Municipal leaders converged on the state capitol Wednesday to protest Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plan to eliminate town car taxes, a proposal leaders of cities and small towns alike have said could result in higher property taxes locally.
“I think the governor’s proposal is dead on arrival,” Jim Finley, chief lobbyist for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, told the blog Capitol Watch. “There are no votes for it.”
CCM organized a gathering Wednesday at the capitol, getting mayors and employees of many of Connecticut’s cities to turn out and protest Malloy’s proposal for an across-the-board elimination of the car tax on vehicles assessed at less than $28,000.
The plan, Malloy has said, is intended to provide middle-class tax relief to Connecticut residents.
But mayors, town managers and first selectmen of financially strapped municipalities, both big and small, from across Connecticut have collectively panned the idea, saying it will cost communities millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenues that would have to be up somewhere else, probably in local real estate taxes.
The towns of East Windsor and Windsor Locks could stand to lose a combined $7.2 million if the governor's proposal is adopted, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis. Roughly $2.2 million of that would come from the town of East Windsor.
In Windsor Locks, the office estimtes that the town would lose $5 million. First Selectman Steve Wawruck estimates the loss would be less than half that amount, at about $2.1 million and would cause the tax rate to increase by roughly 2.25 mills.
Municipal leaders have said Malloy’s proposal comes at a bad time for communities that are still trying to recoup revenues lost by declining grand list property values after the Great Recession.
“I don’t know what the governor’s motivation was,” Finley told the blog. “I’ll take him at his word that he wanted to provide direct property tax relief to car owners. But it comes at a terrible cost to municipalities.”