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Lamont Rejects GOP Proposals to Aid Connecticut Business Owners, Including Hold on Paid Family Leave

  • Republican state legislators propose a delay in Paid Family Medical Leave deductions, putting unused federal funds toward the depleted Unemployment Trust Fund, and other steps to assist Connecticut businesses
  • Incoming House minority leader says proposals can be put in place by executive action without legislative approval
  • Governor Ned Lamont says he’ll take a look at some of the suggestions, but is skeptical about their effectiveness

Connecticut Republicans are offering a suite of proposals to assist the state’s businesses, including delaying business property taxes and payroll deductions for a new family and medical leave program. Governor Ned Lamont was skeptical about the suggestions, saying some of them will be considered but that the payroll deductions will begin on schedule.

Rep. Vincent Candelora, the incoming minority leader in the House, says business assistance is a time-sensitive issue since the surge in COVID-19 infections could result in renewed shutdown orders and many companies face uncertainty in making it through the winter. He also noted how most of the recommendations can be enacted via executive order without legislative approval.

The proposals from the Connecticut GOP include:

  • Delaying the 0.5 percent payroll deductions for the Paid Family Medical Leave program, which are currently set to begin on Jan. 1
  • A 90-day delay on businesses’ personal property tax payments, making them due in April
  • Putting unused federal funds toward the depleted Unemployment Trust Fund
  • An extension of a policy that prevents businesses from being penalized for laying off workers during the pandemic

Lamont rejected the idea of suspending the payroll deduction, saying the pandemic has highlighted the importance of family and medical leave. The program has a one-year accrual period; employees can begin applying for benefits at the end of 2021, and the distribution of benefits begins at the start of 2022.

Lamont was also skeptical of the suggestion to the idea of contributing unused federal funds to the Unemployment Trust Fund, which was exhausted in August. The state has borrowed more than $800 million to keep the fund solvent, and this money must be repaid by employers rather than the state government.

Interest on the loans does not kick in until Jan. 1, and Candelora has also asked Connecticut’s federal representatives to seek an extension on this interest-free period. Lamont says he is also optimistic that the loans can be converted into grants.

Lamont said he would consider delaying personal property taxes for businesses, but that he would also want to consult with municipal leaders to see how this action would affect their revenues. Some towns have been independently offering to extend the deadline on their businesses’ personal property taxes.

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