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The state of Connecticut has struck a multi-million dollar deal with United Technologies, which it hopes will safeguard the future of research and manufacturing operations here.

Under the agreement, the state will allow UTC to exercise tax credits it has already built up. The conglomerate can exchange $20 million in tax credits each year, up to a maximum of $400 million.

President Barack Obama is coming to Connecticut on March 5 as part of his campaign to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The visit follows Governor Dannel Malloy’s heated defense of the proposal at a news conference this week in Washington. Governor Malloy urged the General Assembly to pass a bill this year that would raise the state's minimum wage after the president—in his State of the Union address-- called on Congress to implement the policy nationwide.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Delayed a day by the snow, Connecticut's lawmakers returned to work to open this year's legislative session, and they began their work by hearing a budget address from Governor Dannel Malloy. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The public will soon have access to a one-stop web portal for information on tax credits and direct financial assistance the state is offering to help businesses grow and expand in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Bloomfield said taxpayers have the right to know what their state government is doing to promote economic development and job creation. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Department of Revenue Services said it collected almost $180 million in back taxes through a two-month-long amnesty program. That's far in excess of the $35 million it set as a goal at the beginning of the amnesty.

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut's Department of Revenue Services is offering a amnesty program for individuals and businesses that owe back taxes. Those who take advantage of the program will get a 75 percent reduction in accrued interest, and all other penalties waived. But there are a few catches.

Obama Proposes Cuts In Corporate Tax Rates

Jul 30, 2013

U.S. home prices continue to surge. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index out today shows a 12 percent increase in May compared to a year ago.

Low interest rates and an improving job market are boosting demand for homes and driving prices up.

President Obama is out with a plan that he says will improve the job market even more. The president is touring an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn. to announce a so-called “grand bargain” to overhaul the corporate tax system.

A New Gas Tax, But What's It Paying For?

Jul 1, 2013
Lundgren Photography / Creative Commons

You ever notice how gas prices tend to rise, just when we’re all on the road for summer get-aways?

Well, starting today, we’ll see the prices go even higher – as a Connecticut tax goes up.  It’ll give the state some of the highest prices in the country – but at least that extra revenue will pay to repair the roads…or, not.

Chion Wolf

Yesterday, Governor Malloy signed an executive order establishing the Office of Early Childhood, an idea that has broad support, and funding from the legislature.

"There was no doubt that this legislation, until it apparently got tied up in some politics, was going to pass," said Malloy.

markn3tel, Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Governor Rick Perry is here in Connecticut trying to lure businesses away with promises of low taxes and no regulation.

The truth behind Connecticut's gas prices: Part 3

Jun 7, 2013

This week we’ve been exploring why gas prices are so high in Connecticut. One culprit is a little-known state tax on the wholesale price of gas. On July 1 that’ll go up in the largest gas tax increase in state history. But the money won’t go to helping Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure. 

Last week I paid $3.79 cents for a gallon of gas. 46 cents of it went straight to the state of Connecticut. And I was frustrated. So was my fellow gas-guzzler Tracy Fusco.

The truth behind Connecticut's gas prices: Part 2

Jun 7, 2013

If you’ve ever wondered why gas prices in Connecticut are so high, WNPR’s Neena Satija is finding out this week. Yesterday she explained that a little-known wholesale fuel tax has a lot to do with it. Today she digs into the history of this tax, which will add around 4 cents to the price of a gallon of gas in July.  

No one was ever really supposed to notice that we had a wholesale tax on the price of gasoline in Connecticut. First of all, the oil companies were supposed to pay it – although they passed it on to drivers instead. 

The truth behind Connecticut's gas prices: Part 1

Jun 7, 2013

Ever wonder why gas prices are so high in Connecticut? A lot of it has to do with state gas taxes very few people know about – taxes that are about to undergo a steep increase. 

So, last week I paid $3.79 per gallon of gas at a North Haven gas station. This made me angry. And I asked my fellow gas-guzzlers – who’s to blame?

“I can’t determine what’s going on or what’s causing it," said one customer.

“People are making money off it," said another. Other culprits were "oil from the Middle East" and "Saudi Arabia." 

The Truth Behind Connecticut's Gas Prices

Jun 7, 2013

This is a three-part series. 

Part 1

Ever wonder why gas prices are so high in Connecticut? A lot of it has to do with state gas taxes very few people know about – taxes that are about to undergo a steep increase. 

So, last week I paid $3.79 per gallon of gas at a North Haven gas station. This made me angry. And I asked my fellow gas-guzzlers – who’s to blame?

“I can’t determine what’s going on or what’s causing it," said one customer.

If you've been following the negotiations over the state budget, you've no doubt heard three words: constitutional spending cap. But do you know what they mean?...Neither did WNPR's Jeff Cohen, who brings us this report. What is the constitutional spending cap?

"The constitutional spending cap was adopted as part of a broader political agreement to get majority support for the adoption of a state income tax." That's Bill Curry, a Democrat and one-time state comptroller, talking about the law that is now two decades old.

The debate over the Amazon tax seemed to put e-commerce giants on one side of a bright line, and brick and mortar businesses on the other. But the fact is that the distinctions between real and virtual businesses aren't so clearly defined.

 

Manufacturing might seem to you and me to be the ultimate brick and mortar business. It's an industry where you make things you can drop on your toe in a building you can walk into. Not so, says David Drake.

 

"All the commerce I do is done electronically."

 

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's plan to get rid of the car tax for most of vehicles in the state will not likely pass the legislature. That's according to the office of Democratic House Speaker Brendan Sharkey. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. A spokesman for Sharkey says that the car tax is one of the most regressive taxes the state has. On that, he's in agreement with Malloy. But Sharkey doesn't think that the governor's plan is the right one. So he's asking a legislative committee to study the issue further.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy’s popularity is at an all-time high, jumping five points in a new poll to 48 percent. What do people like about the job the governor’s doing? Well, they say he’s good in a crisis...and he’s had plenty of those to deal with.

They’re less pleased with his handling of the state budget and tax policy.

A big part of his time in office has been spent trying to overhaul the state’s economy - investing millions in programs like “First Five” - which promises incentives to certain companies that create new jobs.

Small town leaders from across the state were at the state capitol today. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, they were there to push back against one of Governor Dannel Malloy's budget proposals -- the elimination of some car taxes.

Malloy wants to eliminate the property tax for cars worth less than $28,000. He says it will provide middle class tax relief and that it will curtail the "most hated and regressive tax in the state." John Elsesser doesn't like the tax, either. He's the town manager for Coventry.

Harriet Jones

The Malloy administration has made an explicit effort to change Connecticut’s reputation as a state that’s unfriendly to business. To that end, 2011’s Jobs Bill offered loans and tax incentives to companies already hard at work in the state. One of those programs might be about to become a victim of its own success. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the Job Expansion Tax Credit might have more takers than the state has dollars.

 

 

 

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.

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