March 16, 2011
REP. FLEXER WANTS TAX DEADLINES
EXTENDED WHEN MAJOR STORMS OCCUR
The legislature’s Planning and Development Committee held a public hearing today on legislation that State Representative Mae Flexer (D-Killingly, Plainfield, Sterling) requested that would extend the payment deadline for property taxes if the taxes are due during a major storm, like last year’s Tropical Storm Irene.
State Rep. Mae Flexer with John Filchak, NECCOG’s Executive Director at the
State Capitol for a public hearing on Flexer’s bill to extend the payment deadline for property
taxes if the taxes are due during a major storm, like last year’s Tropical Storm Irene.
“During Irene towns had two choices—force folks who had no power and water, who may not even have had access to their banking or tax information to pay taxes or violate state law and extend the deadline,” said Rep. Flexer.
Flexer’s legislation (HB 5493) would allow property owners from having to pay property taxes if the taxes are due during a declared a state of emergency. Municipalities could extend tax deadlines up to five business days following the day on which the Governor proclaims the end of the civil preparedness emergency.
“Several of our towns [during Tropical Storm Irene] were essentially shut down for days and parts were not functional for more than a week. The focus of our towns, as it should be, during these events was on the health and welfare of its residents. Tax payments, despite the statutory requirements—were not a priority,” said John Filchak, the Executive Director of the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (NECCOG), testifying in support of the bill.
Flexer, a member of Planning and Development Committee, said she is pushing for this change after seeing the hardships faced by towns in Northeastern Connecticut that were especially hard hit after by Irene.
“I represent Sterling which was the last town to have power restored after Irene. Municipal officials were focused on getting power restored, and food and drinking water to residents,” said Rep. Flexer. “The town did not want to force residents to pay taxes at a time like that, but they felt like they had no choice.”
Currently state law does not allow towns to extend the deadline for property taxes without having their legislative body vote on the extension. In many communities in Northeastern Connecticut, including Killingly and Sterling, the legislative body is a town meeting.
“Our tax collector was outside collecting taxes during the outage. I appreciate that she did her part, but it would have been nice if they didn’t have to do it,” said Russell Gray, Sterling’s First Selectman.