Sen. Kelly Urges Residents to Speak Out Against Proposed CT House Tax

by Sen. Kevin Kelly
State Senator representing Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford

A new online petition allows residents to speak out against a proposal by Connecticut Senate Democrats to create a State House Tax. Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) said the goal is to both raise awareness about the damaging impacts of the House Tax and provide a way for citizens to speak out against it.

Sen. Kelly said, “Connecticut Democrats’ solutions – tolls, gas taxes, mileage taxes and insurance taxes – always target middle class families’ wallets.  Now, they are coming after the middle class family home.  During this pandemic, middle class families are struggling financially and need our help, not more burdens.

“The progressive left agenda of Connecticut Democrats will make it more difficult for the middle class to live, work and raise a family.  It shows just how tone-deaf they are to the middle class.  Please sign and share our petition, say no to the House Tax, and help us be your voice at the State Capitol.”

The petition can be found at www.SenatorKevinKelly.com.

Statement on the Statewide Property Tax Proposal

by State Senator Kevin Kelly
21st District

Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) and Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol) issued the following statements regarding the Connecticut Senate Democrat leader’s proposal to create a new statewide property tax:

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) said, “Connecticut Democrats’ solutions, tolls, gas taxes, and insurance taxes, always target middle class families’ wallets.  Now, they are coming after the middle class family home.  During this pandemic, middle class families are struggling financially and need our help, not more burdens.  The progressive left agenda of Connecticut Democrats will make it more difficult for middle class families to live, work and raise a family.  It shows just how tone- deaf they are to the middle class.”

Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) said, “Like every Connecticut resident, I have experienced the ever increasing burdens the majority has imposed by taxes and fees over the years. As a Senator, First Selectman, homeowner and small business owner I oppose Senator Looney’s proposals to levy yet another tax on our homes and our businesses and his proposal to take away local control and regionalize school districts. These policies will only hurt the middle class, the same people the majority party claims to care about.”

Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol), who is the Ranking Senator on the legislative Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee added, “I am overwhelmed by calls and emails from my constituents asking for assistance for all the challenges they are currently facing.
While the pandemic related burdens are new, Connecticut’s financial crisis has been around for many years. It’s time to stand up, say ‘enough’ and start supporting policies that can help put the state and its residents back on a path to financial stability to end
the state’s anemic economy.”

Proposed Statewide Property Tax Proposal
Source: Stratford Patch

CONNECTICUT — State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven) has proposed a set of property tax reform proposals aimed at reducing the economic disparity in Connecticut.

Looney proposed a statewide 1 mill ($1 tax per $1,000 assessed value) on properties worth $430,000 or more. The proposed formula would exempt the first $300,000 of assessed value; homes in Connecticut are assessed at 70 percent of their fair market value, which works out to around $430,000.

Homeowners with a home valued at $500,000 would pay $50 annually and those who own a $1 million home would pay $400, Looney said.

“We have such a great disparity and a great inequity in the property tax of the state of Connecticut that has really held us back in so many was in terms of economic development,” Looney said during a news conference about the proposals.

The money would then go back to help property tax relief to help municipalities that have high tax rates. The tax would raise around $73.5 million, he said. The exact mechanism of how taxes would be applied to residences and commercial properties would have. “This isn’t necessarily raising taxes across the board, this is targeting tax reform,” he said.

Municipalities in Connecticut derive most of their operating revenue from property taxes on residential and commercial property, but the system has long been considered regressive because it doesn’t take into account an owner’s ability to pay. The issue is more apparent when looking at the motor vehicle tax system where the same exact vehicle is taxed at a much higher rate in New Haven than it is in Greenwich.

Legislative Republican leaders criticized the proposal and said the tax would affect many middle-class families. “It hits all communities,” state Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said at a news conference. “This isn’t like your mansions down in southwestern Fairfield County only. A $400,000 home is in every single town.” House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said new taxes would only increase economic anxiety during an unpredictable time with the pandemic. “It’s disturbing that we see these type of proposals cropping up, more taxation on our Connecticut residents and our families,” he said.

Property owned by non-profits such as colleges and hospital systems are exempt as are properties owned by the state. This hits New Haven especially hard because around 60% of property is tax-exempt, according to the New Haven Independent.

