Even at UConn title game, Lamont makes full court press for tax cuts

Gov. Lamont is proposing the first income tax cut since 1996. The average person would keep $300 per year in their paycheck by lowering rates for the bottom two tax brackets.

John Craven

Apr 3, 2023, 9:52 PM

Updated 417 days ago

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While Gov. Ned Lamont was in Houston cheering on the University of Connecticut Huskies Monday, his budget director was back in Hartford, putting a full court press on state lawmakers to pass sweeping tax cuts.
“I get to ask for your support for what would be the largest legislative tax cut package in the history of our state,” Office of Policy and Management secretary Jeffrey Beckham told the legislature’s tax-writing committee.
Lamont is proposing the first income tax cut since 1996. The average person would keep $300 per year in their paycheck by lowering rates for the bottom two tax brackets.
Even the governor’s political opponents like that idea.
“Connecticut has the dubious distinction of being one of the highest tax burdened states in the country, and this is a way – long-term – to try to change that,” said state Rep. Vin Candelora (R-North Branford), the top Republican in the Connecticut House.
Lamont's also wants bigger tax credits for small businesses and the working poor.
“We're going to eliminate the income tax for families up to about $50, $60,000 a year,” Lamont said last Monday.
But critics argued that almost a quarter of Lamont's tax relief would actually benefit the wealthy.
“If you're a family making a million dollars a year, you should have a higher effective tax rate than a family making $100,000 a year, because a family making a million dollars a year has a greater ability to pay,” said Dr. Patrick O'Brien, with Connecticut Voices for Children.
O’Brien’s group urged the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee to begin phase-out Lamont's income tax cut with those making more than $100,000 per year. Right now, the lowest tax brackets start phasing out around $500,000 annually.
Republicans pushed back.
“Your comment really is just, ‘Tax the rich,’” said state Rep. Lezlye Zupkis (R-Prospect). “And I don't think that that is necessarily a good thing because rich people can afford to leave, and they will leave.”
Other groups are also calling for a permanent child tax credit for parents. Last year, the state sent out up to $750 rebate checks to qualifying families, but Lamont has said it's too expensive to keep the credit.
The United Way of Connecticut argued the tax break could address Connecticut’s workforce shortage.
“A permanent child tax credit is an additional tool that you have in your toolbox to say to families – working-age people – 'We do want you to stay here and we do want you to come here,’” said Lisa Tepper Bates, with the United Way of Connecticut.
As lawmakers hash out his tax proposals, Lamont spent Saturday night courtside with UConn president, Dr. Radenka Radic.
Lamont and Radic are battling over the university’s budget-budget-cut – a match that could be a buzzer-beater.
The General Assembly’s two budget committees will unveil their own plans – one for taxes and one for spending – by April 20. After that, lawmakers and Lamont will negotiate a final package before the legislature adjourns on June 7.


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