Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont talks with reporters Wednesday at his campaign office in New Haven. Keith M. Phaneuf / CTMirror.org
Gov. Ned Lamont
Gov. Ned Lamont

Gov. Ned Lamont wants to end Connecticut’s cycle of budget deficits, deliver property-tax relief and amass a fiscal bulwark against the next recession. But to do it, he may push wary legislators to extend the sales tax for the first time to groceries, medications and other long-exempt items.

Lamont pledged during the 2018 campaign that he would not raise the income tax or empty the state’s budget reserves to close a shortfall of $1.5 billion projected for the coming fiscal year, saying neither of those measures would bring fiscal stability to a state that has struggled to balance its budget in every year but one from 2007 to 2017.

While removing these exemptions could generate hundreds of millions more a year for the state’s coffers, Lamont would find it extremely difficult to sell lawmakers on the idea of taxing bread, milk, and medicine —  even with the lofty goal of fiscal stability.

“In order to build a better budget — one that will attempt to provide the much-needed stability for economic growth through the next two years and through the next decade — we need to explore new and different options,” said Chris McClure, spokesman for the governor’s budget office. “This means leaving no stone unturned, and engaging in all necessary conversations so we can evaluate and analyze ways to achieve and retain balance.”

The new governor’s first budget proposal isn’t due to legislators for another month. But his administration has been researching options to broaden the sales tax base and reduce the 6.35 percent rate across-the-board, a variation on a post-election recommendation made by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Competitiveness. The study group called for an end to most exemptions, but only a two-percent tax on groceries.

Winning approval of a measure extending the state’s sales tax to groceries and other exempt items mostly likely would turn on the ability of the new and untested administration to frame Lamont’s first budget as the necessary first step toward ending the state’s chronic budget shortfalls.

Expanding the sales tax would not break any campaign promise made by Lamont, but it would draw Democratic legislators, few of whom have close relationships with the new governor, into an uncomfortable debate about a tax that would be felt most deeply in the homes of the working poor and middle class.

Mitigating that impact is a federal law barring the taxation of of food purchased through SNAP, the supplemental nutrition assistance program formerly known as food stamps. It now serves 384,000 individuals in 215,000 households in Connecticut.

Billions of dollars in sales tax exemptions

The sales tax is projected to generate $4.2 billion this fiscal year, the second-largest source of revenue for the $20 billion budget after the income tax. It also has dozens of exemptions, many dating back decades, that could raise another $2.7 billion if ended, according to the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

The exempted goods and services run the gamut from college textbooks to vegetable seeds, electrolysis services to winter boat storage. Critics argue no economic analysis of these types of breaks was performed before they were approved, and rarely are they re-examined. 

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, right, and former Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford.

Former Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, advocated repeatedly for a broader sales tax base during the first decade of the 2000s. Canceling exemptions and using the savings to lower the sales tax rate, he said, was simple fairness.

“We shouldn’t be picking winners and losers” in the marketplace, Guglielmo told the CT Mirror. “I don’t know how many people knew about these tax exemptions, but if they did they would be upset.”

Most of these are worth a few million dollars or less, a tiny fraction of the overall sales-tax stream. But there also are some large ones. The challenge, though, is that those have broader appeal.

Consumers would pay an estimated $424 million more this year on groceries if the full 6.35 percent sales tax was applied. The exemption for prescription medication, syringes and needles saves shoppers another $387 million — or $416 million after the tax break for over-the-counter medications is included.

To sell such a plan to Democrats, Lamont mostly likely would stress that the blow to consumers with limited incomes would be cushioned by his intention to support a higher minimum wage. Progressives are proposing to mirror Massachusetts, raising Connecticut’s current $10.10 minimum to $15 by 2023.

The state also has an Earned Income Tax Credit that pays $118 million to the working poor. And Lamont wants a new “targeted relief” program that would eventually provide an average income tax credit of $700 to low- and middle-income families with hefty property tax burdens, though not immediately.