Looney also proposed a bill that would reform the state’s payment in lieu of taxes program, which reimburses municipalities for non-taxable property owned by non-profit colleges, hospitals and the state itself. There would be three tiers of reimbursement that take into account the fiscal health of a community, but under the bill all towns would stand to gain at least a little more than they currently get in reimbursement, Looney said.

The tier system would be tied to the net grand list (all taxable property) per capita. Communities with a per capita grand list of $100,000 would get 50 percent reimbursement while the middle tier would get 40 percent and the last tier would get 30 percent. The program would cost the state an additional $144 million annually.

Currently, communities get the same reimbursement amount regardless of their status. Greenwich gets the same reimbursement level for Greenwich Hospital that New Haven gets for Yale-New Haven Hospital, Looney said.

Looney pointed out that Greenwich has a net grand list per capita of $734,000 while New Britain has a per capita grand list of $50,000. There are more than 30 communities that have a per capita grand list below $100,000.

Representative McGorty Asks for a Public Debate on Governor’s Emergency Powers

by State Rep. Ben McGorty
122nd District

“I sent the following letter to Democratic legislative leaders asking that the 10 members of the Public Health Emergency Committee meet to debate the Governor’s extension of his Public Health and Civil-Preparedness Emergencies. I believe strongly that it is the job of this state’s legislature to write new legislation and alter existing laws, not the Governor. I also disagree with those who believe the Governor needs the emergency declarations extended to respond to COVID-19, as he can still issue executive orders relating to testing, vaccinations, and other needs if those declarations are allowed to expire.

I agree with the assessment of my colleagues, Republic leaders Rep. Candelora (R-86) and Sen. Kelly (R-21) that “it is not unreasonable to ask for certain modifications to the exercise of the Governor’s authority. Businesses should be provided more time to adjust to government’s ever-changing restrictions, and government should respect people’s right to exercise their religion again.”

Senior Taxes and Covid Update

by State Representative Joe Gresko
District 121

Retirees in Connecticut are now able to claim a larger deduction on pension and annuity income. Thanks to a six-year plan that began with the 2019 tax year, seniors are seeing an increase in the percentage of pension and annuity income they can deduct from their annual tax returns. The deduction for 2019 was 14% and increases to 28% for 2020. By 2025, seniors will be able to deduct 100% oftheir pension and annuity income.

The deduction applies to pension and annuity income for individuals earning less than $75,000 annually or married couples earning under $100,000 per year.

Connecticut’s Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccine roll-out will begin on Monday, January 18, 2021. Residents aged 75 and older can now begin scheduling appointments to receive the vaccine.

The State announced that in the coming weeks, Phase 1B will expand to include:

  • Residents between the ages of 64 and 74
  • Residents between the ages of 16 and 64 who have underlying health conditions which put them at greater risk for contracting COVID-19

This expansion will occur as the vaccine supply increases and as a significant portion of individuals over the age of 75 receive the vaccine.

If you are over the age of 75, you can now make an appointment to get the vaccine, utilizing the following tools:

Healthcare Provider: Many residents have already been or will be contacted to schedule an appointment by their healthcare provider if their provider is participating in the state’s vaccine program. Not all providers are administering the vaccine. A list of participating providers is available at ct.gov/covidvaccine. Residents are urged to not contact their physician or healthcare provider directly for COVID vaccine appointments. You will either be contacted by your physician or you can schedule an appointment online.

Online: Go to at ct.gov/covidvaccine to register and schedule an appointment through the web-based Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). Many providers can be accessed through the VAMS system including:

  • Trinity Health of New England (hospitals and other locations)
  • Griffin Hospital
  • Nuvance Health
  • Stamford Hospital
  • Bristol Hospital
  • Local Health Departments
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers

Telephone: Those without internet access can call Connecticut’s COVID Vaccine Appointment Assistance Line at 877-918-2224. The line will take calls on Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

As a reminder, this is an ever-changing situation with updates coming in every hour. As your state representative, I will continue to pass along updates and key information as soon as it becomes available.

In the meantime, to protect yourself, family and friends, please continue to follow state and local safety guidelines including wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent hand washing. If we continue to follow these steps and get people vaccinated, we will finally be able put an end to the pandemic.

