Small Towns Blast Malloy on Car Tax; Town Managers, Selectmen Lament Loss Of Millions

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Democrats, Hartford Date:

Small-town leaders blasted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s car-tax proposal Monday, saying it would lead directly to increases in local property taxes across the state.

In a show of force, 22 local leaders in the Council of Small Towns submitted testimony to the tax-writing finance committee to oppose Malloy\’s plan because the towns would not be reimbursed for the lost tax money.

\”It\’s an unfair mandate, and it is going to cripple people,\’\’ said Barbara Gilbert, the town manager of Rocky Hill. \”When you look at the small towns, it\’s a drastic impact.\’\’

New Canaan first selectman Robert Mallozzi said he did not know any town officials who were pushing for the idea, adding that Malloy favors it without any apparent groundswell of support.

\”This is so top-driven it\’s unbelievable,\’\’ said Mallozzi, adding that he believed the issue was important enough to drive from New Canaan to the Capitol on Monday morning. \”It\’s not one bit an ask by the municipalities.\’\’

Besides the small towns, the large-city mayors have complained, too. Based on the latest numbers, Hartford would lose $21 million in taxes under the proposal, while Bridgeport would lose $17.4 million. New Haven, where Mayor John DeStefano has opposed the idea, would lose $14.5 million, based on figures from the legislature\’s nonpartisan fiscal office.

As such, the 110-member COST and 153-member Connecticut Conference of Municipalities are both opposed to Malloy\’s plan.

But Malloy told reporters Monday that he is sticking by his proposal because he believes the car tax is fundamentally flawed.

\”They\’ve got a tough job to do. I did that job for 14 years as a mayor,\’\’ Malloy said of the local municipal officials. \”It is one of the most egregious taxes on the books in the state of Connecticut. … It makes no sense. A car is a car is a car. It has exactly the same value, no matter what community it is in. It\’s the most hated tax. It\’s the most unfair tax. It\’s the most middle-class-unfriendly tax we have. It\’s time to do something about it. At least we\’re having a discussion, and I\’m hopeful we\’re going to do something about it.\’\’

He added, \”You guys need to put this in your stories. No other state taxes the cars the way that we do. No other state does it.\’\’

The legislature\’s nonpartisan research office says that at least 18 states impose statewide motor vehicle taxes, but they do it in various ways as far as collecting or redistributing the revenue. The states include Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and California, among others.

The exact impact on an individual taxpayer would depend on their own personal circumstances. But town leaders said that renters with high-priced cars would be the biggest winners because they would see their car taxes sliced at a time when they do not have a property tax burden because they rent.

\”This proposal will cause owners of modest homes and modest cars to pay more of the local tax burden than they do currently,\’\’ said Weston first selectman Gayle Weinstein. Noting that her small town would lose $2.37 million in automobile taxes, she said the subsequent tax hike on the average home would be 3.8 percent or $635.

John Elsesser, the town manager of Coventry, said Malloy\’s proposal was not well thought out on an important issue.

\”It\’s time for comprehensive reform, not a piecemeal approach,\’\’ he said.

Malloy\’s plan would lead to an 8.5 percent tax increase on homes in Coventry, he said. An average home with a market value of $200,000 currently pays $3,769 in property taxes and another $113 in car taxes, he said. The homeowner\’s tax would jump to $4,089, but even with the elimination of the car tax, the net tax increase on this particular homeowner would be $207.

A family with two older cars might be paying a relatively small amount in car taxes. But they might be paying a substantial amount in real estate taxes and might have to absorb more of the burden as the property taxes shift from cars to homes, officials said.

Norwalk\’s mayor, Richard Moccia, said his city would lose $15 million per year from the car tax, and it would lead to a 10 percent property tax increase for many homeowners. He added that some senior citizens who are paying high property taxes are not driving fancy cars.

