CCM recommends sweeping changes to buttress municipal finances

CCM recommends sweeping changes to buttress municipal finances

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) on Wednesday released an extensive plan it hopes legislators will adopt this session to help municipalities, and large cities in particular.

CCM's 90-page report calls for a local sales tax, fuller funding of the state's payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) program and policy changes related to shared services and cost containment.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who worked with CCM on the report, has called for higher PILOT payments for his financially struggling city, which has a high number of untaxed properties.

Susan Bransfield, first selectwoman of Portland and CCM president, said the report "puts forward new recommendations that haven't been made before" -- ideas that she says have generated bipartisan support.

The report states that Connecticut's "lack of economic growth in recent years and earnings that are not increasing at the same rate as the rest of the nation mean that Connecticut cannot continue to rely on public spending and revenue policies that may have worked well in the past but do not match the current economic realities."

Recommendations include back to top

A sampling of the report's recommendations include:

  • Expanding the sales tax base by repealing 10 percent of the exemptions for certain consumption categories; reducing the state sales tax rate by 0.75 percent to 5.60 percent; and levying a statewide local sales tax at the rate of 1 percent.
  • Preventing currently taxed property from being added to any of the existing tax exemption
  • Requiring tax-exempt organizations to enter into PILOT agreements in situation where they derives rental or other significant income from a property;
  • Increasing PILOT reimbursements for state-owned property to 77 percent; and full funding the PILOT program at statutory rates;
  • Changing state law so that interlocal agreements or service sharing contracts involving two or more municipalities will override any participating town's relevant charter sections and ordinances;
  • Consolidating and/or sharing assessment services in Connecticut regions for assessment offices servicing less than 15,000 parcels; and
  • Creating a labor relations task force to review and recommend updates for Connecticut's municipal labor laws and dispute resolution processes.