for Children has released several reports covering many issues relating to the state budget. They can be an useful reference when submitting testimony. 

You can also find interactive data presentations for most of these reports in our Tableau page.