Frey and Boucher agree, state legislature will fight for deductions

The idea of restructuring Connecticut taxes to shield people from the new federal tax code’s $10,000 limit to deductions for state and local taxes — “SALT deductions” — is on Hartford’s agenda, Ridgefield’s state legislators say.

“There is a lot going on,” said state Rep. John Frey (R-111).

Frey responded to a Ridgefield Press story on First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s ideas for working around the SALT deduction changes — including Marconi’s opinion that Hartford isn’t tackling the problem.

“We are looking at it very closely,” Frey said.   

There hasn’t been much news about state efforts because the legislature is out of session, Frey said. It meets Feb. 7.

“We don’t start until next week, but there’s a lot of discussion around this,” agreed state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26).

“Everybody’s concerned about it — all of our constituents, and I’ve heard from many,” she said. “We could all be harmed by this.”

The trick is finding a solution that stands up to legal scrutiny.

“The suggestion that you could contribute to a nonprofit and be able to use this to avoid the tax may be challenged as illegal, but it is too new a concept to be tested,” Boucher said. “Another idea being discussed is a business payroll deduction. These and other proposals will certainly get attention after convening in February.”

Frey said he’s asking contacts in other high-cost-of-living states — New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts — what they’re considering.

“In addition, I have asked our non-partisan Office of Legislative Research for possible scenarios that would have the chance of successfully withstanding a court challenge,” Frey said.

Boucher wasn’t impressed with reports that governors of several states might challenge the legality of Congress’s new tax law.

“The Democratic governors got together and decided they were going to sue the government on this. The common wisdom is they have very little legal grounds to stand on,” Boucher said.

It’ll be a non-partisan effort.

“Both Toni Boucher and I serve on the Finance Committee and have been working with our caucuses and Democrat members as well as the administration on a solution,” Frey said. “It appears to be complicated, but we won’t be deterred.”