Based on the chatter on the talk-radio shows Tuesday morning, the finance committee's proposal to charge the 6 percent sales tax on delivery charges has captured plenty of attention.
The committee approved the measure on a party-line vote last week, but it did not immediately gain a lot of publicity. But after complaints by lobbyists on Monday and a story in The Hartford Courant on Tuesday, the issue was placed onto the legislative radar screen.
"I'm shocked that the legislature would impose a new tax on thousands of people, without a public hearing, without a fully drafted bill and without any accurate estimates of the fiscal impact,'' said Kevin Maloney, president of the Connecticut Messenger Courier Association. "We are not even sure who would be paying the new tax.''
The purpose of the bill was to send nearly $103 million to cash-strapped municipalities from a variety of sources, according to Rep. Cameron Staples, a New Haven Democrat who co-chairs the tax-writing finance committee. The bill calls for allowing cities and towns to keep 50 percent of the money raised from the state's 12 percent hotel tax, along with fully funding the statutory PILOT grants that currently provide only partial funding to cover tax-exempt hospitals and colleges, among others.
Marshall R. Collins, a Glastonbury-based lobbyist for the couriers, said he had not seen anything like the proposed delivery tax in nearly 30 years around the Capitol.
"It's just a horrible concept,'' said Collins. "This is not the best time to start dumping a new tax on anything.''
Michael Riley of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, which represents UPS, FedEx and others, said, "They're goring an ox that ought not to be gored.''