Small businesses owners descended on the Capitol to protest proposals for tax hikes in the Democrats’ draft budget. At a public hearing organized by Republican lawmakers, companies provided seven hours of testimony on the budget bill, which would extend sales tax to a new range of services.
Chip Beckett runs a veterinary practice in Glastonbury. He told the lawmakers that putting the sales tax on veterinary care would have unforeseen negative effects.
"I believe it hurts the most vulnerable of our human population. The very old who have no family and few friends to come visit them, and depend on their pets for emotional support," Beckett said. "Yet we have a culture apparently in this building that says we're going to pick on those small and weak groups to benefit various special interests that want to feed at the public trough."
Jim Brown manages an independent moving and storage company, William B. Meyer, Inc., in Stratford. He said he sees the effects of the state’s business climate close up, as he reeled off a long list of companies that his vans have moved out of state in the past.
"And it continues," Brown said. "This summer, we'll be moving two more companies out of state. We're going to move Stolt Neilsen from Norwalk to Texas. We're going to move Trent Capital from Greenwich to Florida. This is just us!"
State officials have estimated that around 20,000 businesses would find themselves paying sales tax for the first time under the proposals.
Meanwhile, Governor Dannel Malloy has begun negotiations with Democratic leaders in the legislature to come up with a compromise proposal.