HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After a full week of blow-back on guidelines from the tax department that included expanding the boosted ‘prepared meals tax‘ to dozens of items in the supermarket that had never been taxed before, Governor Ned Lamont pushed for the revised guidelines.
The governor says his requested revisions will only impose the new 7.35% rate on prepared take-out foods at the supermarket that are already taxed and have been for the past 17 years.
“We told them; narrowly interpret that. Let’s get this going. Nobody’s going to be paying this extra tax,” said Lamont.
Noting that major supermarkets have about 50,000 different items on their shelves, the association that represents about 300 of the state’s nearly 400 grocery stores, is asking the Governor to delay the start of the new tax rate for at least a couple of weeks because eleven days just isn’t enough time to change all those computer pricing codes.
The Connecticut Food Association‘s Wayne Pesce saying, “We want to make sure we get it right and to get it right we need the time to make sure that we’re charging the right amount.”
Lamont insists that it was never the intent of the Democratic Leadership in the Assembly or his budget negotiators, to expand the tax to previously untaxed items adding, “Our intent was clear. I think the legislature’s intent was clear as well. We’re just going to have a penny tax on those items that otherwise are being taxed.”
Pesce added, “For us it’s really about two things; it’s about compliance with the law and it’s about transparency for customers.”
That compliance part is very important to avoid any future penalties for the supermarkets. The Republican leader in the Senate, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) says grocers must have assurance from the tax department that this won’t change and the only way to assure that is to have the legislature change the language in the law, if not now, then in next year’s session.