Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

May 11, 2023

Senator Gaston Supports Senate Passage of Legislation to Study the Potential Repeal of the Motor Vehicle Property Tax

Today, State Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) is applauding Senate’s passage of legislation seeking to study the impacts of a potential repeal of the state’s motor vehicle property tax. The bill, which passed with a unanimous vote, would establish a task force which would study potential impacts and effects of a repeal of that tax. This bill seeks to pursue better and more equitable approaches to taxation and wishes to provide relief to taxpayers.

“I fully support this task force and commend my colleague Senator Rahman for bringing out this idea of having a team of voices that will introduce a list of recommendations,” said Sen. Gaston. “Bridgeport is one of the largest municipalities in this state and one of the greatest concerns I’ve heard from many low-income residents is inequality and disparity. Folks want this car tax eliminated. It impacts so many with fixed incomes and I hope this task force is able to recommend solutions that will alleviate financial struggles that families are facing.”

Senate Bill 497, “An Act Eliminating The Property Tax On Motor Vehicles And Establishing The Motor Vehicle Property Tax Revenue Replacement Account,” would establish a task force to study the feasibility of repealing the motor vehicle property tax and what options are available to replace resulting lost municipal revenue. The task force will look at how such a decision would impact municipal budgets and review possibilities that could replace lost revenue. Some possibilities listed in the legislation include 8% annual taxes on the total amount of premiums insurance companies earn from policies including automotive and homeowner’s insurance; additional funding mechanisms will be considered in the task force’s work.

The task force would include representatives of tax reform organizations, organizations supporting residents ages 50+, municipal leaders, insurance carrier officials, the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, the Commissioner of Revenue Services and members of the Planning and Development and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees. The task force would report its findings by the end of January 2024.

Sen. Rahman proposed this legislation out of a desire to find improvements for residents struggling under high costs. The motor vehicle tax is regressive in locale and can add to high costs of vehicle ownership, putting additional pressure on taxpayers. As one example, due to local property taxes and mill rates differing significantly between different communities, a vehicle owner in Hartford can pay more than three times what a vehicle owner in Greenwich can pay each year.

Economically distressed municipalities are directly vulnerable to the motor vehicle tax’s financial burdens, noting that the most vulnerable residents in his community struggle with its costs amid other significant issues. Testimony from state residents in support of the bill cited its possibility to provide financial relief amid rising inflation.

Senate Bill 497 now heads to the House for further consideration.