OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE FAILURE TO FILE FOR CERTAIN TAX EXEMPTIONS, THE EXTENSION OF CERTAIN TAX CREDITS AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, AND EXEMPTIONS FROM CERTAIN FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND ADMISSIONS TAX REQUIREMENTS
This bill exempts:
1. from the admissions tax Atlantic League professional baseball games played at Bridgeport's Harbor Yard Ballpark from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017 (§ 8) and
2. state economic development funds for a West Haven project from the law requiring legislative approval, when the total amount of such funds for an economic development project exceeds $10 million (§ 7).
Lastly, the bill extends the statutory deadlines for:
1. Bridgeport's Steel Point Special Taxing District to obtain state funds and issue bonds to finance infrastructure improvements (§§ 5-6),
2. taxpayers in specified towns to file claims for certain property tax exemptions (§§ 1-3), and
3. municipalities participating in the Land Value Taxation Pilot Program to submit implementation plans to specified legislative committees (§ 4).
EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except that the admissions tax exemption and Steel Point deadline extensions take effect July 1, 2015.
§ 7 — WEST HAVEN MIXED USE PROJECT
The bill exempts state economic development financial assistance for a West Haven mixed-use project from the law requiring legislative approval for such assistance above a specified threshold. The project must be located south of the New England Thruway and east of First Avenue and have at least 200,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space.
By law, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CII) must obtain such approval for assistance totaling over $10 million in two years for economic development projects (CGS § 32-462(b)). The bill exempts from this requirement economic development assistance for constructing the project's infrastructure.
§§ 5-6 — STEEL POINT SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICT
The bill gives Bridgeport's Steel Point Special Taxing District five additional years to obtain funds for making public improvements. It extends, from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2020, the deadline by which DECD and CII may provide up to $40 million in financial assistance under their existing programs to develop and improve property in Bridgeport.
The bill also gives the district more time to issue its own bonds for these purposes before Bridgeport's city council may vote to merge the district with the city. Current law allows the council to do so if the district fails to issue bonds by July 1, 2015. The bill extends this deadline to July 1, 2020.
§§ 1-3 — FILING DEADLINES FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS
Machinery and Equipment Tax Exemption
By law, taxpayers that are eligible for the statutory property tax exemption for machinery and equipment used for manufacturing, biotechnology, or recycling must file annually for these exemptions by November 1. The bill allows taxpayers in Durham and Windsor to claim this machinery and equipment exemption on the October 1, 2014 grand list even though they missed the mandatory November 1, 2014 filing deadline (CGS § 12-81(72)).
The bill waives this deadline if the taxpayers file for the exemption within 30 days after the bill's passage and pay the statutory late fee. In each case, the local tax assessor must verify the taxpayers' eligibility for the exemption and approve it, and the town must refund any taxes paid on the machinery and equipment. (Property on the October 1, 2014 grand list is taxed during FY 16.)
Nonprofit Property Tax Exemption
By law, property owners eligible for the statutory property tax exemption for land and buildings owned by nonprofit organizations must file quadrennially for this exemption by November 1. The bill allows a nonprofit organization in North Branford to claim the exemption for property on the 2013 grand list even though it missed this statutory filing deadline.
The nonprofit must file for the exemption within 30 days of the bill's passage and pay the statutory late fee. The town's assessor must verify the organization's eligibility and approve the exemption. The town must refund any taxes, interest, and penalties paid on the property.
§ 4 — LAND VALUE TAXATION PILOT PROGRAM
The bill gives municipalities more time to comply with one of the procedural requirements for participating in the Land Value Taxation Pilot Program, under which they can tax land at a higher rate than buildings instead of taxing both at the same rate.
Municipalities that want to impose the higher land tax may do so only by participating in the pilot program. They must apply to the Office of Policy and Management, which may accept up to three municipalities into the program. These municipalities must prepare plans for assessing the tax and submit them to their legislative bodies for approval. They must also submit the approved plans to the Commerce; Planning and Development; and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees. The bill extends, from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015, the deadline for submitting the plans to these committees.
Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
Joint Favorable Substitute