Gubernatorial candidate Stefanowski offers 6-part tax plan; Lamont says this year’s cuts are enough – Hartford Courant


MERIDEN — Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski called for nearly $1 billion in additional tax cuts on Wednesday, while Governor Ned Lamont countered that he was happy with the $600 million in cuts recently passed by the legislature .

Stefanowski offered a six-part plan that covers multiple taxes, including blocking a planned state diesel tax increase that goes into effect July 1. The amount of the tax increase has not been announced, but officials say it could range from 10 cents to 15 cents per gallon under a complicated formula based on the wholesale price of diesel fuel.

“People are struggling right now,” Stefanowski, 60, told reporters outside a wholesale fuel business in Meriden. “As you drive around the state, you see examples of people making tough choices between what to buy at the grocery store, renting a DVD, or buying medicine. People have been planning vacations all the year. There are a lot of people who cancel them because of the price of the plane ticket, the price of gasoline. We have to do something now.”

Lamont, however, rejected Stefanowski’s call to not only block the diesel tax increase, but also to stop collecting the full 40-cent-per-gallon diesel tax for the rest of the year. year.

“Diesel tax – more than half of it is paid by out-of-state tractor-trailer trucks, many of which don’t stop in-state,” Lamont told two reporters in a interview on Wednesday after speaking to commercial real estate agents. at a hotel in West Hartford. “Most of the diesel tax is paid by the big tractor-trailers that pass.”

Like fuel industry officials, Lamont said he does not know how much the diesel tax will increase on July 1. Regarding Stefanowski’s statement that the tax could increase by 15 to 20 cents a gallon, Lamont said: numbers there.

Lamont said the Democratic-controlled Legislature found the right mix of about $600 million in tax relief and $3.5 billion in additional debt payments that were approved in the regular session that s ended in early May. This total is on top of the $1.6 billion in pension payments last year.

“We reimburse a lot of pensions [debt] this year,” Lamont said. “I think we have a good balance between paying down our debt, fixing our infrastructure, and the biggest tax cut in the history of the state. We can always do more. All the others promise tax cuts. I think we delivered.”

Despite demands from Republicans, Lamont has no immediate plans for a special session to cut additional taxes, said Max Reiss, Lamont’s chief spokesman.

“I think right now you’re going to have a big tax cut in people’s pockets over the next two to three months,” Lamont said. “I think it’s going to be $1,000 for most people and it will make a real difference now, not at the end of the year.”

During his appearance in Meriden, Stefanowski said lawmakers should immediately reduce the state sales tax to 5.99% from the current 6.35%. Lawmakers should also eliminate the 1% surtax on prepared foods in supermarkets and restaurants, he said.

“We never should have had it in the first place,” Stefanowski said of the food tax that began under Lamont in October 2019 to help fill a budget shortfall before the state began racking up the most large surplus in the history of the state. “It’s a regressive tax, just like the sales tax is regressive.”

He also called for suspending the gross receipts tax on gasoline, which is approximately 26 cents per gallon and is collected separately from an additional excise tax of 25 cents per gallon which has been suspended until 1st December. Like the Republicans have done for months. , Stefanowski called for the suspension of the freeway use tax on large trucks that is set to begin Jan. 1, 2023 and would raise about $90 million a year.

“It was Governor Lamont’s consolation prize for not making the tolls,” Stefanowski said.

The state, he said, should also make additional payments to the unemployment trust fund which is paid for by businesses and which has been emptied due to high unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. . Lamont has invested $40 million in the fund, but the administration says retirement debt repayment is more important.

Stefanowski reiterated his previous commitment to release his personal tax returns, as a joint filer with his wife, beginning in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

“My disclosure is going to be the largest, probably in Connecticut history, by a governor,” Stefanowski said. “That’s what we’re going to do. …I will make full financial disclosure of all our investments. I will post anything that I am legally and ethically allowed to do. ”

He also called Lamont’s wife Annie again to post his returns because his venture capital firm had an investment in a testing company that received a state contract during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The guy who didn’t release his own tax returns brought this up?” Lamont asked.

On whether Stefanowski will release a list of his consulting clients, Lamont said, “He lectures a lot about transparency. So I would say, doctor, heal yourself. People want to know how you get paid. Who pays you? I do not know.”

Christopher Keating can be reached at [email protected]


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