HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Starting Oct. 1, shoppers should get ready to pay more at the grocery store.

Many food items that were not taxed before will be by next month. Also, folks will be paying a little more when dining out as well.

The restaurant tax is going from 6.35 percent to 7.35 percent.

While it’s a 1 percent increase, the higher prices could make a difference for some.

"We hope this doesn't affect the businesses. As a small business owner we are a little concerned about this situation you know because we feel we could potentially lose customers,” said George Orellana, a restaurant owner.

Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget includes increasing some taxes and creating some new ones.

Originally, Lamont's plan was to tax pretty much all grocery items. However, he then agreed to scale back on that after heavy opposition, but some feel this is still too far.

"Is it about healthy eating? No, because we are going to taxing people who want to eat salads. What this is about is another money grab in the state of Connecticut," said Republican State Rep. Vinnie Canderlora. 

Right now, many prepared meals at the grocery store are not taxed, and neither are hot buffets or salad bars, but that’s about to change with the increase as well.

Democrats say if Republicans had a better plan to fix the budget deficit, where is it.

"I am still waiting for the Republican budget. They have not put out a budget at all," said Democratic State Senator Cathy Osten.

"We held the line on spending. They left me a budget with $3.7 billion out of whack, and we solved the budget without raising tax rates," Lamont said.

The governor's staff said the extra revenue will generate more than $65 million a year, and that other states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts and 13 others have similar taxes.

"I don't think it will make or break me for $1. I really don't. I am still going to go out, it’s a nice break and I don't have to cook,” said Debbie Valentine, of Glastonbury.

"I heard about that. I am not too happy about that. We are getting taxed on everything so it's crazy healthy food too, it's kind of obscene,” said Travis Wilber, of East Hartford.

Healthy or not, the taxes take effect in two weeks, and it's causing a lot of confusion for grocery stores on what's in and what's out.

The Department of Revenue Services broke down specifics of what’s included in the tax increase.

Taxable meals include:

  • All food and beverages sold for human consumption at the seller’s location; and
  • Food products ordinarily sold in such form and portions that are ready for immediate consumption at or near the location of the seller. This includes prepared foods, prepackaged foods, hot foods, and foods heated on the premises for the purchaser.
  • A meal may be a full dinner or it may be a single item. Meals are subject to sales and use taxes whether they are served at the location of the seller, delivered to the purchaser’s location, or sold on a takeout basis.

Examples of Taxable Meals: Food for immediate consumption constituting taxable meals includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sandwiches, grinders, and wraps
  • Popsicles, ice cream cones, cups, sundaes, and other individual servings of frozen desserts unless sold in factory prepackaged multi-unit packs
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts sold in containers of less than one pint
  • Salads sold at salad bars
  • Lettuce or greens-based salads sold in containers of 8 ounces or less
  • Salads that are not greens-based (macaroni, potato, pasta, fruit, etc.) sold in containers of 8 ounces or less
  • Donuts, muffins, rolls, bagels, and pastries (5 or fewer)
  • Cookies sold loose (5 or fewer when cookies are sold by quantity, or less than 8 ounces when cookies are sold by weight)
  • Pies or cakes by the slice
  • Prepackaged or factory-sealed bags or packages of 5 ounces or less of chips, popcorn, kettle corn, nuts, trail mix, crackers, cookies, snack cakes, or other snack foods, unless sold in factory prepackaged multi-unit packs
  • Pizza, whole or by the slice
  • Cooked chicken sold by the piece, including buckets of chicken, and whole cooked chickens
  • Cooked ribs sold by the piece or portion and whole racks of ribs
  • Hot dogs served on a bun or heated
  • Bagels that are individually prepared
  • Soup sold in containers of 8 ounces or less, unless sold in factory prepackaged units
  • Smoothies
  • Meal replacement bars
  • All beverages provided with the sale of a taxable meal
  • Food sold at a hot buffet
  • Food that is cooked to order
  • Popcorn, kettle corn, nuts and any other snack foods that are kept warm for purchase
  • Items such as salads, side dishes, and rolls, when sold as part of family pack meals typically including, whole chickens or buckets of chicken, when prepared and sold for immediate consumption, even when the items exceed the weight or quantity limits specified above.

Taxable Drinks:

  • Beer, including nonalcoholic beer
  • Fruit juices, sweetened beverages, soft drinks, and soda
  • Carbonated water
  • Coffee or tea (ready to consume, hot or iced)
  • Distilled alcohol such as brandy, rum, whiskey, gin, vodka, and tequila
  • Fountain drinks of any kind
  • Hard cider
  • Kombucha tea, and other naturally carbonated beverages
  • Malt liquor
  • Milkshakes
  • Hot chocolate
  • Syrup-flavored crushed ice drinks
  • Wine

Read the full policy statement here.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(3) comments


Why not outlaw tipping? The business raises prices, sales/restaurant tax is added, the server gets paid a reasonable wage and pays income tax on it. Should easily raise $65 million.


[thumbdown] How can you tax food. This is going to have a really bad effect ob every aspect. The servers tips, going out to eat etc. A lot more people are going to leave Connecticut. WHat about the people on SNAP. Every dollar counts for low income. I say if you are doing that then a CT tax payer on SSI should be allowed to file a CT tax return and take off all the taxes they have to pay. That means property tax, mortgage points, food taxes, clothing tax, whatever is taxed in CT. That way the full amount of SSI money is used for survival. People try living on 700 a month. The elderly are already eating cat food. I am sorry to say this but the elderly, disabled and middle class families take another shot. As soon as I can I am leaving too. I was born and raised in CT. I love it here but I have no choice and am being forced out. So sad..


This is not how you stem the outward flow of your taxpayers.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.