\”I assure you, they are not driving $40,000 cars,\’\’ Moccia told legislators. \”It may be hold harmless for the state of Connecticut, not for the municipalities. … The public is opposed to it, and I have met almost no mayors or first selectmen who said this would work. Please, do not pass the burden to the cities because we are not a special interest group. We are the state of Connecticut. … I opposed Governor Rell\’s proposal in 2007 to eliminate the car tax. I have not changed my opinion on this. It\’s not political. It\’s practical. … It was only guaranteed funded for so many years. That was my concern back then. Would the legislature be able to continue to reimburse all the towns? Could it be sustained?\’\’

He noted that some wealthy renters drive expensive cars and would receive huge benefits if the car tax is eliminated.

Moccia quoted from a newspaper story during the 2010 gubernatorial election campaign when Malloy said, \”What I\’m going to do is stop shifting the burden to local government.\’\’

Sen. L. Scott Frantz, a Greenwich Republican, said to Moccia, \”You\’re doing a great job running the city of Norwalk.\’\’

Anthony Candelora, the mayor of North Branford, said the average homeowner would see an increase of $480 per year because of the elimination of the car tax.

\”In North Branford, we\’ve had businesses moving out – closing shop. One pizza place was there on Friday and closed on Saturday. Gone,\’\’ Candelora said. \”You can only tax people so much. … They\’re basically taking it out of one pocket and putting it into another.\’\’

Jeff Bridges, the town manager of Wethersfield, has worked in two other states – New York and Kansas – that have sales tax options. In Westchester County, New York, for example, the sales tax is higher in the city of Yonkers than in some of the surrounding towns because the state levies a flat sales tax and then other communities can add to it.

\”But that\’s not Connecticut\’s history,\’\’ Bridges told legislators after 5:30 p.m. Monday after waiting much of the day to testify. \”The property tax is all we have, and if that string is cut, it impacts everybody.\’\’

As a previous resident of Kansas, Bridges said that his property taxes tripled when he moved to Connecticut and began living in a similar house.

In a separate matter toward the end of the hearing shortly before 7 p.m. Monday night, Joseph Brennan, the chief Capitol lobbyist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the business community is looking to balance the budget this year without raising taxes.

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50 thoughts on “Small Towns Blast Malloy on Car Tax; Town Managers, Selectmen Lament Loss Of Millions

  1. Cut the bull

    I think the car tax is an absolute luxury that the towns only in CT benefit from. I’m personally moved here and was not only surprised but appalled that I not only have to pay a crazy amount to register my car, pay the insurance (one of the highest states), pay for a new license, pay the property taxes for my house, and then get charged to have a car and label it as my personal property that can be charged for having it on my property in which i pay a tax for. So you charge me twice for something of my property? I will tell you one thing my house doesn’t have red brick like many of these small towns fire departments or town halls…it’s time we trim the fat and if that means not over taxing your residents then I’m OKAY with not having brick sidewalks red brick fire departments…..

    1. Henry Hotlove

      We love government and taxes here. We all know that goverment can do more with the money we earn than our families can.

  2. Julie Jones

    So here’s the thing about car taxes that people like Cut the Bull hasn’t thought about. The car taxes are paid by everyone who has a car when property taxes are not paid by everyone who lives in a house/building. As a homeowner, I want the renters of my town to contribute to the finances of the town by paying their car taxes. I don’t want to have to pay HIGHER property taxes to let these people not pay taxes in my town and use all the services (schools, etc). It’s a known fact in my town that the renters use more of the town’s services (especially special ed services) than the property owners do. Let them pay some. Keep the car tax in place.

    1. Jon

      Julie, those renters are paying rent to their landlords who are, in turn, using part of that rent to pay the property tax on the properties the renters occupy. If you feel renters aren’t paying enough, lobby for higher tax rates on rental properties. Those will get passed along to the renters quickly enough. But it’s absurd to say the renters aren’t contributing anything.

    2. James

      As a landlord, I can assure you that renters pay property tax. Every tax increase placed on my properties in the last 25 years has been passed on to my renters. This is just common sense here.

      In fact, I would argue that an increase in property taxes hurts renters more because if the tax goes up $37.73 I am probably going to increase the rent by an even $50.

      1. ROBERT

        James a tax increase of 37.73 will increase your tax about $3.12 a month not the $50.00 you would increase the rent your tenants pay. This make you about as inconsiderate as that no good govenor you have in Ct.

