Fiscal Stability Commission Releases Recommendations

News and Notes from the State Capitol

The List of Those Not Running Again Keeps Growing

Links to Live By

  • As part of last year’s budget negotiations, a special advisory panel was established to look into the current state of CT’s budget challenges and long term economic viability.
  • The group, called the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, was made up of some of the State’s leading business executives from a cross section of the business world.
  • They held a number of hearings throughout the State taking testimony from a variety of people, and organizations, gaining insight into the budget issues the State is facing. The Legislature gave them until March 1st to submit their findings.
  • Yesterday they unveiled their recommendations and they didn’t beat around the bush on some of those recommendations. Below are some of the highlights:
  • They recommend a reduction in all personal income tax brackets, which would result in $21.1 billion in LESS revenue for the state but they would offset that loss by increasing the sales tax from its current level of 6.35% to 7.25% by 2020.
  • Adding a new payroll tax of 0.8% in 2020.
  • Eliminate the estate tax and gift tax.
  • To fund the Special Transportation Fund they recommend increasing the gas tax by 7 cents over the next four years and instituting tolls.
  • They want the governor and the legislature to cut another $1billion dollars out of state government.
  • They recommended increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2020.
  • Unlike many other commissions and task forces who file reports that sit on shelves somewhere, the Commission’s recommendations come with the added weight that the Legislature must act on some or all of the Commission’s recommendations.
  • With mixed reactions from both the business community – we aren’t crazy about an increase in the sales tax, or business tax hikes or increase in the minimum wage, and organized labor, it will be interesting to see how the General Assembly deals with these recommendations.
  • Needless to say we will keep an eye on what is transpiring with the Commission’s reports and keep you posted.
  • In the meantime if you would like to review the entire report you can by going here.
  • Also, we would welcome feedback on the report. Send us an email with your thoughts at tim@crmaonline.com or cathy@crmaonline.com.

News and Notes from the State Capitol

  • The Pawnbrokers are back; looking to weaken a State law that prohibits them from issuing checks and then cashing those same checks.
  • We testified before the Public Safety Committee this week in opposition to HB 5220.
  • We will keep fighting against that.
  • Speaking of back again, next week the Banks Committee will hold a public hearing on a bill that makes changes to CT’s gift card law. The bill moves the dollar amount that a customer can ask for cash back on an unused gift card from its current $3 to $5. We oppose that bill.
  • The Finance Committee will hold a public hearing today on number of bills we are watching, including the Governor’s Revenue Bill which, among other things, continues the corporate surcharge for another 3 years. It also increases the gas tax and institutes a $3 tire tax to help fund the Special Transportation Fund.

The List of Those Not Running Again Keeps Growing

  • As we have mentioned in previous FF, this is an election year and with that comes the decision by many legislators that they will NOT run for reelection.
  • This week another legislator announced that he too will not seek reelection.
  • State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr, (D-Branford) made a somewhat surprising announcement that he would not seek re-election to a 3rd term.
  • Kennedy joins a growing list of incumbent legislators who have announced that they will not seek reelection this fall. Our sense is he will not be the last, as the challenges to be a member of the Legislature are growing year after year.

Links to Live By

  • Before we hit the links, we want you to join us on the links this year at our Annual Golf Outing.
  • The Golf Outing is held at one of the best private golf courses in the state, The Hartford Golf Club and is a great way for your to help the Association with an important fundraiser, but also get out of the store and take some time to enjoy an afternoon on the links.
  • If you are interested in playing, please email Cathy at cathy@crmaonline.com and she will get you all set.
  • A State Rep from Hartford has been asked to resign over inappropriate text messages he sent. The Hartford Courant has that story.
  • The Courant also has more on the Fiscal Commission Recommendations as does the CT Mirror, read more here.
  • CRMA has been working with a local Work Force Investment Board on a job training program, using the National Retail Federation’s Customer Service curriculum.
  • Check out the NRF’s website for some stories on how the RISE Up program can help folks find good jobs in retail.