In Legislature, time’s running out for adoption of fiscal panel’s recommendations

From The Day.

With just three weeks left in the legislative session, proponents of a plan for stabilizing the state’s economy say down-to-the-wire budget deliberations will include further consideration of some of their recommendations.

But it would appear tax reform is unlikely to move forward.

In a meeting Tuesday with The Day’s editorial board, Robert Patricelli, co-chairman of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, said commission members were in “active discussions” with a number of legislative committees.

“We’ll know (the outcome of those discussions) by the end of the week,” he said. “What we need right now are champions.”

Patricelli, a retired health care executive, and Patricia Widlitz, the commission’s vice chairwoman and a former Democratic state representative, swung through the region Tuesday, presenting the commission’s final report during a breakfast meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut at The Spa at Norwich Inn before traveling to New London.

Created by the legislature a year ago and appointed in December, the 14-member commission delivered a “Plan for Connecticut” in just 11 weeks.

Its “pro-growth, revenue-neutral” overhaul of state taxes would cut the income tax rate in every bracket over three years, saving $2.1 billion a year. That would be combined with an increase in the sales tax from 6.35 to 7.24 percent, the imposition of a 0.8 percent tax on corporate payrolls and the elimination of estate and gift taxes and the Business Enterprise Tax.

The commission also recommends raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

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