Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly and Republicans pitch sales tax cut Credit: Christine Stuart / CTNewsJunkie

After a year of skyrocketing inflation at the grocery store and the gas pump, lawmakers are looking to give families some relief – starting with a sales tax cut.

“Kitchen table economics have entered a new reality and people are faced with increasingly difficult choices as they plan out their everyday budgets, especially hard hit are moderate and low income households with little or no cash cushion,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said at a state Capitol press conference. 

The sales tax would be lowered from 6.35% to 5.99% and the 1% meals tax would be eliminated starting Feb. 15 through the rest of 2022. 

Kelly said it would offer immediate relief to working families.

“We are calling for a temporary reduction to the state’s sales tax rate. Consumer prices are rising on goods and services that we regularly depend on,” Kelly said. . 

Republicans say the proposal would save families about $315 million or about $250 per family.

The state budget would remain even with the tax reduction because the budget the General Assembly adopted had much lower projections for both the sales tax and gross receipts revenue. 

“We increased the Earned Income Tax Credit so that’s the biggest tax cut for working families this state has seen in an awful long time,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. 

Lamont said just last week he announced they increased the earned income tax credit with $75 million in federal COVID funds, which will put more money in the pocket of nearly 200,000 Connecticut residents. The funding will help increase the credit working families making less than $56,000 a year will receive. 

“I want to make sure we reward work so people have a good strong incentive to get back to work,” Lamont said. . 

Democratic lawmakers didn’t dismiss the Republican proposal.

“Any proposed tax cut has to be looked at in the context of the entire biennial state budget as well as its sustainability over the ensuing months and years,” Senate President Martin Looney, said. 

“Democrats will be unveiling our own revenue proposals in the coming session, including a look at ways to reduce Connecticut’s onerous local property tax burden. Therefore, there will be a time for a comprehensive discussion of various revenue proposals and to closely examine questions such as who will benefit most and what Connecticut can afford in both the short-term and the long-term. I look forward to having that discussion with my Republican colleagues.”

Republicans pitched the sales tax reduction and meals tax elimination as temporary tax relief that would expire at the end of the year.

“What we want to do is provide relief now. Not a tax credit that those who are fortunate enough to have a job and be filing a tax return in Connecticut can get maybe next April,” Kelly said. 

Lamont also says he plans on proposing a reduction in the property tax for working class families.

“I’m going to try again. I think it’s the right thing to do. I think the property tax hits the middle class really hard and we’re going to get property tax relief through this next session,” Lamont says. 

The next legislative session starts on February 9.