On Friday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sent a letter to town leaders reaffirming his commitment to providing middleclass tax relief to Connecticut’s working families.
The letter detailed what Malloy called "misconceptions" about his biennial budget, including the controversial elimination of most car taxes.
"Connecticut is making hard decisions and setting priorities in order to live within its means," the letter reads.
The following is reaction to the letter by Durham First Selectman Laura Francis and Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw:
"I believe the Governor has a genuine desire to keep funding to municipalities level. However, there are measures in his proposed budget that appear to be reductions. CCM, COST and our legislators are assisting me and our staff to determine exactly what impact this budget will have, not only to the Town of Durham, but to RSD13," Francis said.
"Since the car tax makes up about 7 percent of our (Middlefield/Rockfall) Grand List, the loss of that 7 percent is a real loss and must be made up in the town's tax levy on homes and business, since we have no other source of funds to make up that loss and unlike the Federal Government we do not own a printing press and unlike the state government we can not borrow, borrow, borrow money to buy cookies for voters," Brayshaw said.
In addition, Brayshaw said the budget would have an unintended consequence on volunteer emergency responders.
"[Middlefield] depends on offering a $1,000 yearly tax abatement to our volunteer firemen as an incentive for their services. When a firefighter has an old car and does not own a house, the $1,000 is of no value to the person. The incentive has been removed, resulting in fewer volunteer firemen."
Brayshaw said the elimination of the car tax would likely only reduce the town's tax collector's hours by a few hours each year but agreed that the tax was unpopular among residents.