Stay safe and stay healthy! if you or someone you know requires assistance, please feel free to reach out to me at the Capitol via email at Joseph.Gresko@cga.ct.gov

Paycheck Protection Program Update

Connecticut General Assembly Report
Online Viewing of Legislative Processes

by State Rep. Ben McGorty, 122nd District

The U.S. Small Business Administration has reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) this week for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. Initially, only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. For information and guidelines go to: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program#section-header-0

The Office of Legislative Research (OLR) recently released their report on important issues likely to be debated by the Connecticut General Assembly during the 2021 legislative session. These include:

  •  Utility rates and storm response
  •  The Transportation and Climate Initiative
  •  The expansion of legalized gaming

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislative Office Building and Capitol are closed until further notice. In the meantime, representatives and senators will conduct business virtually. You can watch livestreams of committee meetings, and there will be opportunities to participate in public hearings using Zoom.

The House Republican Office has put together a useful how-to guide with tutorials on using the Zoom platform, viewing legislative proceedings on CT-N, and other topics. https://www.cthousegop.com/virtual-guide/

State Representative: Phil Young District 120

This year has been challenging for many of us and I hope we can look towards 2021 with a renewed sense of optimism. The 2021 legislative session will begin January 6 and you can expect a continued commitment by me to serve our community and carry our district’s voices to the state capitol. I want to hear from you about the issues that matter most to you and your family.

In addition to marking the start of 2021, January 1 also marks the enactment of new laws in our state.

Among these is legislation capping the monthly cost of insulin and other equipment necessary to manage diabetes. The law also permits pharmacists to prescribe a 30-day supply of diabetes-related drugs and devices to patients in certain emergency situations.

Other acts effective January 1, 2021

An act recommended by the Insurance Department for changes to the insurance statutes. Among other things, it

(1) allows the insurance commissioner to engage the services of insurance professionals to review certain form and rate filings,
(2) opts Connecticut into the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact for disability income products, and
(3) allows certain insurance documents to be sent electronically with an insured’s consent.

The act also changes the date dependent coverage terminates under benefit plans procured by the comptroller for the benefit of surviving spouses and dependent children of certain first responders who die in the line of duty. Under the act, a dependent child’s coverage under such a plan terminates the earlier of the end of the calendar year, rather than the end of the policy year, in which the child turns age 26 or obtains insurance through his or her own employment

Additionally, the act (1) amends the information that companies administering certain 403(b) retirement plans for political subdivisions of the state must disclose to plan participants and (2) requires the companies to provide the same information to the state comptroller, who must annually post the disclosures.

Also enacted is an act concerning emergency responses by electric distribution companies, as well as the regulation of other public utilizes. The 13-page document can be found at:

THE REGULATION OF OTHER PUBLIC UTILITIES AND NEXUS PROV.
Public Act No. 20-5

Points of interest:

  • Response based increases
  • Limiting executive salaries
  • Reimbursement of lost food due to power outages.

CT Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly Sworn-in for New Term

During a Jan. 6 outdoor ceremony at Connecticut’s State Capitol, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly was sworn-in for a new term representing the 21st Senate District. Sen. Kelly has served in the State Senate since 2011 representing Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford.

An elder law attorney, Sen. Kelly serves as the Ranking Republican Senator on the legislature’s Aging Committee and the Legislative Management Committee. He also serves on the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committees.

After the ceremony, Sen. Kelly spoke to the media about the Connecticut Senate Republicans’ focus on making the state more affordable for middle class families.   For more information on State Senator Kevin Kelly visit www.senatorkevinkelly.com. Follow Sen. Kelly at www.Facebook.com/SenatorKevinKelly, on Twitter @21KevinKelly or Instagram @SenatorKevinCKelly.

Connecticut State Legislature Tutorial

From State Rep. Ben McGorty
122nd District

When the Connecticut General Assembly meets in January it will be, by all appearances, in a virtual session. This means that committee hearings, floor votes, town halls, and even office hours will be mostly conducted through Zoom, with lawmakers observing social distancing. While the Capitol Complex will remain closed to the public, there are many new opportunities to participate in the process and make sure your voice is heard.

Referred to as a “regular session,” the 2021 legislative session will begin on January 6th and run through June 9th. According to the Connecticut state constitution, in an odd-year session any legislator can introduce bills on any subject. This is different from the even-year session where bills can only originate from their corresponding committees and must be related to the making of the two-year state budget. This budget is finalized in even-numbered years during what is known as the “long session.”

