Hartford — The lead advocate for Connecticut's 169 municipalities is urging candidates for state and national office to consider its new plan for reducing "overreliance" on local property taxes to fund services, particularly education.
Jim Finley, chief executive officer of he Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said Monday that its campaign of radio, print and Internet advertisements could kick off as early as next week bearing a message for candidates that the state's "overdependence on the property tax is unsustainable."
Connecticut, at 1.7 percent, ranks eighth in the nation in property taxes paid as a percentage of median home value, according to state Office of Policy and Management data. Finley called the property tax the most regressive in the state, as it doesn't adjust for a resident's income level or a business's profitability.
CCM's five-point plan calls for expanding the new revenue-sharing arrangements that began last year and allows cities and towns to get some revenues from state sales and real estate tax increases.
Finley said these arrangements provide towns and cities with another stream of revenue beyond property taxes.
CCM also calls for more state funding for education as well as for "payments in lieu of taxes" programs, including state payments that are supposed to offset a portion of lost local revenues from state-mandated tax exemptions on private colleges and hospital property.
Additionally, CCM would like to see more local mandate relief and more state incentives for regionalization that could improve efficiency while cutting costs.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's spokesman said the governor agrees that local property taxes are a big issue for many residents, and believes state government must continue to look at ways to ease this burden without hurting services.
"He's especially proud that he and Democrats who supported his budget have been able to increase funding for local education and maintain overall aid to cities and towns," Malloy's spokesman, Andrew Doba, said in a statement. "If you look around the country, most states aren't doing that."