*Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TAX DEDUCTION FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO A CITIZENS IN NEED ACCOUNT.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
Sen. Len Suzio, 13th Dist.
Sen. Art Linares, 33rd Dist.
Rep. Fred Camillo, 151st Dist.
Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, 34th Dist.
Sen. Toni Boucher, 26th Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
In an effort to assist Connecticut residents who have had their benefits from state social services programs reduced due to state budgetary constraints this proposal establishes an account to receive charitable contributions while incentivizing contributors by providing a state tax deduction at the rate of two hundred per cent of the amount contributed to said account.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Jane Bate testified in favor of S.B. 734, believing that citizens helping each other will have a positive impact on the state as a whole. Ms. Bate also believes that this bill will save the state money while reducing fraud.
Peter Brown submitted testimony in favor of S.B. 734, stating that the “fund would ostensibly be earmarked to specifically offset cuts in funding of social services.” Mr. Brown encourages support for the bill believing it will not cost the state any money to implement, and would generate adequate funds for the state's most needy citizens.
George Cameron testified in favor of S.B. 734 and encourages a similar approach in “funding private counsel for convicted inmates' habeas petitions”.
Richard DeWick submitted testimony in favor of S.B. 734, stating that it would reduce tax burdens that many citizens in Connecticut currently face while still maintaining some of the lost resources and services that have been wiped out due to budget cuts. He asks that the funds be protected from ending up in the general fund, and instead remain dedicated to their intended purpose as laid out in this proposal.
William J. Saas, Certified Public Accountant at Saas Kirwan Associates submitted testimony in favor of S.B. 734. Mr. Saas has been active for more than four decades with the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, previously as chairman of its Committee on Federal Taxation, and believes this bill will help those in need while offering tax savings to Connecticut citizens. He says that this bill offers incentives for charitable giving that has historically been absent from Connecticut's income tax statute. He states that Connecticut citizens who contribute to the fund would also be eligible to receive federal tax deductions as long as the fund account were set up under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
THE FOLLOWING ALSO EXPRESSED SUPPORT:
Lou Ann Brannan
Pasquale Del Buono
Paul & Trish Greenhalgh
Kathryn D. Kane
Scott F. Martin
Henry E. Sagnella
Robert W. West
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Lisa Celona submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 734. Ms. Celona does not agree with cutting the state budget so “that social programs or community college budgets are cut.” She believes this bill puts the function of the government onto the people. She is in favor of raised taxes to support the necessary services that make Connecticut “a place worth living in.” She does not want to see Connecticut be more like Florida and instead wants and expects “legislators to have the guts to raise taxes even if it's unpopular because it's for the greater good…and for the benefit of our economy long term.”
Jeff Shaw, Director of Public Policy at The Alliance testified in opposition to S.B. 734 noting that The Alliance cannot support the bill without significant amendments. Mr. Shaw goes on to explain that the first of these amendments should provide a 'no supplant' clause so that general fund budgets aren't reduced further because there is money in this new fund. The second amendment The Alliance would need in order to support the bill is that the 200% tax deduction would have to be made available for all legal charitable contributions; not doing so would create an unbalanced playing field harmful to nonprofits across the state. Mr. Shaw encourages no action on the bill without such amendments.
Reported by: Brad Macdowall