CT General Assembly Heading Toward the Finish Line

Lots of Big Issues Remain Unresolved

Tax Issues Impacting Retailers

Other News and Notes from the State Capitol

Links to Live By

CRMA Golf Outing Update

 

  • As we head into the Memorial Day weekend the end of the CT General Assembly’s long session is now in sight.
  • The Legislature is off for the long weekend and when they return on Tuesday of next week, they will have only 8 days left (assuming no session on Sunday) to finish their business before adjournment date of June 5th.
  • CRMA is hard at work covering the various issues that remain on our list of bills that we are following. These last 10 days or so of the Legislative Session are always typically the longest days of the session and the time when issues we are working on can be resolved in very quick fashion.
  • We will keep you posted along the way, but in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions on any of the issues that are pending before the General Assembly. 
  • Lots of Big Issues Remain Unresolved
  • As the session began in January the new Lamont Administration and the Democratic Majorities in both the House and the Senate, rallied around several big initiatives that were expected to dominate the General Assembly.
  • Those big issues included: implementation of tolls, legislation of recreational marijuana, paid family medical leave and increasing the minimum wage.
  • In addition to those issues, the Lamont Administration had to present a new 2-year budget to the General Assembly to keep the Government running.
  • Any one of those issues, honestly, would have dominated a long session due to the complexity and political issues that go along with each of those issues.
  • But that did not stop the Governor or the General Assembly from moving ahead on each of those issues.
  • Here is a rundown of where each of those issues stand as we head down the finish line:
  • The fate of implementation of tolls in CT remains in serious doubt. The Governor has said publicly that he is banking his whole Government on passing tolls, but as of today, passage is in doubt. All the Committee work on tolls is finished, but there remain serious questions if passage of a bill on tolls will pass. The Speaker says he has the votes in the House, but questions remain as to enough support in the Senate. The Governor has suggested a special session on tolls if it is not resolved before adjournment.
  • Recreational Marijuana: Another issue that remains up in the air. There are also questions as to where the votes are for passage. This issue may also find its way into a special session.
  • Paid Family Medical Leave: There was some political drama surrounding this issue last week. The Governor on Wednesday just prior to the Senate taking up the Paid Family Medical leave bill, announced he would veto the bill. The Governor wants the private insurance industry to participate in the process of a mandated new coverage for business. The Senate ignored the Governor’s comments and went ahead and passed the bill. It’s fate in the House is unknown. Our understanding was the bill was in trouble in the House before the Senate vote. Now without the Governor fully backing it, that remains questionable.
  • Increasing the minimum wage: Both chambers have already passed a bill that will increase the mini wage to $15.00 per hour over a period of five years. The Governor is expected to sign that bill into law. 
  • Tax Issues Impacting Retailers
  • Meanwhile, the Legislature is also grappling with adopting a new two-year budget.
  • There are important issues that are being considered by legislators that will have impact on retailers.
  • On the tax side of the budget, CRMA is fighting for our members on several tax issues. Here is a rundown on those issues:
  • Unitary tax changes: Included in the tax package that the Finance Committee adopted was a change to the Unitary/Combined reporting requirements that CT has. Specifically, the proposed changes would remove the cap of $2.5 million that is in place for all business, except manufactures. That change would have a significant impact on a number of members.
  • While it is not official, we do think that we have made inroads with the issue and hopefully the removal of the cap will not remain in the final package.
  • There is also another troubling issue that has re-emerged in the tax package, the so called “real time” sales tax remittance proposal.
  • This is not the first time we have seen this proposal and have been fortunate to have stopped it in previous years. The real time proposal would mandate that retailers use totally unreliable, extremely expensive system to remit sales tax immediately to the state.
  • We will remain vigilant in our opposition to this proposal and encourage all members to contact us for more information on how they can help us stop this proposal.
  • As we go to print, we think we are making progress in defeating this proposal again this year but will not let up until we know for certain it is dead.
  • Also, as we go to print expansion of the sales tax to dry cleaning services remain in the tax package, as does a fee on plastic bags.
  • We expect that when the Legislature returns on Tuesday of next week, that the resolution of the budget will come into clearer focus with the goal of having a budget voted on by the end of the week a real possibility. 
  • Other News and Notes from the State Capitol
  • HB 7077, ACC Cash Refunds for the Balance of a Gift Card passed the House and is on the Senate calendar. The bill would allow customers who have a cash balance of under $4.99 to request the balance to be paid in cash.
  • Speaking of cash, a bill passed last week in the House that would prohibit any retailer from NOT accepting cash as form of payment. That bill, HB 5703 AAC Acceptable Forms of Currency as Payment in Local Business, is also pending in the State Senate.
  • We are at the point in the session when each chamber concentrates on doing there bills FIRST then they argue over what bills they do next.
  • For example, the State Senate worked late Thursday night (they adjourned at 11:00 pm) but did ONLY Senate bills.
  • There is an old saying among members of the House that goes something like this: The Democrats/Republicans may be the opposition, but the Senate is the enemy. That tension will be on display as we head towards the finish line.
  • Links to Live By
  • As we head down to the last 10 days of the session, we recommend that you follow along by visiting these sites:
  • ctmirror.org – The Mirror is a great source for detailed articles on subjects like the State budget and tax issues; general political coverage of the State Capitol and other State government news.
  • ctnewsjunkie.com – Christine Stuart does a great job with the news junkie and has a tag line that sums up the work she does – CT News Junkie – Because You Need it. Bad.
  • ctpost.com – They have a great stable of political writers including the great Ken Dixon, who most recently was inducted to Journalism Hall of Fame.
  • ctcapitolreport.com – CT’s version of the Drudge Report, Tom Dudchik’s site is a must read for any political insider.
  • courant.com – The Courant’s Capitol coverage is among the very best in the State. Chris Keating is a fixture at the Capitol, and you can’t go wrong following his coverage. 
  • CRMA Golf Outing
  • We hope all members will considering joining us for our Annual Golf Outing. It is an important fundraiser for us so any help you can give us, we really appreciate.
  • We would welcome, golfers, tee sign sponsors and raffle donations.
  • Here are the details of the golf outing:
  • The CRMA Golf Outing will be held on Tuesday, June 18th at the Wampanoag Country Club; wampanoagcc.com. Please call or email our office for more information…there is still time to join us! (860)527-1044 or cathy@crmaonline.com.