Moms and Dads, you have some shopping to do before Friday.
Lawmakers, effective Friday, will not only be raising the state sales tax, but they will be taxing items that formerly were exempt.
How does this affect parents? In many ways, especially during a time when families are already struggling to keep their heads above water in an up and down economic recovery.
Specifically, clothes under $50, shoes under $50 as well, including your consignment store purchases, and over-the-counter drugs come to mind as items which will be taxed from now on. As of Friday all of these will be seeing an increase from no tax to 6.35 percent.
Governor Malloy began talking about his plan back in February and then went to many Connecticut towns to explain the plans to residents. “We’re staring down the barrel of a deficit of over $3.5 billion in each of the next 2 fiscal years,” said Malloy in his speech which was posted to his YouTube account. He reviewed his efforts to reduce government and cut back on expenses and then his plan to increase revenue by eliminating tax breaks for certain industries which will result in the consumer paying more at the cash register.
Many are calling this a “disaster” for middle class families. While President Obama wants us to spend more, Connecticut is telling us to spend less by taxing the very things families need most, clothes, shoes, and oftentimes, over the counter drugs. As a parent who likes to consider herself at least a little on the frugal side, I deliberately shop for clothes and shoes under the $50 mark. Even one of the most inexpensive options for kids clothes, consignment shops, will be taxing clothes like everyone else.
I called Kristen Formanek, the Director of Social Services in Windsor and she said, “I think it’s going to be difficult. I think it’s certainly going to place another burden on people.”
“People are not really thinking about it right now,” she said, and she supposes the tax will not hit home with parents until they start their back to school shopping in a couple of weeks, or buy their child's Allegra at CVS in ten days and see the money come directly out of their wallet.
“For people who are already struggling to put food on the table it will be worse,” she said. The Windsor Food Bank presently feeds about 1000 individuals in Windsor.
I know we are in quite a hole in Connecticut, I just wish we didn’t have to ask families to give more during this time when so many are living paycheck to paycheck, or even worse, are living on unemployment. I know it will bring in $1.5 billion dollars in revenue, but I hate to see my neighbors using even more of their hard earned money to purchase "gently used" second-hand clothes. I concede that taxing people’s yachts and hotel accommodations may be a decent revenue builder, but to tax the allergy medication my 6-year-old needs is going to get expensive.
I have to go. I need to go make my shopping list.