Finance approves bills on conveyance tax, internet sales

How powerful are the members of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee? They can keep the sun from setting for two years.

By a vote of 35 to 15, the committee approved a bill that delays for two years the “sunset” of the real-estate conveyance tax, which was due to expire July 1.

The panel also voted 35 to 13 to approve a bill intended to help the state collect the sales tax on internet sales.

Cash-strapped municipalities, which receive about $43 million from the real-estate conveyance tax, had heavily lobbied to keep the tax on the books.

Sen. Eileen M. Daily, D-Westbrook, co-chairwoman of the committee, said the best the legislature could do for the beleaguered real-estate industry was set a new sunset deadline.

She made clear there is no guarantee the sun will set in two years.

“It should be clear it’s ‘we hope,’ ” she said.

“Let’s hope we’re all here to see it,” said Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton.

By amendment, the committee merged the bill with a House bill that exempts from the tax sellers of homes that are in foreclosure or “under water,” worth less than the mortgage.