Planning and Development Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6675

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING A MUNICIPAL OPTION FOR PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENTS FOR ARTS AND CULTURE.

Vote Date:

3/24/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/15/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Committee on Planning & Development

Co-Sponsor:

Representative Eric C. Berthel, (68th Dist.)

REASONS FOR BILL:

HB 6675 would allow municipalities to exempt up to 100% of property taxes for any venue that facilitates art and/or cultural activities. This would include art galleries, art studios, installation galleries, movie theaters, performance arts venues, and any other retailers catering to or relating to the arts.

Substitute language:

Removes movie theatres

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None Expressed

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Representative Eric C. Berthel, (68th Dist.):

Representative Berthel is in support of HB 6675. He feels that the arts are an important part of our cultural and economic footprint in CT. Representative Berthel points out that we have all heard that businesses are being forced to move out of state or close entirely. The Representative Berthel asks the committee to consider these points when voting on this legislation.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Betsy Gara, CT Council of Small Towns, (COST):

COST is opposed to HB 6675, which would create a local option property tax abatement for for-profit arts and cultural enterprises. This would include movie theaters, art galleries, and studios, retail stores, and restaurants catering or relating to the arts.

COST mentions a report from the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) in assessing the impact of a similar measure approved last session that points to the fact that a grand list reduction results in a revenue loss, given a constant mill rate.

COST points out that under current law nonprofit organizations are already exempt from paying property taxes on arts and cultural facilities provided those facilities are used for “scientific, educational, literacy, historical, or charitable purposes. COST feels that this appropriately supports the arts and other cultural activities without putting undue pressure on municipalities.

COST also mentions that given the state of finances in CT and the fiscal challenges that municipalities are already facing, the state should refrain from mandating additional property tax exemptions which will shift even more of the tax burden onto the backs of homeowners and small business, and undermine town's ability to provide critical programs and services to residents.

Reported by: Robert G Forrest

Date: 04/05/2017