Governor signs legislation for sales tax free week and gas tax cut
Special Live Broadcast with House Finance Committee Chair
Captive audience bill emerges as top issue for Labor
News and notes from around the State Capitol
News and notes from around the state

  • As we notified you earlier this week, the CT General Assembly adopted by emergency certification, as part of a bipartisan package designed to provide some relief to taxpayers, a one-week sales tax holiday on clothing and footwear items under $100 during April 10-16.
  • After a one-hour debate, the state House of Representatives voted 143-0 in favor of the bill Wednesday afternoon; hours later, the state Senate approved it 33-0 Wednesday night.
  • Yesterday, the Governor signed the legislation, which also provides relief for consumers at the pump by cutting the gas tax by .25 cents, into law. The bill also provides free bus service in the state from now until June 30th.
  • You can read a copy of the legislation here.  Section 2 pertains to the April sales tax free week.
  • Associated Press has news of the Governor’s signing the legislation here.
  • Prior to the start of the legislative session this past Wednesday, House Speaker Matt Ritter, House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, and House Co-Chair of the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee Sean Scanlon held a briefing with the media to discuss the sales tax holiday and the gas tax cut.
  • You can go here to view that.

 

Special Live Broadcast next week

  • We will have another CRMA Live Broadcast next week when we talk with House Finance Committee Co-Chair Sean Scanlon.
  • Representative Scanlon will bring us up to date not only on the sales tax holiday, but what else may be coming down the pike as the important work of the Finance Committee wraps up it’s work for the session.
  • Both Speaker Ritter and Rep. Scanlon have hinted that the Finance Committee may have more consumer relief in mind.
  • If you have any questions, you would like us to ask Rep. Scanlon, please feel free to send them to us at tim@crmaonline.com and look for the link to the Broadcast in next week’s FF.

 

Captive Audience emerging as a top Labor Committee issue

  • In last week’s FF we indicated that this was among the higher priority issues that the Labor and Public Employees Committee is working on.
  • This week we want to reinforce that as it’s clear that this issue may have more support for passage than in previous years. As we mentioned, there are two bills that have been introduced, but our sense is that SB 163 AN ACT PROTECTING EMPLOYEE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CONSCIENCE, which is in the Judiciary Committee, has more steam than SB 318, which is in the Labor Committee.
  • CRMA will remain active on this issue, joining with our friends at CBIA and other business groups in opposition to this bill.
  • In the meantime, please be on alert as we may be reaching out to you to seek your help in reaching out to your local State Representative or State Senator.

 

Other news and notes from around the State Capitol

  • On Tuesday of this week, the Public Safety Committee reported out SB 257 AN ACT CONCERNING HIGH VOLUME THIRD-PARTY SELLERS ON ONLINE MARKETPLACES.
  • The committee made two changes: they moved the effective date until January 2023, and they removed language that would allow the Department of Consumer Protection to adopt regulations.
  • The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
  • The Insurance Committee finished up its work for the year this week and did not act on HB 5383, AAC Association Health Care Plans. We are disappointed that they did not advance the bill but will continue to push the issue and look for any openings to get this issue the full debate it deserves.
  • With both the Insurance and Public Safety Committees finishing up their work this week, and with General Law finished last week, we are down to just the four big committees that have bills that impact our industry.
  • The Environment Committee has a March 30th deadline, as we keep an eye on their work.
  • As we mentioned, we are watching the Judiciary Committee which has a 4/4 deadline and the Finance Committee has until 4/7 to report bills out of their committee.
  • We will keep you posted along the way on what action these committees take – or don’t take.
  • Also this week, the Senate gave final passage to a bill expanding the conditions under which Connecticut voters can qualify for an absentee ballot, making mail-in voting easier for commuters and residents worried about illnesses. CTNewsJunkie has the details here.
  • Connecticut Attorney General William Tong launched his reelection campaign yesterday. Tong was elected in 2018 after 10 years as a state representative. CT Post has the news here.
  • State Comptroller Natalie Braswell has announced the launch of a new retirement savings program for private-sector workers who don’t already have a plan through their employers. Hartford Business Journal reports on the new program here.
  • The state legislature has approved a bill extending by 13 months the right of restaurants to offer outdoor dining. CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas has the details here.
  • The legislature is considering a bill that would offer physicians who either attended medical school or completed their residency in Connecticut a 20 percent reimbursement for federal and state loans each year that they practice in Connecticut. CT Examiner outlines the proposal here.

 

News and notes from around the state

  • Hiring in retail and in warehouses in Connecticut powered a surge in employment in February, according to a report by the state Department of Labor. The Hartford Courant has the story here.
  • Connecticut added 6,300 jobs in February, dropping the state’s official unemployment rate from 5.3% to 4.9%. Hartford Business Journal reports on the latest state Labor Department data here.
  • Earnings for Connecticut residents grew more slowly last year than the rest of the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but Connecticut remains among the wealthiest states measured by per capita personal income of $82,082, ranking second in the U.S. last year, behind only Massachusetts. The Hartford Courant reports on the numbers here.
  • Tuition and fees at Central, Southern, Eastern and Western Connecticut state universities will increase by an average of $291 per semester in the fall. CT Mirror reports on the decision by the state Board of Regents here.
  • Stamford-based Pitney Bowes Inc. is partnering with the online small business lending platform Funding Circle of a new initiative to provide loans to their small business customers. Fairfield County Business Journal reports on the new initiative here.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Connecticut is warning consumers against cryptocurrency scams. WFSB News has the details here about the impact on Connecticut consumers.
  • Hearst CT Media has announced plans to expand its news coverage in Hartford County, including new hiring, building on a strong base in Fairfield County and newspapers elsewhere in the state. The announcement from Hearst can be seen here.