“Residents and businesses deserve a true comprehensive research process and the final results will be delivered in Governor Lamont’s proposal to the General Assembly and the people of Connecticut next month,” McClure said.

And the Democratic governor knows many will be watching.

Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford

Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, co-chair of the tax-writing Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said his litmus test for the governor’s tax proposals will be simple: “My objective is to grow our economy and I will look at the tax structure in that regard. Does it support economic growth?”

Republican legislative leaders said they’ll judge Lamont’s plan on two key criteria: How much tax relief is there to offset any new sales tax burdens? And does the new budget cut enough spending?

“I think Gov. Lamont has talked about structural changes (in spending) that will encourage economic growth,”  said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. “Until I see what the mixture is in that first budget, they are just words now.”

Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford

Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford, said middle-class families won’t be too excited about property tax relief in two or three years if they pay even more in sales taxes.

“The public is going to see it as a tax increase the minute it hits their bottom line,” he said, adding he also is wary of the impact of taxing groceries and medications in poor communities.

Democrats have similar concerns, even some who worked for Lamont’s election and served on his transition, such as Rep. Toni E. Walker, D-New Haven, the longtime co-chair of the Appropriations Committee. She said while there are many in Connecticut who want property tax relief, there are far more who buy groceries and medicine.

“We’re struggling to try and get people on health care,” she said, noting that added sales tax burdens could lead some to ignore medical problems.

Rep. Toni E. Walker, D-New Haven

“We’ve hit bottom on mental health and addiction services, we’ve got a dramatic opioid problem,” Walker said. “We’re going in the wrong direction.”

The Connecticut Food Association, which represents the state’s grocers, said a new sales tax burden could be one part of a much-larger hit on stores and shoppers. For example, association president Wayne Pesce asked, what happens if a new sales tax charge arrives at the same time as electronic tolling and an increased Connecticut minimum wage?

“All of these things tend to be looked at independently when they could hit us collectively,” he said. “It would be an extreme challenge and if you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer in Connecticut, you’re having trouble sleeping at night.”

If Connecticut were to impose a sales tax on groceries, it wouldn’t be the first state to do so.

According to the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based tax policy research group, 14 states currently impose rates ranging from 1 to 5 percent. But none of them are Connecticut’s neighbors, including the other five New England states, New York and New Jersey.

McClure said the administration envisions a solution that brings all stakeholders to the table. “The idea that everyone, absolutely everyone, agrees with is that we need a stable and structurally sound budget along with a clear and inclusive vision of what we want our future to be in order to provide our families and economic leaders the confidence they need to grow in Connecticut,” he said.

Broader tax could strengthen economy

But broadening the sales tax could be an important step toward growing the state’s economy. University of Connecticut economist Fred Carstensen, a longtime critic of the state’s fractured sales tax system says the web of exemptions is taking a toll.

University of Connecticut economist Fred Carstensen

In seven of the nine years since the last recession, economic growth rates for the sales tax have ranged from 0.9 to 2.8 percent, according to the Office of Policy and Management.

And analysts project annual growth ranging from 2.3 to 2.5 percent over the next three years.

But while things appear stable, the sales tax is faltering according to one key metric.

About 2.42 percent of Connecticut’s household consumption — what consumers spend after they’ve paid income taxes and saved or invested — went toward sales taxes five years ago, Carstensen says. Now it’s down to 2.2 percent.

Why does that matter? 

It’s because the state would be collecting an extra $220 million now were Connecticut consumers spending like they had five years ago.

“This is not inconsequential,” Carstensen said, adding that if this deterioration is occurring while Connecticut is not in recession, what happens when the next, inevitable downturn occurs?

The fix, he added, is a broader sales tax base and a lower rate. “You want to create the smallest amount of distortion, make it easier for businesses to apply so you have as stable of a revenue stream as possible,” he said.

