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.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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