        I moved to virginia four years ago because of high tax, I lowered my tax by about 2/3 my home in Ct. was taxed at approx. 4200.00 a yr. my home of equal value in va. is taxed at around 1400.00 a yr. car tax on two 2010 cars are about 350.00/400.00 a yr.this is a very big difference. my city services trash p/u weekly including
        brush and bulk, pd fire and rescue paid police and animal control streets are swept every two months in all areas.the people of Ct. dont get half of this for two or three time the money. WAKE UP and fight for lower taxes or stop COMPLAINING.

        1. BW

          If you’re so jealous of renters, then get an apartment! That’s like me buying a BMW and griping about how easy Kia owners have it with their low car payments. Voters gripe about government, but the real enemy is people like you who try to coerce government to provide you some benefit at someone else’s expense. Not so fun when you’re on the losing end of that game, is it?

      2. America Is Dying

        Aren’t you one of the lucky ones in CT!
        The New World Order is running the show.

    3. pro 2nd A

      amen to that, this is malloys way of giving low income people another tax break at at the expense of the home owner. he is a communist!

  3. richp

    Rental properties have lower property assessments than same non rental property, so renters pay less. More cars in a house hold the more services the more taxes. If someone wants to get a brand new car, they should pay more than someone forced to drive an old car. Maybe a state car assessment would be more fair, but doing away with car tax hurts the individual property owner.

  4. Gil

    No matter what happens with the car tax we are all going to pay higher taxes. It’s the nature of things that taxes go up, especially in Connecticut. Even if Malloy gets his way about the car tax, you know, of course, the towns will respond in kind. Malloy knows this and he knows too that tax payers will fight with the towns over any increase. So there is a possibility that in some towns a tax increase will occur and in others it won’t. It’s going to depend on how tax payers react to their town’s plan to increase taxes. It’s off his back and squarely on the taxpayers.

  5. Connecticut is Dying Too

    I still don’t understand why the Governor wants to wipe out a tax that generates revenue for the cities and towns. Why does the state even have a say in this tax? What am I missing?

  6. Dave

    Best thing we can do in CT is vote him out of office. remember 2014 is not far away and the primaries too. This is the same person that not only increased our income tax but made it retroactive. increased gas tax and on top of that wants to put tolls in. Now his latest idea is to remove the car tax so property taxes can go up.Is he trying to destroy the middle class with his bad budget planning? yet this genius wants to spend 1.5 billion on uconn and travels to china and other countries on our tax increase and gets nothing accomplished but a free vacation. Yet unemployment state wide has gone up and above the national average.

    1. Greg

      “Is he trying to destroy the middle class with his bad budget planning?”

      …that would require him to HAVE a budget plan first of all, let alone a ‘bad’ one.

      2014….can’t come fast enough!

  7. dwopus

    Our tax structure in CT is a wreck. No one in Htfd seems to care, either, or in a hurry to fix it through tax reform. Part of the problem is at the municpal level, cities and towns have no way to raise money other than the ability to levy real and personal prop. taxes and to depend on handouts from the state level of govt. which has many more options. The car tax elimination is yet one more example of how clueless and out of touch the Gov. is.

  8. Alex

    Everyone in CT and the rest of the Northeast needs to wake up. If you look at the Midwest, the South and the Southwest you’ll see nice houses, happier people, clean cars and lower taxes than you can imagine. My house in a beautiful area in South Carolina is taxed at 2400 as a full-time resident (it was 7,000 as a second home owner), whereas the same value house in West Springfield, MA would be taxed at about 15,000.
    My property taxes on two cars totals less than 300 for cars 6 to 10 years old.
    Moving here full time sure confirmed why so many people are bailing out of the Northeast. If it weren’t for family ties I’m sure it would be an even greater exodus yet the people there keep electing those phony,”caring”, politicians that merely use the money from the working people to buy the votes of those on the dole so they can keep their positions of power.