“It’s enormously costly and complex for businesses to implement these exemptions,” Carstensen added. “If you have a sales tax on chocolate but not on peanuts, what do you do when you have chocolate-covered-peanuts?”

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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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65 Comments

  1. Ned Malloy 2.0 more taxes with no cuts to state spending or union give backs.No structurel reform just keep feeding the beast

    1. Did any serious student of CT’s fiscal and economic “challenges” over the decades really believe Gov. Lamont would depart from policies of Gov. Malloy ?
      CT is the nation’s premier “Blue State” serving as a guidepost of what to expect. Best call in the movers.

  2. As expected, no discussion regarding spending cuts. Even though the State of Connecticut is the single largest employer in the state. And one which consumes the continually shrinking private sector’s taxes.

    Connecticut has run out of other people’s money. And blaming those who generate all the “revenue” for it.

      1. The per capita statistics are somewhat misleading in that it doesn’t accurately reflect the total expense (salaries, benefits, pensions, retiree health costs) that state employees impose on the state. When the state government is by far the largest employer in the state, that means that those 40,000+ are living solely from the taxes paid by private employees and their employers. And as private employer’s and their employees and families leave the state, who exactly is left to pay for the state workers?

        Given the horrendous unfunded pension and other retiree benefits that public service employees have in Connecticut, there is no way to believe that because our per capita state employee count is anywhere near good.

  3. What next? How about the air which is now free? I’m sure the demorats have a way to do that too and it will be a fair tax you can bet on that.

  4. Out of one side of their mouths, they promise to reduce the cost of prescription meds. Out of the other side, they say we need to tax prescription meds.

    Regarding what the CGA refers to as ‘property tax relief’ is a joke. A property tax exemption doesn’t change anything as far as the revenue a town needs each year.. Plus, the State has all but mandated ever-increasing education budgets with their Minimum Budget Requirements. All that means is the mill rates will have to jump within the towns to meet their needs–or jack the assessments. The result, either way, is the same. Taking away the car taxes and then redistributing them as the CGA wishes places a further strain (and uncertainty) on towns each year. Then, the State says they’ll place another ‘small’ property tax on real estate, which they also take from us and re-distribute as they wish. In the meantime, we are already bailing out the failing cities. Just imagine how much of ‘your money’ will go to them.

    Well, CT, this is what YOU voted for.

  5. Taxing basic necessities is just stupid, unfair, and counterproductive, and reveals an unimaginative, phoney, closet conservative —who ran for governor, and won on progressive credentials… His ineptitude suggests the inevitability of a billionaires’/millionaires’ tax, declaration of bankruptcy by the major urban centers, and ultimately, the election of a governor and GA capable of imagining and creating a properous state of working people making living wages, taxed fairly, and working in their own communities —not forced to commute to the overdeveloped, over-served Gold Coast, from whence this Oligarch Governor hails…

    1. I don’t know what kind of mental gymnastics you have to go through to think that conservatives are people who raise taxes that hurt the middle class in order to justify heavy social welfare spending.

      1. Only going by history and definition… Modern American conservatism is associated with regressive taxation policy that favors the wealthy… No “mental gymnastics” involved… (Heavy “welfare spending”?… Such as maintaining public schools and essential services, and meeting pension obligations?…)

  6. Hey… Why not add a sunset clause to it also because we know from past experience legislators will be true to their promises.
    Hahaha… When an article is written it is journalistic malpractice to not mention all the previous taxes that started out as 1 and 2 percent.
    Tolls… Marijuana… And now taxes on groceries & medications. YUP… Democrats Maintaining their time tested tax and spend agenda!

  7. The taxes indicated are regressive taxes which will more severely affect the poorer among us. The answer, of course, is to finally come clean about lowering expenses, much like families have to do. That will not happen in a Democrat administration and its unholy alliance with state employee unions.

