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Governor Malloy's Budget

Feb 8, 2013
Chion Wolf

Governor Dannel Malloy’s new budget includes some tax relief, and a promise of no new taxes.  But it’s also a document that even some in his party are calling “confusing.”  Today, where we live, we’ll try to pull apart fiction from reality in the new two-year state budget.

Governor Dannel Malloy presented his budget to the legislature today.  In it is at least one item intended to be attractive to the state's taxpayers.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Malloy wants to exempt most cars from the property tax. Connecticut residents pay taxes based on the value of their cars, and they pay them to the town where the vehicle is registered. Malloy says this system has been historically unfair.

alancleaver_2000 / Creative Commons

Connecticut residents will have to start paying sales tax on purchases from Amazon.com later this year. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the web giant has plans to site a distribution facility in the state.

This week’s last-minute deal avoiding a jump over the fiscal cliff will bring some relief to a perhaps unexpected group of taxpayers: Commuters.

Yeah, most of us are happy that we’re not hurtling over the fiscal cliff. But this might come as unexpectedly good news for some. As Steve Higashide of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign puts it: 

“This change will bring significant pocketbook relief for hundreds of thousands of transit riders in the region.”

Legislators appear to have stepped away for the minute from significant changes to tax advantaged retirement accounts in the latest attempt at a fiscal cliff fix. That’s welcome news for those who say right now most Americans don’t do enough to save for retirement. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Surveys consistently show that working for or owning a small business is a woefully bad way to plan for your golden years.

Chion Wolf

Governor Dannel Malloy is heading into the new year with a series of questions surrounding this budget year - and the next couple. He’s put a plan in place to cope with the state’s current budget shortfall...but the next three years show the state budget billions in deficit.

He’s said that everything - except tax increases - are on the table, and he’s working with legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle to find a solution before next week’s special session.

It seems there’s no end to the negative consequences of the fiscal cliff. And just the latest to be highlighted is the chaos it’s about to cause for payroll managers. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

If there’s one thing taxes cause, it’s paperwork. In a little more than a week from now, payroll managers everywhere will have to start computing paychecks for employees for the new year. Trouble is, no-one knows how much tax we’ll be paying.

The National Flood Insurance Program promises help for businesses and homeowners caught in devastating weather events like Sandy. But it’s a huge burden on taxpayers, and some critics argue that it encourages building in flood-prone areas. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports on how new rate increases for the program might affect its future.

Nearly 40% of small businesses that sustain severe flood damage in natural disasters subsequently close down. Pop’s Grocery on Main Street in Bridgeport is struggling to stay off that list.

Family businesses are arguably at the heart of the American economy, and yet there’s little recognition of their contribution. In the second of our series, WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on the unique challenges facing families that go into business together.

Just how important are family businesses to the economy?

“There are statistics that say that family businesses comprise 80 to 90% of the business entities throughout the country.”

An advocacy organization that represents towns and cities across the state is calling on the state to give more money to municipalities.   The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities issued a campaign bulletin intended for candidates this fall.  It makes one clear, if not new, point: Connecticut relies too heavily on the property tax. Jim Finley is CCM's executive director. "It's the most regressive tax in our state/local tax system.  It's income blind.  It doesn't matter whether you have a job or not, your property tax is due.

Democrats on the Hartford City Council spent much of Friday afternoon trying to figure out just what to do with next year's city's budget. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

The city's budget isn't yet final, but according to the latest proposals, what you think of it will depend on what kind of property you own.

Chion Wolf

In every legislative session there are winners and losers, but one of the more extraordinary losses this time around was Senate Bill One, a high profile piece of economic legislation with broad bi-partisan support. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports. 

Fresh from passing the legislation in his own chamber just a couple of weeks ago, this is how Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams spoke about the measure:

The state legislature was unable to agree on a law that that would have brought Hartford $8 million in tax revenue. And as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, there's a lot of blame going around.

J Holt

Several demonstrators were arrested outside Cigna’s annual meeting in Hartford Wednesday, protesting about executive pay and what they say is the company’s interference with healthcare reform. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The Buffett Rule Splits Connecticut Senators

Apr 17, 2012
Fortune Live Media (Flickr Creative Commons)

On the eve of today’s deadline for filing state and federal taxes, Connecticut’s Senators split over raising taxes on the richest Americans.