  9. Robert

    If he really wants to help the tax payer how about cutting the GAS TAX. The combination of Connecticut’s retail and wholesale tax currently adds 48 cents a gallon to the price at the pump, which is 19 cents more a gallon than Rhode Island and 25 cents more than Massachusetts.

  10. Framl

    I figured that towns would have to make up the lost revunue somehow.. meaning my house tax would be higher…I dont get his plans never have never will maybe thats because they only include highering all taxes to make up for the mess he walked into. I cant blame him 100% for this mess but he sure isnt doing much about cleaning it up either.

  11. Henry Hotlove

    Let’s elect 100% democrats so they can raise taxes even more. Only then can government really take care of us. Come on CT, only a little way to go to get rid of those remaining Republicans who want to lower your taxes and cut government spending. What a silly people the Repubs are, we all know government knows what best to do with your money.

    1. Bill

      Harry, we are working on just this plan in DC. 2014 and with any luck, we should have both houses back and veto-proof we pray.

      Then the fun begins.

      1. Kim

        billyboy: your metopia is for ‘the general benefit of society’ and ‘to serve the public good’ (your words below), right?

        One party rule is for the public good and the benefit of society? Obvioulsy, your multiple personalities are necessary to reflect your many faces. Such hypocrisy

  12. The Conn-servative

    I wonder if the State Dept. of Mental Health does house calls and if so,their next stop should be the Governors residence and then Williams and Looneys.

    1. Dave

      Nah he’ll just cut their budget and threaten to lay them off. He excels at being a bully.

  13. Ginger

    I believe it’s to relieve the State Motor Vehicle Dept. of having to check on vehicles regestered to States like Florida, Pennsylvania,New Hampshire, etc. that do not have an automobile tax. Yet, the owners of these vehicles live over 182 days a year in Connecticut,working,and shoping here and their children are registered in a Connecticut school. They should be arrested.

  14. Henry Hotlove

    Homeowners in CT are clearly not paying their fair share. Gov Malloy is seeing to it that rich property owners are punished. If you don’t like it, you can now live in your car tax free. See no worries, government always knows what is best for you.

  15. Ralph

    Governor Malloy is doing this so in less than 2 years he can campaign on he cut taxes by this. He’ll blame the increase in local property taxes on local government. I’m hopeful the voters in Connecticut are smarter than the Governor thinks.

    This proposal makes no sense at all, unless the revenue from the car taxes was going to be supplemented by State Funding, which obviously is not the case. Hopefully, the State Legislature will make dramatic changes to the final budget so it won’t look like the proposal from the Governor.

  16. Ben

    This is clearly a political play. Malloy knows he’s in big trouble in terms of getting re-elected, and will claim he proposed a tax cut with this proposal. Shame on us if we don’t send this OVER tax and OVER spend career politician back to Stanford in 2014 and get someone in office who understands how to manage a budget. By the way, I hope everyone understands Malloy’s budget increases spending by 10% over the next 2 years and he is borrowing money (putting us further in debt) to pay for basic state services.

  17. Gman

    I’m not sure I like this, but I can’t believe all those that hate taxes are against getting rid of a tax. Of course property taxes will go up. How about educating your own kids. Let’s get rid of public education. You are going to be taxed one way or the other, what difference does it make. You free loading wanna bes need to get in touch with reality. You want kids, pay for their education, don’t expect me to pay for it.

    1. RoPa

      Gman what America do you live in. This country was founded on public education. Why change it now? It was not a problem in the 50’s and 60’s…what’s wrong today? Ohhhh trying to get equal quality education is costing us. You liked it when it was just the low cost remedial education that was flying around. Well, suck it up. You’ll suck it up because you’ll be paying taxes for them until they will be paying them for you.

  18. The Conn-servative

    Ah Gman, you have described the ideology of a modern day secular regressive. They want everyone to pay for what they believe is right for society,but things they don’t support, they want only the end user to pay individually through the nose for it.

    1. Bill

      Conn, maybe he was just being facetious. We need to have taxes collected because taxes serve the public good. In a way, tax is a form of socialism. Some of us use services more than others. But we all pay for the general benefit of society.

