Tim Martin / ctnewsjunkie file photo
Gov. Ned Lamont on opening day of the 2019 session (Tim Martin / ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont might be a Democrat, but he’s also a business executive who ran a small cable company for years.

With that business background in mind, Lamont said he’s eliminating the $250 business entity tax that’s paid every other year by businesses as part of his two-year budget proposal.

It’s a small step in signaling to the business community both big and small that government is listening.

“Over and over again, I’ve heard the same refrain – it’s not easy to do business with the State of Connecticut,” Lamont said. “How can we try to build and stabilize our economy if businesses don’t feel as though we’re listening?”

The tax brought in about $45 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to the Department of Revenue Services.

There were at least 19 separate bills this year calling for the repeal of the business entity tax.

“This is the beginning of our work with the business community – not the end – but I hope these proposals send a powerful message to entrepreneurs, small business owners and CEOs alike: Connecticut state government wants to be your partner, not your roadblock,” Lamont said.

Lamont said he’s also working on a one-stop shopping experience for residents and businesses.

The Department of Administrative Services is expected to create a cloud-based digital procurement system to streamline contracting and purchasing for all state agencies.

While the eliminating of the business entity tax might have bipartisan appeal, Lamont, a millionaire from Greenwich, will find any attempt to eliminate the estate tax might be difficult.

Some Senate Democrats have signaled they’re interested in repealing the tax, but the legislature’s Progressive caucus said they’re not going to let that happen.

Over the past two years the estate tax has brought in about $218 to $223 million per year. It only applies to people who are passing estates larger than $3.6 million.

“It’s going to be a huge transfer of wealth directly to the ultra-wealthy in our state,” Rep. Joshua Elliott, D-Hamden, said Thursday.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo
Rep. Joshua Elliott, D-Hamden, and the Progressive caucus (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo)

He said Connecticut lawmakers can’t listen to “anecdotal evidence” from wealthy people who leave Connecticut.

He said eliminating the estate tax is “anathema” to what they stand for as a caucus.

He said Connecticut is losing population from every income tax bracket, including from those who make $50,000 per year. He said that tells him it’s not a tax issue, but one of investment.

Lamont is expected to release his two-year budget on Feb. 20.