    1. Building on your point, Meg: When we talk about expanding or increasing taxes, one has to wonder where that tipping point is, at which someone who was “doing OK” is knocked down a notch and added to the “struggling” category. Maybe tolls, grocery tax, etc. is just enough to make the difference. And that’s a category of residents I think gets left out of a lot of discussions. Add to that how the new admin’s plans seem to make local property tax increases inevitable, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

      I’ve long thought that at both the state and local levels, home ownership — primary residence, specifically — should be encouraged and fostered, because it’s how neighborhoods are built and sustained. But these days in many CT towns — often the ones that need such activity the most — buying a home is the worst thing one could do.

      1. $6 billion spent on Super Bowl betting and CT isn’t getting a dime. Where has the effort been on sports betting in this state? Hartford is quite organized “studying” tolls, but not so much on sports betting.

  8. Nothing new here. Put the bulk of the financial burden to plug the budget shortfall on the backs of hard working middle class CT taxpayers. Low income households will be exempt through SNAP. No talk of spending cuts or state union concessions. Connecticut continues its voyage down the proverbial drain with Ned at the helm. The exodus of state residents and employers will continue.

  9. Yup let’s throw more taxes in so we can throw more money at our fiscal problems instead of looking at the spending problems. How about figuring a way to get business to want to come to CT to help bring more $$ in? OMG Malloy 2.0!

  10. LOL….Democrats delivering the socialism of communism….with them at the helm with their rich cronies DESTROYING THE MIDDLE CLASS.

    Flee if you can. Tell us how much more a HEDGEFUND manager would pay in taxes to support those $300k public pensions and retiring 40 year olds?

  11. so people with go without FOOD AND MEDICINE….so Public workers can retire in their 40’s or with $300k pension….LOL

  12. More taxes from our new Governor. No surprise. Neither candidate spelled out a plan to solve CT’s perennial Billion dollar Budget Crisis nor rejuvenate our decade long stagnant economy. Nor has one emerged. So the additional tax plan is launched. The great damage from these new tax proposals is that they reinforce to both the public and the business sector that its still “business as usual in CT”. That guarantees a continued Exodus of jobs, firms and residents, especially wealthy ones. And will only encourage yet more CT residents to put their homes for sale. That there are 4,000 plus homes for sale in CT’s Gold Coast ought give everyone, especially CT’s elected officials, real pause. When our wealthy residents are seeking to relocate out of CT that sends a message literally heard “round the world”.

    Continued delay by our new Governor in launching a Budget Deficit reduction plan just makes our situation more difficult. There is no “best plan”. But any plan that secures broad support is far better than wondering and wondering what will be offered. And further delay hurts everyone.

    1. The truly unfortunate thing is that ANY reduction in spending for ANY element of our state’s government and its programs will be met with opposition, as every program or policy that exists is truly “essential.” Or so those involved may think.

      1. Promises by CT Governors are “written on blocks of ice” per the old Russian proverb. Best I can recall no other State Governor has ever proposed taxes on groceries whose impact is devastating on the poor.
        CT’s major cities, save Stamford, are among the nation’s most depressed. And staunchly Democrat. Be interesting to see if they “notice” the new tax.

  13. I would like to see a reduction in Income Tax, but an increase in Sales Tax. With a sales tax increase everyone would have to pay their fair share, those with more money to spend would of course pay more. The reason behind this, many legal or not, work in “cash” only type transaction and avoid income taxes on this money, with a increase in sales tax, you can capture that lost money. Those of us who file every year if calculated correctly would still spend about as much as we do, see a decrease in income tax. For food to be taxed, I would propose a tax, but only on purchases of some dollar amount. An example would be, if you drop 200$ at the check out, then you are taxed at 2%, anything under nothing. The 200 is just a number, someone smarter than I would have to figure these things out to where it makes sense.

