CCM launches its “Election Campaign 2016” with new public policy report, The Property Tax: How Over-Reliance Jeopardizes Connecticut’s Economic Future.

CCM launches its “Election Campaign 2016” with new public policy report, The Property Tax: How Over-Reliance Jeopardizes Connecticut’s Economic Future.

For further Information:

Kevin Maloney (203) 710-3486

On the heels of the landmark state Superior Court decision on the unconstitutionality of state funding for local public education, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Monday, September 12) released the first report of CCM’s “Election Campaign 2016” that is designed to educate and influence state legislative candidates and candidates for CT’s U.S. Senator and Representative.

Click on this link for complete report --http://www.ccm-ct.org/sites/default/files/files/2016Bulletins_MunicipalFinance_final_rev.pdf

This report, entitled, The Property Tax: How Over-Reliance Jeopardizes Connecticut’s Economic Future declares that a property-tax dependent system only works if two conditions exist: (1) the property and income wealth of a community can generate enough revenue at a reasonable cost to taxpayers to meet the need for public services; and (2) state aid is sufficient to fill local revenue gaps. For many communities in our state, neither condition exists. It is increasingly clear that relying on the property tax to fund local government services in Connecticut is unsustainable.

The report also emphasizes that this over-reliance is caused by a number of issues:

  • Lack of other local-source revenue options
  • State laws and mandates limiting the effectiveness of the property tax as a revenue generator, particularly regarding tax exemptions
  • Uneven and inconsistent non-education aid
  • Inadequate state funding of preK-12 public education

Here are the steps the State can take, the report emphasizes, to address these issues (see page 10 for more details):

  • Allow municipalities to collect local-option taxes
  • Limit property tax exemptions
  • Maintain non-education funding and commit to revenue sharing
  • Meeting the obligations for state funding of preK-12 education

Key data findings back to top

Some other key data findings from the CCM report include:

  • Connecticut is more dependent on the property tax almost any other state -- The per capita property tax burden in Connecticut is $2,522, an amount that is almost twice the national average of $1,434 - and 3rd highest in the nation. 11 towns depend on property taxes for at least 90 percent of their revenue. Another 55 towns rely on property taxes for at least 80 percent of their revenues.
  • The property tax is the biggest tax on Connecticut businesses -- The property tax levy on businesses in Connecticut was over $1 billion in 2014, compared to $780 million in corporate income taxes.
  • At $8.1 billion in local cost annually, preK-12 public education is the single most expensive service in Connecticut. In some towns, that percentage can be greater than 80 percent of the overall municipal budget
  • The property tax accounts for 71 percent of all municipal revenue statewide – 25 percent comes from state and federal aid, while only 4 percent comes from other local revenue options. Connecticut is one of only 15 states that limit municipalities to raise revenue to the property tax.
  • The property tax is Connecticut’s biggest state-local tax -- at 39% of all state and local revenues, it is larger than the income tax, sales, tax or corporate taxes.
  • The property tax is regressive: It is income and profit blind -- It is due and payable whether a resident has a job or not, or whether a business turns a profit or not.

As the 2016 campaign season continues to heat up, CCM will issue a range of public policy candidate bulletins highlighting key state-local issues for candidates to address in the thick of the election battle. The bulletins are relied upon by incumbent lawmakers and challengers alike, municipal chief executives, and other state and federal leaders, and are designed to educate policy-makers on solutions to key state-local issues.

Here are the other major issues CCM will analyze and provide key information on to educate state legislators, state officials, federal office seekers, local leaders, and the general public:

  • Distressed Municipalities
  • State Mandates
  • Transportation/Infrastructure
  • Regionalism
  • Sustainability
  • Education Finance

In addition to these important issue reports, CCM will also undertake a series of other actions to get information to and from the candidates:

  • A comprehensive federal questionnaire to all candidates for U.S. Representative -- with the candidates’ responses on key local issues -- will be published online, in key conference publications, and provided to all Connecticut news media;
  • A “2016 Election Campaign” page will be established on our website, consisting of contact information and other information regarding fall elections; and
  • Municipal chief executive officials will be provided with a sample list of questions to ask candidates for state office.