Governor Lamont tests positive for COVID-19
Sales tax free week
Unemployment fund press conference
Budget and tax package approved by committees
Other news and notes from around the State Capitol
News and notes from around the state
CRMA golf outing update
 

  • We begin this week’s FF, with a story that has in one way or another impacted retailers and the entire state – not to mention the country and the world: COVID-19. 
  • Just yesterday, Gov. Lamont tested positive for COVID-19, but says he’s experiencing no symptoms. CT Mirror reports on the news here.
  • So, while we are all thankfully returning to some degree of normalcy, COVID is still with us.

 

Sales tax fee week – in April

  • Just a reminder that beginning this Sunday – April 10th thru Saturday April 16th – Connecticut will be holding a special sales tax-free week for clothing and footwear. 
  • The holiday was part of legislation that was enacted by the General Assembly that also included a suspension of the gas tax and elimination of fees for public transportation. 
  • We would welcome your feedback from the sales tax holiday in April. Please feel free share how your week went by emailing tim@crmaonline.com.

 

Unemployment Trust fund press conference

  • On Tuesday of next week, CRMA will join other business groups in participating in a press conference to urge the General Assembly to use some the bulging surplus the state has to pay back to the federal government money the state borrowed to help fund the unemployment trust fund.
  • Connecticut borrowed $888 million from the federal government to pay record-high pandemic-related unemployment benefit claims.
  • To date, $425 million in loan repayments have been made, with employers covering $300 million and federal COVID relief funds repaying $125 million (plus $26 million in interest).
  • But employers are responsible for the remaining $463 million loan balance—and face four years of tax hikes, beginning this fall, to cover those repayments.
  • We believe the General Assembly needs to help business with those repayments by putting money in the state budget to help ease the burden on us.
  • As you will see below, the Appropriation Committee did NOT put any dollars in the budget that they adopted this week, so we know that we have our work cut out for us to get them to put any money in for this purpose.
  • We will keep you posted on our progress.

 

Tax and Spending packages advance out of committee

  • On Wednesday of this week the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee passed out of its committee, along party lines, a tax package. It did not include any reduction in the sales tax, any reduction in the corporate tax, or any small business tax relief. 
  • The package did include increasing the property tax credit from $200 to $300 and made other changes around pension and annuity income tax and the earned income tax credit and they increased the amount the Governor had requested for a car tax break. 
  • We are disappointed that more wasn’t done by the Finance Committee to give consumers relief in the form of sales tax reduction, and that nothing was done to provide business tax relief. 
  • As usual, our friends at the CT Mirror did a great job of breaking down the Finance Committee’s work. You can go here for that story.
  • Meanwhile, the next day the legislature’s Appropriations Committee endorsed a mid-term state spending plan Thursday, funding both tax breaks and a long list of progressive programs despite Republican concerns that it relied too-heavily on one-time revenue. CTNewsJunkie has the update here. 
  • Both the budget and tax package will now move to the full General Assembly for consideration. Our sense is that some changes to the budget will be made, so we remain hopeful that those changes will have a positive impact on the business community and consumers.

 

Other News and notes from around the State Capitol

  • Republican Bob Stefanowski, the presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee, has chosen state Rep. Laura Devlin of Fairfield as his running mate, The Connecticut Mirror reports here.
  • Sean Scanlon — a Guilford state representative and executive director of Tweed New Haven Airport — formally announced that he’s running for the Democratic nomination for state comptroller. The New Haven Independent has news of the announcement here.
  • State Treasurer Shawn Wooden’s surprise announcement that he will not seek a second term instantly set off a frenzy of speculation among Democrats over his successor with one month to go before the party’s nominating convention. The New Haven Register has the story here.
  • Meriden State Sen. Mary Abrams, D-13th, announced through a Senate spokesperson Friday that she would not seek reelection in 2022. The Meriden Record-Journal has news of the decision here.
  • Democrat Hilda Santiago’s campaign for Secretary of the State has raised more than $70,000 in contributions, closing in on the amount needed to secure public financing. The Meriden Record-Journal has the story here.
  • Former State Sen. Toni Boucher made a surprise announcement Wednesday morning: the long-time Wilton resident is re-entering the political arena to run for her former 26th District State Senate seat. Good Morning Wilton reports on the announcement here.
  • Bullets struck the New Haven house of state Sen. Gary Winfield on Monday night, according to the Senator and police. The Hartford Courant reports on the incident here.

 

News and notes from around the state

  • Connecticut motorists are complaining that a recent tax break on gasoline is not reflected in prices they’re paying at the pump. The 25-cent per gallon state tax was removed last Friday, and Attorney General William Tong’s office had received 166 complaints as of Tuesday morning. The Hartford Courant reports here.
  • Buffalo-based M&T Bank announced it has closed on its $8.3 billion purchase of Bridgeport-based People’s United Bank. New Haven BIZ has the details here.
  • The University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees approved a $46 million allocation for the hiring of 10 new research, innovation and entrepreneurship faculty members, reflecting a heightened focus on entrepreneurship. Fairfield County Business Journal has news of the plan here.
  • Central Connecticut Communications, publisher of the New Britain Herald, Bristol Press and Willimantic Chronicle, has been sold to a Rhode Island-based publishing company, the Hartford Business Journal reports here.
  • Alexion, AstraZeneca’s Rare Disease group, indicated Thursday it plans to expand its presence in New Haven, including doubling of its lab space in a new bioscience tower under construction. New Haven BIZ reports on the plans here.
  • The USPS is seeking to increase postal rates, effective in July. Fairfield County Business Journal has the details here.

 

CRMA Golf Outing

  • If you haven’t done so already, please visit the CRMA website to review our invitation and fill out a registration form for this year’s CRMA Golf Outing on Tuesday, June 28.
  • We hope you will join us or support this event in other ways. The Golf Outing is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for CRMA to support our work on behalf of Connecticut retailers year-round, so any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.
  • We’ll be back again this year at the Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford, with a terrific day of camaraderie, delicious food and great fun being planned.
  • Hope you can join us on June 28!