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House Votes to Increase Funding to Municipalities; Sends Crown Act to Senate

House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, presides over the House session on Feb. 24, 2021. CTNewsJunkie photo

The bill would provide an additional $413,791 to West Hartford through an increase in PILOT funding.

By Christine Stuart,CTNewsJunkie.com

The Connecticut House of Representatives emergency-certified three bills Wednesday. One increases funding to municipalities, changes tax penalties for commuters, and eliminates welfare liens. Another prohibits discrimination against natural Black hair styles, and the last provides tax incentives to data centers.

“We want to put a marker down in negotiations with all the parties, Republicans and Democrats and the executive branch, that PILOT is going to be really, really critical to this budget,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said Wednesday before the vote.

The bill passed 125 to 24. One Democrat, Rep. Pat Boyd, joined 23 Republican lawmakers in voting against it.

The bill would increase funding to municipalities by more than $100 million, but doesn’t say how lawmakers would pay for it because that’s part of the budget process.

Republicans struggled with the idea of lumping PILOT funding, the convenience tax, and elimination of welfare liens into one bill.

“All of them deserve our attention but are they critical to do at this time?” Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, said.

Emergency-certifying the bills means they didn’t go through the legislative process and that there’s some type of emergency happening that requires immediate attention.

Cheeseman said it’s probably appropriate to address the convenience tax so that Connecticut residents aren’t taxed twice by New York and Massahcusetts if they telecommuted during the 2020 pandemic.

“We do not want our residents who have gone through so much to be subjected to that double taxation,” Cheeseman said. “It makes perfect sense to address that now.”

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