Camillo: Tax on Car Washes Was Punitive and Unproductive

Letter to the editor submitted by State Rep Fred Camillo (R-151), July 13, 2018

To the editor,

Greenwich Democrats (and my opponent this year) have attacked the Greenwich Delegation for supporting local small businesses by introducing legislation to repeal the tax on car washes.

The issue was put on our radar after  we heard from people all over the state who pleaded with us to end this punitive and unproductive tax.

The state first imposed this tax in 1989, but after three years, came to the conclusion it was not worth it and repealed it.

Anyone who follows state government knows they would not have rescinded this tax if it was working. It was found to be difficult to track and collect and the revenue was not what the tax proponents hoped for.

Then, Gov. Malloy and the Democrats, in desperate need to find more items and businesses to tax to pay for the increased spending, brought this once failed tax scheme back. This time, the small business operators told us that their revenues were down ( which means less in revenue to the state ) as getting one’s car washed is one of the services people will look to cut first when tough times hit and or it becomes more expensive, and notably so.

When you lower or eliminate taxes, you provide an economic stimulant. A case in point, Connecticut’s recent sales-tax cut on new- and used- recreational boat sales is raising the sales tide, according to the state’s watercraft dealers.

The Connecticut Marine Trades Association (CMTA), an Essex trade group, says the July 1 reduction in the tax rate on sales of boats, motors and trailers to 2.99 percent from 6.35 percent has boosted demand of late.

“Boating in Connecticut has become more affordable with the passage of this bill, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Connecticut marinas and dealers who have been losing customers and jobs to neighboring states,” CMTA Executive Director Kathleen Burns said in a statement Thursday. “Coupled with a somewhat delayed season, this past weekend really announced the opening of the season and a re-invigoration of boating in our state.”

So, in addition to being an economic step backwards, is this how the opponents of our bill like to treat our small businesses, entities that are responsible for most of our employment?  We will never survive and turn this state around if the only answer one side has is to tax anything and everything that moves. Our population decrease and moving vans should serve as a red flag and deter this type of thinking, but instead, we see a doubling down, which is both baffling and dangerous.

We, the Greenwich Delegation, will continue to fight bad tax policy and support smart, pro-growth initiatives similar to some of the GOP concepts that were included in the 2017 budget.

Things like phasing out the tax on Social Security, phasing out the tax on pensions, phasing up the Estate Tax exclusion level to match the Federal mark ( a Greenwich Delegation bill ), a spending cap, a bonding cap, and the ability now to discuss AND vote on union contract were as a result of CT GOP insistence and persistence.

While our work is far from over, these reforms, and things like repealing nuisance taxes on our residents and small businesses will continue the endeavor to make Connecticut the economic leader it was in decades past and not the place known as the state to escape from.

The tax on car washes hurts our small businesses, residents, and in the end, our state.

See also:

Letter: Greenwich Republicans Push for Tax Break for their Friends