    1. It’s an intriguing proposition, but I have to say that families like mine, in the rural part of the state, tend to spend $200 or more at the grocery store checkout… about every week and a half to two weeks or, in some cases, only once a month, to feed our families on $4.50 per person per day or less (the average SNAP family spends $5, and the maximum SNAP benefit provides something like $5.60), and I would not appreciating having to spend more gas to go to the grocery store more often in order to avoid a tax that is, I assume, meant to target the rich…

      So I would appreciate a different method used to decide whether the person buying groceries is rich or poor!

      1. It might be worthwhile for you to restate your comment, as it fails to allow identification of any meaningful theme or supportable contention in its present form…

  14. Only a multi-millionaire could think that taxing food and medications is a good option.
    Tax the wealthy. Get on with it.
    No tolls either. Tax the hedge funds.

  15. Few options? How about addressing the operational dysfunction, rampant patronage and out of control corruption infecting all three branches of state “government”?

    Why not finally look at the $2,000,000,000+/year wasted just to fund DCF and this state’s broken and corrupt “family” court systems and what they cost all of us.

    Which is $600+/year for every man, woman and child in this state. For what exactly? Two systems that destroy families and children for profit and greed?

  16. The LT Gov chairs meetings so why does she need a staff. Lamont gave some of his hires 50K raises. No concern about spending there. How many upper employees have car and drivers. How many administrators do the departments and UCONN have. Have many VP, assistant VPs, assistant to the assistant VP does UCONN have. How about streamlining operations, getting rid of collective bargaining for pensions and benefits, no counting overtime in pensions, and ditching binding arbittation. How about stopping the bribing of companies to stay with the First Five program. How about making this state livable for the middle class. Democrats have destroyed the state and the voters in Nov gave them permission.

    1. Any proposed cuts to any state operations (UConn, UConn Health among them) are met with hysteria. UConn Medical Center was paying a professor for six months although he never showed up or responded to emails. Because he was dead.

      UConn Athletics loses $40 million/year. USA Today wrote that the UConn Athletics subsidy is the largest in the country. But we need to raise taxes.

      UConn football should go to Division II and stop pretending that it can compete against the SEC, ACC, Big 10 etc.

  17. Food tax??!! It is THE most regressive tax possible, a tremendous burden on the poor and middle class. Shameful to even consider this without sever spending cuts as well as renegotiation of State workers’ deal.

  18. Well there are grocery stores over the border if you live near the state line. But no worries, pot, heroin, meth, prostitution and other sins can be legalized and taxed so we can continue to lavishly pay for cops making $300K+ sitting in their cars on “traffic” duty, and the expansion of UConn into private business using state employees, other out of control State employee OT scenarios and patronage favors that simply feed the uncontrolled and un-managed pension spike.

  19. The only reason that “there are few options” is because Malloy agreed to make up the pension deficit which accrued since the 1930s in just 15 years.

    My understanding of the state constitution is that laws may not bind future legislatures to prevent the provision essential services.

    Time to reopen the SEBAC deal. Only fund pensions for the current year as earned. Pay benefits to current retirees from the annual budget and let the current retirees take the same risk as the rest of the citizens that the state can stay solvent and have “essential” services.

  20. The grocery and medicine exemptions give a measure of progressivity to a tax that is otherwise regressive. Bad idea. Some exemptions and special rates are ludicrous and should be eliminated even if the revenue gain is small. Boat storage is one of them. Another is the 1 percent tax on purchases of streaming music online.

  21. I was disappointed to read that Governor Lamont is considering extending the income tax to groceries and medicine. I hope he’ll recognize the lack of fairness and utility of this as he looks for solutions to our state’s problems.

    Finding a way to broaden the sales tax base may be a reasonable goal, but groceries and medicine are unfair targets. The list of sales tax exemptions is startling in its protection of some powerful industries. Attorney and accountant fees, the sale and repair of aircraft, the sale and repair of boats owned by people residing out of state, the sale of automobiles to people living out of state, many of the expenses of the fishing industry and of the trucking industry—all are exempt from sales tax. One wonders at exemptions for ice storage equipment and photographic film. All of these should be the first targets for broadening the sales tax. Extending the tax to this list might not bring in a tremendous amount of revenue, but it would bring a degree of fairness. The average American family spends 10% of its income on food, and for many working-class families that figure is more than 20%. It’s easy to illustrate the concept of regressive taxation when you contrast their condition with the effect the tax would have on families earning $200,000 per year, regardless of their culinary tastes.

