- A freeze on property tax increases for seniors
- A $1,000 refundable rebate for all middle-class property tax payers
- Immediate elimination of the tax on manufacturing equipment, which Connecticut is one of the only states to levy
Sounds expensive. In fact, DeStefano says it will cost about $445 million the first year. DeStefano has several strategies to pay for it:
A millionaire’s tax with two brackets will generate approximately $251 million, of which $173 million will be earmarked for immediate property tax relief. Paying for the rest of the senior property tax freeze and $1,000 rebate will be the $33 million currently allocated for “temporary” relief that goes to municipalities will be combined with $29 million from the surplus and $80 million raised through a temporary surcharge on the real estate conveyance tax. The repeal tax on manufacturing equipment will be paid for out of the surplus. As this tax is currently scheduled to be gradually phased out, added costs to future budget years diminish accordingly.
DeStefano then plans to push further reforms, including:
When the pro-growth initiatives and cost savings measures are underway, it will be possible to undertake comprehensive property tax reform. This reform must:
- Increase basic state education support, consistent with levels found in other states.
- Provide a minimum amount of funding for every community, even wealthier suburbs, because reform should not pit one type of community against another and property taxes are too high in all of Connecticut’s communities.
- Compensate communities appropriately for hosting non-taxpaying uses.
- Implement transparency and cost-containment mechanisms to ensure that this tax shift away from property taxes is not just a hidden tax increase.
- Encompass Smart Growth principles.
- Provide relief for small businesses including a $10,000 credit on their corporate income tax credit for property taxes paid.
I'll let you deconstruct the ideas, if you like. I'll post a link when it goes up on the DeStefano site.
But there seems a sort of futility to it all. Which is really too bad. A close campaign would have meant a real debate on the future of Connecticut (or a nasty, dirty campaign--take your pick). We could have used one.