Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney said it’s “too soon” to speculate on how much money the state will bring in until April 30, but if tax revenues continue to come in lower than expected they may have to look at lowering the amount of the $55 tax refund.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had proposed using $155 million in state surplus funds to give $55 sales and gas tax refunds to an estimated 2.7 million people, however, the Office of Fiscal Analysis says income tax collections are coming in weaker than expected.
Looking at the revenue projections Wednesday, Senate Republican Leader John McKinney urged his colleagues on the other side of the aisle to scrap the proposal.
Malloy declined to say how hard he would fight to keep the proposal in the budget back in March.
Pressed on the issue Thursday, Looney said there’s the possibility the amount of the refund would be different than the original proposal, but he didn’t think lawmakers would go below $50 per person.
“I think $55 is probably the ceiling,” Looney said. “It probably wouldn’t be much worth doing if you were sending less than $50.”
But he said the real issue is what level of income would be eligible for the refund. Under Malloy’s plan individuals making less than $200,000 a year would receive a check and couples earning less than $400,000 would receive $110.
It will cost the state about $1.7 million to send out the checks, according to Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes.
Looney said he thinks there will be a negotiation once “all the envelopes are opened.”