New Taxes On Tap Via “County Government”?

Fairfield is a county in name only. Since 1960 — when the General Assembly abolished county governments — Connecticut’s 8 counties are about as useful as your appendix. The only reason they still exist, really, is to organize our judicial system.

Fairfield County is not the same as a proposed regional "Council of Government." But it would add another administrative layer to the state.

Fairfield County is not the same as a proposed regional “Council of Government.” But it would add another administrative layer to the state.

Except — according to State Representative Gail Lavielle — state legislators may introduce a new layer of taxing authority in the state. It may not officially be based on county governments (“regional Council of Governments” is the term) — but the effect would be the same.

Lavielle — who represents Westport, Wilton and Norwalk — says that if passed, SB 1 (“An Act Concerning Tax Fairness and Economic Development”) would establish a “regional property tax base revenue sharing system.”

She writes:

Each municipality would remit part of its local property taxes to its regional Council of Governments, which would in turn redistribute those funds among all of its member towns and cities, according to a formula that takes into account factors including each municipality’s population and property value.

Some towns would gain revenues; others would lose.

Lavielle says that in 2013 — when the General Assembly imposed the COG structure on all regional planning organizations — there was much discussion about its implications. The bill’s proponents assured Lavielle and others that COGs would not be responsible for property taxation issues on a regional basis, or any other level, she says.

But, she adds: “That assurance is not upheld in SB 1.”

(Hat tip: Bart Shuldman)

29 responses to “New Taxes On Tap Via “County Government”?

  1. Bart Shuldman

    Our governor and his cronies in Hartford will do whatever they can to tax us more. For every dollar we have to put in this ‘county fund’ that DOES NOT come back to Westport, will be the amount of tax increase Westport have to increase. Since we basically run a budget where revenue is the same as expenses, Weatport would have to increase taxes to make up the loss.

    So now we have tolls coming, a new county tax coming (all potentially) while the governor takes from us and gives to others.

    I just read the budget shortfall is much larger than the governor projected. I guess all his ‘doings’ are not driving increase in the CT economy. While job growth has expanded in some states, CT is now stagnant with the unemployment rate not going down. So no job growth.

    We face some serious issues and clearly higher taxes.

  2. This tax is in addition to the Tolls, the Eminent domain, and the 8-30G

  3. Connecticut ranks last in hiring climate
    50 out of 50 out of states for job creation
    45th in Business climate
    48th worst state to be a Taxpayer,
    80% of businesses had negative or somewhat negative opinions as a place to do business
    One of the worst state for retirement
    3rd highest per capita states as a % of income
    Debt per capita is the highest in the country
    One of 6 states where more residents are leaving rather than moving in.

    What can we as citizen do about this?

    • Marty, where are you getting all of this data from? The last statistic you cite suggests that 44 states have a surplus of people moving in–which doesn’t seem like it’s possible.

      I think one big part of CT’s budget issues might well be traced to the fact that CT has, in essence, transferred $240 billion of its tax revenues over 20 years to other states. I would be interested in hearing from Gail Lavielle what, if anything, can be done about this situation:

      • I got it, in print from State Senator Toni Boucher. Will speak with Gail this evening.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Fred. CT has amassed approximately $100 BILLION in unfunder liabilities. We seem to like to promise benefits but not pay for them. This in addition to spending on an i gong basis more than we collect is going to eventually cause serious issues to our senior citizens and others. Taxes based on what Governor Malloy and his democratic friends want to do in Fairfield County will drive many away.

        Governor Malloy is taking the idea of redistribution even further than what we are watching in Washington due to his Hartford crowd running the legislature. This will not be a joke or an issue that most won’t be concerned about when everyone in Westport faces higher property taxes and income taxes. Everyone will find them increasing.

        It is truly sad to watch as this continues.

        • Bart, I’m aware of the issues related to CT’s pension liabilities. But a case could be made that this problem could be rectified by CT’s having the opportunity to, in essence, claw back the enormous transfer payments it has made on the federal level (as I have described above).

          As you know, private corporation pensions are protected up to a limit by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation as a result of the plan set up by the federal government that requires insurance premiums to be paid by corporations.

          I would argue that CT’s enormous surplus federal tax payments over the years could be viewed as the equivalent of the insurance premiums that are paid under the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Thus, there is a rational basis for the federal government to provide significant assistance to address CT’s pension liabilities.

    • E. van Dorsten

      see statistics from Joint Economic Committee, US Congress March 2015…
      Hartford and Dan Malloy’s remedy to their poor governance is more bad governance thru the imposition of higher taxes thru a county tax !!!…
      They should start with improving CT’s job growth? (click on link and scroll down to chart at bottom) The chart shows the overall US net job GAIN of 1.8% but the State of Connecticut with a net job LOSS of 1.2% . CT falls in the bottom ten of all 50 States ! (the chart was prepared by the Democratic Staff of the Joint Economic Committee)

  4. I would be curious as to what purpose or goal this serves? I see nothing here as to what this taxing structure will support. Am I missing something?

    • Bart Shuldman

      You might not look at what this support. It is a way of moving money from our town to another one that does not have our tax base

      ‘tax Fairness’ it is called. So the governor is not seen as raising taxes even though Marpe or whoever is in office when this happens would have to raise taxes. Gives another community some of our money.


  5. Mary Ruggiero

    It’s redustribution on a more local level. Apparently the fed scheme is effective enough.

  6. The give-away is in the name. No need to use the title to announce that a proposal is fair unless it isn’t.
    I’d suggest that the Bill is an example of taxation without representation, but I wouldn’t want to be mistaken as a supporter of a group who recently and inappropriately appropriated a patriotic and pre-Revolutionary War term.

