HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont isn’t ready to endorse a state-based child tax credit pitched Tuesday by a Democratic lawmaker.
“I’m the guy that’s got to pay for things and I’m the guy who’s got to keep the budget in balance,” Lamont said Tuesday during his COVID press briefing.
Lamont said President-elect Joe Biden will have a large Earned Income Tax Credit as part of his budget proposal to help working class taxpayers get some of their money back at the end of the year.
“It will surely help those working families get through this tough time,” Lamont said.
He said he wants to wait and see what the federal government does before offering a state-based tax credit at a time when Connecticut is still facing a two-year almost $2 billion budget deficit.
Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, floated the idea of a state-based child tax credit that would be phased in over four years, eventually costing the state about $450 million in revenues while helping working families off-set their state tax liability.
Scanlon held a press conference via Zoom Tuesday and let mothers from various parts of the state talk about the struggles of raising a family in a state where, according to the Economic Policy Institute, it costs about $15,000 annually in child care for one child.
Rep. Holly Cheeseman, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee says she likes the idea that the legislature needs to do more to make Connecticut friendly for families.
“How you pay for that is a question that has to be addressed,” Cheeseman says.
Lamont said Tuesday that they thought about increasing the property tax credit
On the campaign trail in 2018, Lamont said he wanted to increase the property tax credit for middle class homeowners to $300. The credit is currently $200 for individuals over the age of 65 or families with dependents. Individuals without kids who own a home currently don’t qualify for the credit.
Under Lamont’s campaign proposal, individuals with incomes up to $138,500 and married couples earning up to $160,500 would be able to qualify for the credit, which would increase the revenue loss to the state by $165 million a year.
The revenue loss to the state would increase to $400 million in the third and fourth year of the proposal, but it would give some taxpayers who pay more than 6.5% of their income taxes in property taxes up to a $1,200 tax credit.
Lamont said the legislature preferred to give people a discount on their tax obligation on pensions so they scrapped the property tax proposal.
“That was a choice we made together with the legislature,” Lamont said.
Lamont said he wants to fully fund education this year and then provide all the COVID support that’s necessary to cities and towns first. He said that will ensure the property tax burden on the middle class doesn’t increase as the state emerges from the pandemic.
“From there we’ll look at other items that could be of assistance, I’m intrigued by some ideas I hear coming out of the legislature like PILOT, Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes,” Lamont said. “And we’re going to have some ideas on how we can perhaps get some additional funding to our municipalities by better funding PILOT.”