Leg­is­la­ture fails to ap­point tax and pension pan­els

The News-Times (Sunday) - - News - By Chris­tine Stu­art

HARTFORD — The Com­mis­sion on Fis­cal Sta­bil­ity and Eco­nomic Growth vol­un­tar­ily re­vised its re­port this week, but the Leg­is­la­ture has not yet ap­pointed any­one to serve on two other groups tasked with look­ing at the com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions.

The bud­get ad­just­ment passed on May 9 cre­ated two pan­els to con­tinue ex­am­in­ing the work of the Fis­cal Sta­bil­ity Com­mis­sion. The first was sup­posed to look at its rec­om­men­da­tions re­gard­ing the Teach­ers Re­tire­ment Sys­tem, and the sec­ond was sup­posed to look at its tax pro­pos­als.

Of­fice of Pol­icy and Man­age­ment Sec­re­tary Ben Barnes re­minded law­mak­ers ear­lier this week that they failed to ap­point any mem­bers to those sev­en­mem­ber pan­els.

“I laughed about this chart,” Barnes said about the chart above de­tail­ing the num­ber of com­mis­sions. “There are quite a few leg­isla­tive com­mis­sions study­ing fis­cal and pension is­sues.”

The two pan­els, which were never formed, were sup­posed to have their first meet­ing by July and give the two bud­get writ­ing com­mit­tees a re­port by Jan. 1.

But the ap­point­ments were never made.

Pat O’Neil, a spokesman for the House Repub­li­can cau­cus, said there was in­ter­est in keep­ing the com­mis­sion’s struc­ture in­tact and pre­serv­ing their work be­cause “no one had time to digest it.”

The Com­mis­sion on Fis­cal Sta­bil­ity and Eco­nomic Growth was cre­ated by the bi­par­ti­san bud­get of 2017, which wasn’t signed un­til Oct. 31 that year. The 14-mem­ber com­mis­sion had less than three months to put to­gether its rec­om­men­da­tions. Ear­lier this week, the two co-chair­man of the com­mis­sion an­nounced a num­ber of re­vi­sions they had made to the doc­u­ment af­ter they com­pleted their work in March.

“I know we had an in­ter­est in keep­ing the vast amount of work they did in place,” O’Neil said Thurs­day.

Den­nis Schain, a spokesman for the com­mis­sion, said it was de­ter­mined that the panel as­sign­ment to ex­am­ine the Teach­ers Re­tire­ment Sys­tem would be best han­dled by the Pension Sus­tain­abil­ity Com­mis­sion, which has been ap­pointed and has been work­ing for sev­eral months.

“While ac­tion was not taken to ad­vance the con­cept of a study of the state tax struc­ture, we be­lieve there is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress this is­sue now — with the elec­tion of a new gov­er­nor and a new Leg­is­la­ture,” Schain said. “The com­mis­sion be­lieves re­vised rec­om­men­da­tions pre­sented in our ‘Re­port 2.0’ will help get this con­ver­sa­tion started.”

In the first re­port, the com­mis­sion pro­posed a $2.1 bil­lion re­duc­tion in per­sonal in­come taxes, re­peal of the gift and es­tate taxes, and pay­ing for it all with an in­crease in the sales tax rate, a new busi­ness pay­roll tax, and a broader sales tax. In the re­port it re­leased Wed­nes­day, it calls for a small re­duc­tion in busi­ness taxes, re­peal of the gift and es­tate taxes, and a re­duc­tion in the top per­sonal in­come tax rate from 6.99 per­cent to 6.7 per­cent.

It also calls for dou­bling the prop­erty tax credit for mid­dle in­come earn­ers and an in­crease in the Earned In­come Tax Credit to 30 per­cent of the fed­eral one. That’s in ad­di­tion to elim­i­nat­ing the Busi­ness En­tity Tax, and ex­pand­ing the sales tax base.

The new Gen­eral As­sem­bly and gov­er­nor will be sworn in on Jan. 9, 2019.

“While ac­tion was not taken to ad­vance the con­cept of a study of the state tax struc­ture, we be­lieve there is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress this is­sue now — with the elec­tion of a new gov­er­nor and a new Leg­is­la­ture. The com­mis­sion be­lieves re­vised rec­om­men­da­tions pre­sented in our ‘Re­port 2.0’ will help get this con­ver­sa­tion started.” Den­nis Schain, a spokesman for the Com­mis­sion on Fis­cal Sta­bil­ity and Eco­nomic Growth

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.