  7. Joan L. Rankine

    This is insanity – I along with just about everyone I know – are thinking about leaving the state and certainly would NEVER retire here. It is pathetic that the politicians in charge now seem to believe that taking money from the hard working successful people that worked hard, went to school and do everything right to a bunch of miscreants and losers. You are lowering the bar for everyone kowtowing to the lowest common denominator. We should reward people for good performance – not penalize them for it – which is exactly what you are doing. As someone who used to run a sales operation nationally – when we were above budget, you know what we did? WE CUT THE BUDGET!!! get rid of the million freebies you hand out and maybe you wsill actually get some peo[ple living in this state that would enhance it’s image rather than distract from it. But apparently, the unproductive losers gat all the attention and the people that keep this country going are screwed. I am so sick of you people spending our money like it was water, You should be ashamed of yourselves. Is this the way you raise YOUR children? That failure should be rewarded and success should be penalized and those who work hard should be attacked. Incredible. Worst running of CT I have edver seen and I have lived here for almost 50 years. That will change soon thanks to you and I am not alone in that feeling. You are doing a TERRIBLE job.

    • It seems that those who want to build subsidized senior citizen housing on Barons South cannot grasp your arguments about retiring in CT. You are correct in your analysis, and many have showed that they agree with you by voting with their feet. CT is a hostile environment for senior citizens, and there is nothing the town of Westport can do light of the actions of the politicians in Hartford to change that condition.

  8. Michael Calise

    When the COG was first proposed many of us spoke out against it. Our own P & Z voted it down but the administration at that time pushed it thorough and to the dismay of many of us even the RTM rubber stamped it.
    Face it! our Connecticut govermment is under the control of many who have lost sight of our one time motto “The Constitution State”

  9. Bart Shuldman

    The issue that happens is, sorry to say, like Barons South. It feels good so you approve a new benefit. Nobody calculates the real expense and what happens in a bad economy. Then it gets approved, like OPEB or Barons South, the town or the state is now committee and then the real costs materialize. Then everyone sits around and says why are our costs going up, and then they look to raise taxes to pay for something they approved years ago.

    We went thru this with OPEB in Westport and our pension plans. We promised a lot years ago and then found out the impact as nobody put enough money in the budget. Westport was a great example and we had to changs to 401k and in addition due to OPEB wenow need in our budget to spend $15 million just putting money away for that crazy benefit called OPEB. But it felt good some years ago to approve.

    What Barons South will cost this town 5 or 10 years from now nobody knows. But this is how it happens.

  10. Mark Demmerle

    More taxes in the form of a county tax without county services causes me to wonder, what if the services in each town were no longer provided by the towns but by the county instead? Would this not serve to eliminate redundancy between neighboring municipalities and reduce the expenditures of town governance and therefore taxes? The objective being that a more equitable tax liability would be created among the towns in Fairfield County that would in turn would benefit from county wide services.

  11. Mary Ruggiero

    Westport is run relatively very financially responsibly. You have only to look around at other towns who are not in as stable financial shape. The fact that you may not agree with my initial statement probably means you would like to see even more careful guidance, but again, look around. Westport property taxes are among the lowest in the county, property values among the highest. Other townsare in poor condition, in part due to overly generous contracts and other unwise decisions. They have not been so responsibly financially governed. This law would seek to level out a playing field that is not level, in part due to uneven fiscal management. And that is NOT FAIR!

  12. Mike Calise is correct. The P&Z commission did turn down the proposal made by the First Selectman and SWRPA members to join the COG. The First Selectman pushed the issue thru the RTM review process and we were overturned. If I remember correctly, our town then became the only town in the SWRPA region to agree to the governors proposal. Since the COG initiative did not gain the support from the rest of the towns in our region, the governor than “ordered” it.

    During the hearings, the First Selectman and the other promoters all denied that there would be an additional layer of taxation imposed. The majority of the P&Z commission didn’t believe them, and now we see that we were correct.

  13. Michael Calise

    Thanks Cathy for your complete and concise wrap-up. This is just another indication of our inept state government.

  14. Peter Flatow

    We spend 4 months a year in FL and the number one topic among those from CT is not if they will become FL residents but when. We are getting closer with every one of these proposals. FL has taxes but a fraction of what we pay in CT and they are building roads, fixing the infrastructure and seem to make it work. We prefer to spend the majority of our time in CT but the benefits no longer are economically justifiable.

  15. Bart Shuldman

    Fred. Good points but I have to ask is that a real possibility? We have dire issues and we have to do what can really happen.

    Let’s be honest, Governor Malloy is probably Obama’s best friend. He is as liberal/progressive and has supported his actions 110%. Can Malloy get money? I would say no way but you might know differently.

    In addition, Governor Malloy has announced he needs to raise 40% more debt this year than last year. He will use some of those proceeds to pay his daily bills. We cannot pay our bills. Governor Malloy continued the use of overtime for pensions and refuses to think about other programs to get the future changed. Just look at Westport and how we changed from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.

    In addition Malloy continues to raid the transportation fund to pay for other ongoing expenses. So out bridge and roads are in need of repair. His way to deal with these issues-borrow more-tax more-add tolls. Really?

    Thanks for your feedback.

  16. Mary Ruggiero

    ” Joseloff added that a COG would not represent a return to county government nor would it have tax-levying powers or interfere with municipal policymaking. The state General Assembly abolished county government in 1960, and SWRPA was formed in 1962.”

    This is an excerpt from the westport news at the time, 2013, when former first selectman Joseloff extolled the virtues of joining the COG. It would seem, from his comments, that the governor is seeking to extend its powers to taxing authority, which is not what it was designed to do. Write your state rep to vote against this bill!

  17. Bart–yes.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Cathy-thanks for confirming it was Joseloff. I guess he always wanted to leave his legacy and just did.