Car tax bills delayed due to state budget woes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Car tax bills delayed due to state budget woes

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Delays with the state budget are impacting car tax bills (WFSB) Delays with the state budget are impacting car tax bills (WFSB)

It's the time of the year for car taxes to be mailed out, but folks in many parts of the state aren't getting them.

That’s because of delays with the state budget are once again trickling down to the local level, affecting taxpayers.

This problem stems from efforts to save taxpayers money.

In the past year, lawmakers capped the maximum mill rate used to figure out your car tax bill.

For cities and towns that previously relied on those "higher" mill rates, the state promised to "reimburse" the difference.

Now, because of the budget woes, those promises might not be kept.

When tax bills went out last summer in Bloomfield, the mill rate for cars was 36.65. That means if you owned a car valued at $3,450, you paid $126.

Under the new law, the maximum mill rate statewide for this year is 32, meaning the bill for the same car would be $110.

All good in theory, but not in practice.

That's because towns relied on the money that came from the higher mill rates. The state initially promised to reimburse them for the difference.

“It was supposed to be $600,000,” said Bloomfield Finance Director Jim Wren.

But now, Wren said the commitment of state reimbursement isn't as strong as before.

“Our tax bill is now down to 32, we're now not getting that $600,000, so we're starting the fiscal year with a $600,000 hole in the budget,” Wren said.

That trickles down to taxpayers because the town will have to recoup that money some way, somehow.

But because of ongoing delays on the state level, towns can't start planning without firm numbers.

Wren says he's even hearing the state may walk back the promises of lower mill rates altogether.

“The three options are to keep the 32 mills and possibly give us the $600,000. To raise the cap to 37 mills and give us no reimbursement or to eliminate the cap entirely and give us no reimbursement,” Wren said.

That's why many drivers statewide haven't received their bills yet.

A note explaining taxes won't be due next month was found in Torrington.

West Hartford is also waiting as long as they can before sending out its bill because they say there's no way to project, at this time, how much of the burden will need to be passed on to taxpayers.

“We don't know if the state is going to cut us by $25 million, $12 million or keep us even. We have no idea,” said West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle.

Residents say the delay is affecting their plans for the rest of the year.

In Bloomfield, with pending projects needing funds, they can't afford to wait.

They're sending out bills with the 32 mill rate this week, but with this note, that informs another bill could be coming later depending on how the state budget goes.

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