The so-called Buffett Rule would make all Americans earning more than $1 million pay a 30 percent tax rate on their investment income. Named after billionaire Warren Buffett , who doesn’t like paying a higher tax rate than his secretary, the rule failed on a procedural vote Monday in the Senate. 

Business advocates told an official hearing this week that Connecticut’s tax structure is too complex and too changeable. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

It’s spring, and lots of us are busy in the garden, making things grow. Some experts on business development think it’s also time Connecticut’s towns and cities began gardening – economic gardening, that is. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Economic development, like any other field is prone to fashions. One minute it’s tax incentives, another it’s industry clusters or enterprise zones. But one city in Colorado came up with an idea more than 20 years ago that’s been slowly spreading ever since. Economic gardening.

Cashless Society

Apr 9, 2012
borman818

Do you ever wonder what the cash in your pocket is really worth? It might cost more than you know.

According to the IRS, every year the U.S. government loses billions of dollars in tax revenue due to individuals underreporting, underpaying, or not filing their taxes.

But, tax evasion is just one problem associated with a society awash in cash that can’t easily be traced.

Governor Malloy has declared Connecticut open for business. But many business lobbyists continue to say it’s one of the least business friendly states in the nation.  So who’s right?  WNPR’s Harriet Jones takes a look at a new analysis of Connecticut’s competitiveness.

This year’s debate over the minimum wage has crystallized a lot of views of Connecticut’s legislature as anti-business.

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc. must pay the state millions of dollars in taxes and penalties. The court found that teachers in the classroom act as local salespeople for the out-of-state bookseller. 

The Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously reversed a trial court judge’s decision, and ruled that Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc should pay the state more than 3 million dollars in sales tax, interest and penalties. 

Segarra's New City Ride

Mar 15, 2012

Correction: The mayor's new car is not the black one originally pictured.

The city of Hartford is facing a ten percent budget deficit next year. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, city officials say they may ask bigger non-profits to lend a hand...and write a check. Hartford has billions of dollars in property. But about half of it isn't taxable, because it belongs to the state or to non-profits. That means schools, universities, hospitals, and others don't pay taxes on the land and property they own. And that means the city of Hartford is property rich, cash poor, and facing a $54 million budget hole next year. So here's an idea.

1000+ say no to their tax bill in New Haven

Feb 28, 2012

Residents in some areas of New Haven are protesting sharp increases in their property tax bills this year. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on a proposal the mayor has announced offering some relief.

In April, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra will present next year's budget to city council.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, he's got a pretty big hole to fill between now and then. The city's current budget is about $547 million, and it's running just a slight deficit.   But next year could be much, much worse. 

The General Assembly reconvenes later this week for a session that looks to be jam-packed with issues. The state’s largest business organization says lawmakers will have a difficult balancing act. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Reporter Roundtable

Jan 19, 2012
Chion Wolf

Rep. Jim Himes
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Congressman Jim Himes is getting ready for another battle over unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut...while trying to keep open a Social Security office in his district.  We talked to him about these issues, but he’s also been weighing in on SOPA and PIPA - the anti-piracy bills that have been dubbed “internet killers” by critics.

Chion Wolf

In the week after Thanksgiving, U.S. consumers spent nearly $6 billion online. Those numbers come from research firm ComScore, which says online sales are already up 15% from last year.

The benefits of internet shopping can include free shipping, no crowds and seemingly...no sales tax.

Across the country, states miss out on more than $7 billion from online sales.

Revisiting the "Amazon Tax"

Aug 26, 2011
J Holt

The passage of an internet sales tax in Connecticut earlier this year was highly controversial. Even the commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services warned the state might suffer economic damage. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of one company dealing with the consequences of the new law.

Warchol- “Go get it!” (Dog panting)

That’s Josh Warchol and his dog Jesse. For the last three years, Josh has been senior engineer for a small software company called Fanzter

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Amid all the many tax changes taking place in Connecticut right now, more than 70,000 businesses are receiving a special bill from the state Department of Labor. The cash will go toward paying interest on federal loans that the state has taken out in order to keep paying unemployment benefits. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Mark Richards runs an IT consulting and recruitment company in Shelton, and he employs 25 people. He’s already grappling with changing his payroll to impose a higher income tax on many of his employees.

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