    Taxing groceries at 6.25% would raise $424 million in revenue (even the Commission on Fiscal Stability, hardly a group of bleeding hearts, suggested that the tax be limited to 2%). Yet consider that for every half-percent increase that we raise on our millionaires, our state generates $200 million. A 1% increase for millionaires would equal the amount raised by regressively taxing families struggling to get by. These are desperate times, certainly, but until law firms, trucking, the aircraft and boating industries, fishing, auto dealerships, and the fortunate folks earning over a million pay their share, it would be wrong to ask struggling families and the ill to pay in their place.

    1. Tax more so you can supply more money to an irresponsible government? A government that has criminally mismanaged billions of dollars over decades?

  22. It is inherently unacceptable to tax items such as food and medicine, which are necessary for life. There are plenty of exemptions that could be reconsidered and made taxable as a matter of fairness.. Expect single interest groups to oppose those any change that might effect them.

  23. Food Tax is outrageous and unconscionable! This would destroy even more households in CT and force many out onto the streets! Lamont is just plain EVIL if he does this!

  24. Do you ever hear a Democrat talk about lowering gov’t spending? Never! All they ever want to do is dig deeper into our pocketbooks. Disgusting.

  25. This is going to tip the scales against working people and the elderly, many which are just above qualifying for any state aid but their other bills take up most of their income. Gas for work, as opposed to free taxis for the others, car registrations, as opposed to those who walk or stay home all day, food which seems to get more expensive every month as opposed to those who get SNAP that we pay for. How ironic that the national Democrat party is touting lower prescription costs for a 2020 run. I recently read that the money that Ct. has tapped onto our homeowners insurance (which I believe is illegal to seize funds from private citizens) for the crumbling foundations is not going to be spent wholly on the foundations but will be distributed in New Haven for low income housing repairs also? The entire state gets slapped. Every household gets slapped unless you are on welfare. I’m elderly and sick of going to the grocery store like I did yesterday and buy a 1/2 pound of american cheese and bologna with change I had in my purse while the Spanish speaking family ahead of me has three full carts of premium food and swipes a SNAP card.

  26. Mr Gugielmo’s assertion that the State cannot pick winners and losers so therefore we must tax ALL products and services is the most absurd statement of many absurd statements in this article. The state picks their “winners” every year with millions and millions and millions of tax subsidies, grants and loans to those companies politically connected. The rest of us (the majority) get nothing.

  27. Good! GOOD! Tax EVERYTHING! Let the mass exodus begin. Maybe pretty soon I will be able to finally drive down a highway without being in a traffic jam. Seriously though…CT voters are getting exactly what they voted for. You reap what you sow. Hope everyone that voted for all these democrats I mean taxacrats are happy. Be warned though this is just the beginning. Wait until you have to pay a state property tax on your house in addition to the property tax you pay to your town! Hope you all love that one! But no one should be surprised. This guy said he was going to have more taxes and tolls. The best thing will be if the new taxes and tolls go into effect on the same day! Wouldn’t that just be a hoot!

  28. The spin machine has been started. Looney’s forced regionalization, broad sales taxes, statewide property taxes, paid family leave, minimum wage, dope, sports gambling. Democrats live for this chaos and it makes their eyes sparkle. No where, anywhere, is there any rational analysis regarding cost reductions, loss of business income, loss of residents. It’s a side show before the circus begins.

