Senator Kane and Representative Williams Appeal to Governor on Behalf of Watertown [Waterbury Rep-Am]

March 10, 2011

By Sam Cooper
Waterbury Republican-American
Story as it appeared in the Waterbury Republican-American on March 10, 2011

WATERTOWN — Legislative leaders on Wednesday appealed to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to reconsider a proposed cut in state funding.

Rep. Sean J. Williams, R-Watertown, and state Sen. Robert J. Kane, R-Watertown, sent a letter to the governor explaining how seriously his proposals would hurt their constituency. The $47 million MME program gives manufacturers a pass on local property taxes for qualifying equipment.

A portion of the money which would have been collected is then reimbursed to towns and cities by the state.

“This proposal disproportionately affects Watertown due to our town’s emphasis on manufacturing,” Kane and Williams wrote.

“Watertown taxpayers and businesses will suffer as a result. We agree that there are sacrifices to be made by all in order to get our financial house in order. However, we firmly believe that this proposed cut would hurt our manufacturing community substantially.”

The politicians made their plea on Watertown’s behalf, but other towns, including Thomaston, would benefit if the program were maintained. In Thomaston, should the PILOT program end, Thomaston will have a $331,338 hole to fill its budget. First Selectman Ed Mone said last week that taxes could climbs 26.98 mills to 276.54 mills

Factories would continue to get tax incentives from the program. In Thomaston, manufacturers such as Rexam Cosmetic Packaging, which added $4 million in new equipment in the past year, would qualify, for example.

In Watertown, officials have not named specific numbers as a result of losing the program, but that and other factors have them looking at a 4.75 mill increase.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has urged town officials statewide to protest the change.

Kane said the Department of Office of Policy and Management is reviewing ways to mitigate the impact of eliminating the program. He said the governor’s budget proposals will allow towns to collect additional taxes on select items, including 0.1 percent cut of local sales tax, but that would fall far short of what the town is losing.

“Their answer is short-sighted in my mind,” Kane said. “Those are all small, small little items, which can’t nearly equate to what some of my towns get from the MME.”