Christine Stuart photo

Looking out over the runways at Bradley International Airport Tuesday morning, industry officials and Senator John Kissel, R-Enfield, voiced their opposition to the Democrat-controlled Finance Committee’s proposed 6 percent sales tax on deliveries.

Kissel called the proposed tax “ill-conceived” and “wrongheaded” but said its goal of raising $60 million to fully fund state grants to cities and towns for property they’re unable to tax was “laudable.”

Kissel who represents the region surrounding the airport said his community which houses several prisons would benefit from an increase in the state grant known as PILOT, however, the new delivery tax is not the way to do it.

The proponents of the delivery sales tax called for legislators to find a permanent funding mechanism for cities and towns that can’t collect property taxes from state-owned properties, colleges, and hospitals. The state supplements a portion of the property taxes, but not all of them.

On Monday the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities called for this to be done either through the delivery sales tax or find another way, such as the $50 million in additional money available this year from the sale of abandoned property. “It would take only an additional $10 million in funding to provide the $60 million in aid needed to fully fund the PILOT program,” the CCM press release stated.

Kissel warned that it’s critically important the legislature does not impact businesses by creating new taxes.

“The way the bill was drafted it could have a cascading effect,” Kissel said. He said a manufacturer could tax a wholesaler for a delivery, then the wholesaler could tax the distributor for delivery, and the distributor could tax the retailer for delivery, and the retailer could pass it along to the consumer in the price of an item.

Gerard Barrieau, who owns a packing and shipping store called PakMail, said every day he deals with customers shipping packages to relatives. He said it’s likely the tax would be passed along to them.

Michael Gualtieri President of ProCourier said the increase in gas prices has already put some smaller businesses out of business and this new tax would have the same effect.

Bob DeCaprio, executive director of the Messenger Courier Association of the Americas in Washington D.C., said he was appalled a bill like this would get as far as it did. He said what’s worse is “we don’t know what type of deliveries it will effect and whose going to collect it.”

The tax came up as a solution to fund the PILOT program to help local cities and towns. Urban mayors had asked the state to allow it to charge 1 percent more in sales tax in their respective geographic areas. Click here and here for more background on the tax proposal, which many Capitol insiders believe is DOA.