In April, the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee decided the state should give municipalities the authority to charge an admissions tax on event tickets.
On Thursday, the Senate agreed it was a good idea.
The decision is especially helpful to the cities of Hartford and New Britain — each of which are home to minor league baseball parks. The budget allows Hartford and New Britain to charge a 10 percent admissions tax at the two parks and exempts it from the state admissions tax, which means the state would be giving up $500,000 in revenue. The fiscal note estimates the state would be giving up $400,000 to Hartford once the stadium is completed, and $100,000 a year to the stadium in New Britain starting in 2018.
All other municipalities will be empowered to charge a 5 percent admissions tax on tickets for “theaters; lecture and concert halls; amusement parks and fairgrounds; dance halls; sporting facilities, such as ball parks, race tracks, tennis courts, golf and miniature golf courses, skating rinks, beaches, swimming pools, and gyms; stadiums and amphitheaters; convention centers; auto, boat, camping, home, dog, and antique shows; and other similar venues and events.”
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, was critical of the decision because he felt like it breaks a promise that was made when the minor league baseball team moved from New Britain to Hartford.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said the bonds to build the new Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium in Hartford would not be paid off with any state funds.
But Fasano said exempting the stadium from the state admissions tax means “direct taxpayer dollars” would be used to fund the stadium.
“At a time when our state faces serious financial burdens, state funds should not be used to pay for this stadium, a project state taxpayers never voted for or approved,” Fasano said.
The state is not giving up the admissions tax. It is simply exempting the two stadiums and giving municipalities the ability to levy their own tax.