  29. The sad reality is that early in his tenure Gov. Lamont has adopted the strategy of raising taxes rather than cutting outlays to deal with nearly a decade of billion dollar State Budget deficits. Demonstrating again the powerful influence of CT’s public Unions responsible for about 40% of CT’s State Budget. By proposing taxes on groceries and other items that are not usually taxed in other States Gov Lamont is advertising loud and clear to the business community that there is no realistic plan to either stabilize CT’s finances nor rejuvenate our economy. For a State with a decade long stagant economy raising taxes especially on consumers is about least productive and useful way to resolve CT’s decades long fiscal crisis.

    During the campaign neither candidate offered detailed plans with professional assistance on resolving either the State’s lackluster economy or endemic CT fiscal crises. Nor was there much interest in CT’s media for details forthcoming. Maybe the sad truth is that CT’s voters understand there are no reasonable solutions that will solve either CT’s fiscal or economic long standing issues.

    But the major casualty from the Governor’s proposed consumer tax is surely the business community. They now have firm evidence that CT’s governance is simply not focused on appropriately resolving either its Budget deficits nor its long stagnant economy. It’s hard to overestimate the now expected subsequent damage to CT’s economy from that stance. Taxing groceries is an admission of object failure of purpose. Early in his term Gov. Lamont has telegraphed CT is unable to get its house in order sufficiently to attract major new businesses. Nor to restrain the well established Exodus of jobs, firms and residents. Sad day for CT residents.

  30. No, this is wrong and harms the poor and working class people of our state. If I am fortunate to be elected as the new State Representative in East Haven I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening.

    1. Please consider that if prescription medications are added to this proposal, the effects are devastating. Many biological drugs may cost $Thousands and adding a tax to these inflates prices, would be devastating.

      An interesting complication is that Federal Law prohibits sales tax on SNAP benefits.
      https://dor.wa.gov/get-form-or-publication/publications-subject/tax-topics/food-benefits-under-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap-or-successor-program

  31. It should come as no surprise that the percentage of money spent on the sales
    tax has gone down. When the state raises taxes, within a struggling economy unable to increase wages, disposable income goes down. Disposable income goes down, so do sales. The State of Connecticut fix; take more of the less you have.
    Jim

  32. Apparently my previous comment did not meet the new criteria. So, I will keep this very short and sweet. The new governor during his campaign said he would not raise taxes. His new position is in direct contradiction to his previous campaign promises. I ask that all commentators continue to point out the fallacy of the democrat position on raising taxes whether it be income or whatever tax they want to call it. It really is a shame that the media can’t point out the different positions by the same person.

  33. “Few options” says the headline. Any freshman economics college student could offer one – “cut State spending”. Especially on CT’s overpaid public Unions who comprise 40% of the CT budget. Where substantial numbers enjoy 6 figure pensions as high as $300k + (see Yankee Institute).
    Sadly Gov. Lamont had no real “plan” before the election nor one afterwards. Taxing groceries puts huge burdens on the poor who generally vote Democrat. Taxing groceries further extends the notion that CT is the nation’s most mismanaged State. One where new business does not tread.

  34. How about shrinking the size of government? You get the government you deserve voters of Connecticut. States cannot print their way out of trouble like the Federal government, You keep voting in politicians that love to tax and spend and kick the can down the road. Lamont is a Greenwich Ct. Democrat who is out of touch with the North East and South East parts of Connecticut. Lamont and go talk to these people who really feel the pain of all your taxation!!!!

  35. So, increasing taxes is the only possible option, right? Cutting spending is not even possible, right?

  36. This is always the Dems solutions. Raise taxes. I am sure there is no wasted spending to be found anywhere in the state run organizations to be found anywhere. And why are our interstates free to travel when every other state around us has at least some toll roads. This is a big miss.

  37. Taxing groceries will necessitate a corresponding increase in food welfare allowances. The states bordering CT do not tax food. What do you think people who closest to Western MA do? The calculation will be: Tax Revenue = % X existing food sales. But existing food sales will go down and the result will be a tax on people in Central CT or those who can’t travel to tax free states. CT voted for liberal, keeps voting for a liberal, and so on . . .

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