      It is healthy to complain.

  19. Johnny 2 Dogs

    Somewhat unrelated, but I overheard a lady who was driving by New Britain and was curious why there were cranes visible. Someone explained Malloy’s busway plan and she started laughing uncontrollably.

    Who would build a busway from a place no one wants to live to where no one wants to work?

    Why does it make any difference if I pay $4,000 in property taxes and $1,000 in car taxes or $5,000 under the new plan?

  20. Just Thinking

    This is why so many people have moved out of the state because of the taxes. We certainly did the right thing by moving out. We are much better off today then we were a month ago. I don`t miss all this nonsense that is going on there.

  21. Common_Tator

    Look at the fuss the threat of cutting ANY TAX creates! We need the money to name a highway after Governor Malloy – The “MY WAY OR THE” Highway !

  22. nutmeg

    lets makes chris Christie Governor of CT. he may be a loud mouth but at least he has a clue and isn’t incompetent like malloy.

  23. barry

    I think you are all forgeting something. Malloy wants to keep the tax on expensive cars. The renterswill notbenefit. Good for the governor. Keep taxes down.

  24. george pappa

    Keep the car tax in place, it more like a fee, rather than a tax. The bigger problem I see is that, the property tax will have adverse property values. When the mortgage underwrighters see the taxes on a property, the monthly cost would be obviously higher. When a buyer agrees to a purchase a home for fifteen or thirty years, their locked in. Housing market prices will decline to make closings happen. I don’t like the car tax, but the state of Connecticut can not afford to lose 500 million dollars. I feel sorry for the elerly with older cars, paying little tax. If one does not pay attention to a tax short fall in their mortgage, that amount goes on the principal for the life of the loan, making their monthly payments even a greater percentage. On the renters side of things, section 8 recieptiants will pay more rent, with the government paying the lions share, Mo taxes.

  25. Kim

    The truth about Budget Politics:

    “At the local level, the first response to budget cuts is often to cut the police department and the fire department. There may be all sorts of wasteful boondoggles that could have been cut instead, but that would not produce the public alarm that reducing police protection and fire protection can produce. And public alarm is what can get budget cuts restored.

    The Obama administration is following the same pattern. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, released thousands of illegal aliens from prisons to save money — and create alarm.

    The Federal Aviation Administration says it is planning to cut back on the number of air traffic controllers, which would, at a minimum, create delays for airline passengers, in addition to fears for safety that can create more public alarm.”

  26. underthebus

    This is a shell game to give more money from homeowners
    tot he druggies with expensive cars and the state ward people who dont have to pay a car tax now.

    This will devastate homeowners already struggling to
    yet pay more for the unfortunate bums milking taxpayer dollars and getting more free stuff.

    Seniors on a fixed income will be devastated by this distribution to Malloy’s “new middle class”

    New middle class to Obama & Malloy is
    low income families crapping ouot kids getting $35K a year in free health care, section 8 subsidies, earned income tax credits, and now they will pay NO TAXES.

    This is a war on responsible people paying to help breed the bums of Malloys class warfare to decimate
    the true middle class who own homes, pay their bills and once again get screwed.

    Where is the discrimation on seniors on fixed incomes, the banks dont give them interest anymore, now the Marxist Malloy will steal more from ehat little they have to give to the irresponsibles.

    People better start protesting.

    1. Kim

      I couldn’t agree more. Maybe there’s some enterprising law group out there with the no-how and wherewithall to fight the state and federal governments under some ‘equal rights’ or ‘equal opportunities’ or equal treatment’ clause of the constitution. Or perhaps the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We’ve reached a tipping point and something has to break – the unfairness and inequity is doing to the US what it did to empires like Rome, etc.

      1. Kim

        And my light bulb doesn’t shine too bright when it comes to ancient history or recent history.

        1. Kim

          billyboy: apparently, pretending to be me and posting under my name has caused you to show signs of something not true to your nature – honesty! You are right – your light bulb DOESN’T shine too brightly. I must be rubbing off on you.

          I give you permission to continue masquerading as me – perhaps an increase in intelligence will come next.

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