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State GOP Has Big Plans for Malloy's Budget Surplus

Republican legislators want to reinstitute the sales-tax exemption for shoes and clothing under $50 and non-prescription medications.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
A day after Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy touted a purported $500 million state budget surplus, Republicans are looking to spend some of it to reinstate tax exemptions taken away in 2011.

According to the Hartford Courant's Capitol Watch blog, Republican legislators want to restore tax-free status to shoes and clothing that cost under $50 and non-prescription drugs such as over-the-counter remedies.

"The exemption was established in recognition of the fact that clothing is a basic human necessity, and no one, especially low-income families, should be burdened by a tax that would increase the price of clothing,” House Republican leader Larry Cafero said in the Courant piece Thursday.

News of the GOP's plans drew immediate fire from Democrats.

“As I’ve been saying, first and foremost we need to focus on long term debt reduction to help protect future generations of taxpayers, in particular bonds used to help offset recent deficits," Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said. "We shouldn’t be making promises and throwing out short term feel good ideas until we have a firmer grasp of our financial outlook going forward.”

“Two days ago, Republicans were denying we had a surplus.  Today, they’re laying out plans on how to spend it," said Andrew Doba, the governor's Director of Communications, in a news release. "At least they’re finally acknowledging that after making some hard choices, Connecticut’s budget is in much better shape than it was three years ago. The governor will have more to say about his own proposals in the days ahead.”

The state legislature actually has already reinstituted the clothing sales-tax tax break effective June 1, 2015, but Republicans want it back sooner — April 1 of this year.

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