Jorge Cabrera

State Senator

Jorge Cabrera

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together to Solve Problems

March 2, 2021

Sen. Cabrera Votes for Passage for Various Bills, Including More State Aid for Cities and Towns and an End to Discrimination on the Basis of One’s Hair

HARTFORD – State Senator Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden) voted for the passage of a variety of bills to improve life in Connecticut, including one bill that provides millions of dollars in new, increased state aid for Connecticut cities and towns and one which provides tax incentives for data centers to assist in attracting new businesses to the state. Another piece of legislation that gained passage ends discrimination based on one’s hair. These bills now head to the governor’s desk to await his signature.

“I am proud to support all of these measures and pleased to see them advance to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk,” said Sen. Cabrera. “Regarding the proposed adjustments to how we fund PILOT, we know many across our state are hurting financially due to the pandemic and need relief. From residents and their families to entire municipalities, increasing state funding for PILOT grants will enable Connecticut taxpayers to keep more money in their pocketbooks and wallets. Another important form of relief that gained passage will end liens being placed on the property of residents on welfare. This outdated practice places yet another roadblock in the path of residents working tirelessly to get out of poverty. As we seek to strengthen our economy, a measure to provide tax incentives to data centers will help our state immensely, attracting more businesses to Connecticut. As we continue our important work to not only strengthen our economy, but be a more equitable state as well, the passage of the C.R.O.W.N. Act will ensure Black and brown women, men and children will no longer be subjected to discrimination due to how they choose to wear their hair. Hair is an integral aspect of one’s culture and should be respected and celebrated. I thank state Representative Robyn Porter and state Senator Julie Kushner for their work on this much-needed bill.”

Higher State PILOT (Payments In Lieu Of Taxes) Grants for Cities and Towns

Cities and towns lose out on collecting local property taxes when they have “non-taxable” property in town such as hospitals, airports, private universities, state-owned property and other land. For years, Connecticut has not spent enough on such PILOT grants, setting aside only about 25% of what is needed. That means cities and towns have to either increase local property taxes or cut local services to make up the difference.

In a concept that was first proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) in late January, this bill creates three tiers of municipalities for new, minimum state PILOT grants. The bill defines Tier 1 towns as having an equalized net grand list of less than $100,000 per person. Tier 2 towns have an equalized net grand list of between $100,000 and $200,000 per person, and Tier 3 towns have an equalized net grand list of more than $200,000 per person.

The state currently funds PILOT at about 25% of its full formula. Under today’s bill, Tier 1 towns would receive a minimum of 50% of their calculated state PILOT funding, Tier 2 towns 40%, and Tier 3 towns 30%. The state legislature would need to appropriate at least $143 million of additional state funding every year into the future in order to fully implement this new plan.

Tax Incentives For Data Centers

This bill increases Connecticut’s chances of becoming a leader in the creation of new data centers by waiving sales taxes for up to 30 years on data centers that invest at least $400 million in a facility in a qualified opportunity zone, or at least $200 million if the facility is located in an enterprise zone.

Such data centers would also be exempt from any financial transaction tax or fee that may be imposed by the state through trades of stocks, bonds, or other financial products. This exemption would last for 30 years from the date any new facility is completed.

Prohibiting Workplace Discrimination of Hair Styles

This bill, called the C.R.O.W.N. Act, prohibits workplace discrimination against individuals for wearing ethnic hairstyles that are historically associated with race.

The new bill notes that “race” is inclusive of traits like hair texture and protective hairstyles, which can include braids, locs and twists, which are historically associated with an individual’s race.

The bill comes as about 80% of Black women have said they feel they need to change their natural hair color to fit in at their workplace. Black women are also three times more likely to have their hairstyles called “unprofessional” compared to white women, and Black women are 50% more likely than white women to have been sent home from the workforce solely due to their hair.

Ending Placing Liens on the Homes of Welfare Recipients

According to a recent report regrading state liens on the real property of former cash assistance recipients, at least 12 states have laws authorizing or requiring the placement of liens to recover state or federal public assistance paid to a property owner. Connecticut and New York laws cover the broadest range of public assistance programs and are the only states to place liens on family cash assistance.

Such liens are often unknown to the property owner and arise only during refinancing or when the owner attempts to sell the property. These liens undo a lifetime of financial progress and make it more difficult to refinance a home, subjects vulnerable homeowners to pay higher housing costs, and often prevents older residents from retiring when they should.

This bill revokes all such liens as of July 1 and ceases the enforcement on any pending liens by that date as well.