Tax reform crucial to revitalizing state’s economy, lawmakers told

April 10, 2019 GMT

Hartford — An advocate of tax reform told lawmakers Wednesday that the state can fuel the growth it badly needs by extending the reach of its sales tax to offset proposed reductions in business taxes and the proposed elimination of gift and estate taxes.

Robert Patricelli, the retired health care executive who co-chaired the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, also urged members of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee to back a proposed STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — scholarship program that would be funded through bonding.

As proposed, the scholarship program would provide for 4,000 scholarships of up to 20 million in the first year, growing to 76 million in annual revenue. The changes would raise Connecticut’s standing in the Tax Foundation’s index of state business tax climates from 47th to 39th.

Eliminating the gift and estate taxes would cost the state about 235 million annually by extending the sales tax to 20 new items — far less than the 8.5 million surplus, which Patricelli said could help fund the state’s probate court system, whose current funding depends in part on the estate tax.