Since there is no limit on the bills that can be introduced in the coming session, you might notice that many bills will be introduced by a lawmaker on behalf of a specific individual. In state government, many of the most impactful and useful laws we write don’t come from our ideas, but from those in our communities. That is why it is important that you know how you can make your voice heard and fix an issue in your town or our state.

The legislature is also expected to conduct redistricting during the 2021 legislative session, which involves the redrawing of state legislative districts based on the results of the 2020 U.S. Census.

Here are some ways that you can participate during this year’s virtual session:

Legislation

If you’re interested in testifying for or against a bill or just want to stay up to date on pending legislation, please feel free to contact me. You can reach me at 1-800-842-1423 or by e-mail at Ben.McGorty@housegop.ct.gov.

Citations

Please contact me if you would like to recognize an individual for special events such as an athletic or academic award, an Eagle Scout accomplishment, or a significant birthday.

State Agencies

Contact my office if you are having difficulties working with state agencies; for example, the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, Veterans Affairs, Consumer Protection or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Staying Informed

You can sign up for my email newsletter at RepMcGorty.com to receive updates on legislative business, community events, and any additional information I think you might want to know about our district and state. I also frequently share information to my Facebook page that might not end up in the newsletter, so please go like my page to stay in the loop.

Touring the Capitol

In a normal year, our legislative offices can arrange tours of the Capitol Complex through the League of Women Voters. However, you can now take a ‘virtual tour’ of the State Capitol Building and the Legislative Office Building by visiting their website.

Events

If there is an event or meeting – in person or virtual – that you would like me to attend, please contact my office with the date, time, location, and nature of the event.

While the pandemic has affected our ability to have indoor, in-person events, that doesn’t mean I will be any less accessible to you. In fact, it allows me to host virtual events like town halls on Zoom that allow you to call in from the comfort of home. Even if you don’t have a computer or are not tech-savvy, you can call in using a landline or mobile phone to give me your input. I will be giving updates on those events when they do happen through my newsletter and Facebook page, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

State Representative Joseph Gresko Appointment

State Representative Joe Gresko (D-121 st District) has been appointed Chair of the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee.

The Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee is responsible for overseeing all nominations requiring action of either or both chambers of the General Assembly (except judicial nominations, nominations of workers’; compensation commissioners, and nominations of members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles).

Shiloh Gardens to get an Upgrade!

Stratford Delegation announces Grant for Housing Improvements

State Representative Joseph P. Gresko (D- 121st District) – along with Representative Phil Young (D-120th District), Representative Ben McGorty (R- 122nd District), Senator Dennis Bradley (D- 23rd District), Senator Kevin Kelly (R- 21st District) – announced a $3.19 million increase in funding for the Stratford Housing Authority after a special meeting of the State Bond Commission.

The grant-in-aid which has been approved for the Stratford Housing Authority will be used to help rehabilitate Shiloh Gardens’ 60 affordable housing units meant for elderly residents.

“This is great news for Shiloh Gardens, which is in my district, as well as the Town of Stratford overall,” Rep. Gresko said. “Our elderly community needs our support now more than ever, and that starts with making sure we create safe and modern living environments. I’m grateful to the State Bond Commission for making it possible to make these much-needed improvements to Shiloh Gardens.”

“These funds will provide a boost to some of our town’s most vulnerable residents, and I thank the State Bond Commission for agreeing to provide the means necessary to make these essential and long-awaited modernizations,” said Rep. Young.

“We applaud this investment in Stratford elderly affordable housing,” Sen. Kelly said. “This funding will improve safety, accessibility and the quality of life for the residents at Shiloh Gardens. We thank the governor for recognizing this need.”

“I’m pleased to see this development in the rehabilitation of Shiloh Gardens. This program supports a number of seniors and individuals with disabilities in Stratford, and this funding will go a long way towards ensuring they have safe and accessible housing,” Rep. McGorty said.

“The Town of Stratford is thankful and appreciative of the state funding for the Shiloh Gardens remodeling project,” said Stratford Mayor Laura R. Hoydick. “These funds will update and modernize the living conditions of the units and further enhance the updates of the property that has been done to date.”