Senate and House Democrats Call for Senior Tax Relief
Senate and House Democratic leaders, legislators and advocates held a press conference today to call for senior tax relief by exempting Social Security income from the state income tax.
The General Assembly’s Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee will hold a public hearing tomorrow to consider several proposed bills on the topic including Senate Bill 6, An Act Exempting Social Security Income from the Personal Income Tax, and House Bill 5587, An Act Concerning a Tax Exemption for Seniors’ Social Security Benefits.
“Exempting Social Security income from the state income tax could save Connecticut’s seniors up to $45 million a year,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “Providing seniors with increased financial security will help them remain in their homes and generate economic activity.”
“Last year we passed the major bill on innovation and entrepreneurship to stimulate our economy, to build start-ups to grow more companies, and to take advantage of the great universities and colleges we have in this state to help build an economy that is strong for Connecticut in terms of innovation and technology and this is part of that,” said Finance Chairman Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford). “It’s just not a political decision, it’s a smart policy to make Connecticut more attractive and sometimes that means spending money in areas, in this instance; it means not taxing a certain population of our state. It’s important they stay in Connecticut.”
“Connecticut is a great place to live, work and raise a family, so it should also be a great place to retire and enjoy the culture and quality of life we are known for,” Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington) said. “How we treat our seniors says a lot about us as a society, and we should do what we can to help them better afford to stay where they wish.”
“As our state’s population ages, this legislation will make it easier for seniors to continue to live in Connecticut, be near their families and stay in the state that they know and love,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “Connecticut already offers a high quality of life for seniors. Passing this legislation will send a strong message that Connecticut is the right place to retire and enjoy your golden years.”
“Connecticut should stop taxing Social Security income for seniors,” House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) said. “We are one of only 13 states that tax Social Security benefits—let’s make it 12.”
Connecticut is one of 13 states that impose some form of state tax on Social Security income. Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia also tax Social Security benefits.
“We need to give our senior citizens a break,” said Rep. Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford), who is Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee co-chair. “Most states do not tax a person’s Social Security benefits, and this bill would give our seniors the help they deserve in retirement. It would help them to be able to stay in Connecticut instead of moving to other states, such as Florida, where Social Security is not taxed and property taxes are often much lower.”
“AARP is interested in exploring any and all proposals that make Connecticut a more friendly place to live and retire independently,” said AARP State Director Nora Duncan. “This is a popular proposal that would impact many positively, and it should be a part of the larger budget considerations, along with support for important programs that help vulnerable seniors age-in-place.”
Over the last several years, Democrats in the General Assembly have led passage a number of laws making Connecticut a great place for seniors to live.
In 2015 the General Assembly passed the CARE Act to require hospitals to provide instruction and support to home caregivers when their loved ones are released from the hospital, thus promoting aging in place by improving care transitions and preventing costly hospital readmissions. In 2016, Connecticut became the first state to expand the CARE Act to patients leaving nursing homes.
In 2015, Democrats successfully led the effort to combat the financial exploitation of Connecticut seniors through the passage into law of SB 1005, AA Protecting Elderly Consumers from Exploitation. This legislation—which received unanimous bipartisan support in both chambers—provides greater protections for our seniors against financial abuse.
Additionally, Democrats led passage of legislation protecting seniors from vague nursing home contracts. The law requires that nursing homes clearly inform residents and their families of the duties, responsibilities and liabilities placed upon them under the residency contract. Misunderstanding the contract can lead to unpaid bills and significant legal or financial ramifications.