Nickel and dime taxes
The General Assembly, led by the Democratic majority, has once again shown it is not above nickel-and-diming Connecticut residents in its never-ending quest to tax and spend. On Oct. 1, the taxes on food go up from 6.35 percent to 7.35. On the face of it, this does not seem to be a significant change. However, Republican Sen. Rob Sampson (R-16) has pointed out a few salient facts.
The tax was billed as a “slight increase” in the food tax, imposed by the General Assembly to fill the budget gaps of its own making. The one thing the leaders of the Democratic majority failed to announce (no Republicans voted for the tax increase), is that the list of items has been expanded. The result is a tax increase well beyond what was advertised. We are not surprised.
The interesting thing in this new increase is the “regressive” nature of it. While the Democratic majority is always quick to point out we must help the poorest among us, and that spending is meant to fund safety nets, taxes such as the grocery tax hurt the poorest. Any sales tax hurts the consumers, and among them the poor. Under the new tax, ready-to-consume meals will be taxed whether purchased at a restaurant or kiosk, or in a grocery store.
Here are the details as provided by Sen. Sampson:
The tax applies to prepared and ready-to-consume foods sold at restaurants AND grocery stores. The 7.35% tax will apply to not only prepared meals such as sandwiches, deli salads, pizza and hot buffet items, but also containers of lettuce, small packages of snacks, loose baked goods, wrapped salads, small servings of ice cream, and meal replacement bars. It also applies to fountain drinks including coffee and any beverage sold with a taxable “meal.”
Examples of Taxable “Meals” (taxed at 7.35% in eating establishments AND grocery stores): sandwiches, grinders, and wraps; Popsicles, ice cream cones, cups, sundaes, and other individual servings of frozen desserts unless sold in factory prepackaged multi-unit packs; ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts sold in containers of less than one pint; Salads sold at salad bars, and other such items.
Examples of Taxable Drinks (taxed at 7.35% in eating establishments AND grocery stores): beer, including nonalcoholic beer; fruit juices, sweetened beverages, soft drinks, and soda; carbonated water; coffee or tea (ready to consume, hot or iced); distilled alcohol such as brandy, rum, whiskey, gin, vodka, and tequila; fountain drinks of any kind; hard cider; Kombucha tea, and other naturally carbonated beverages; malt liquor; milkshakes; hot chocolate; syrup-flavored crushed ice drinks; wine.
The point is, Connecticut’s economy is stagnant at a time when most other states are doing well. The culprit, as with those states such as Illinois, California, New Jersey and New York, are the taxes and business climate. There are weekly stories about billions of dollars leaving the state over the last several years because of the oppressive tax rate. We remember when the income tax was supposed to right all our wrongs and balance our books. But politicians are only to happy to spend us into newer debt and newer spending, ostensibly saying it is for the badly off. Taxes such as this grocery tax put the lie to the statement.
We get what we deserve when we continually put spenders into the statehouse, and the Democratic majority has been ensconced there for years. With a dwindling population, we see that the leaders are interested in keeping the status quo by finding new and more regressive ways to tax. They aren’t for the poor. They are for power.
To see the full policy statement from the Department of Revenue Services visit: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DRS/Publications/pubsps/2019/PS-2019%285%29.pdf?la=en.