Sales Tax Free Week, Free School Meals Expansion, and Investing in Education

August 11, 2023

Below you will learn how you can save on back-to-school supplies for Connecticut's sales tax free week, how much additional SNAP benefits are coming to support children, how the state is expanding the free school meals program, how the community celebrated a submarine's incredible mission 65 years ago, and much more!

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We held an informative and congenial End of Session Wrap-Up last week to break down our accomplishments from the legislative session. Representative Anthony Nolan, Representative Christine Conley, and I outlined how our work is going to affect Southeastern Connecticut. We all enjoyed meeting constituents, answering their questions, and listening to their ideas.
There was an incredible celebration for the 65th Anniversary of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) honoring its completion of Operation Sunshine, the first submerged transit under the North Pole. 

On August 1, 1958, the USS Nautilus submerged in the Barrow Sea Valley, pioneering under ice navigation and operations and transiting beneath the geographic North Pole on August 3. After running submerged an additional 96 hours, Nautilus surfaced off Greenland on August 7.

It was very moving to see the crew members from that historic voyage who earned the moniker of PANOPO (Pacific to the Atlantic via the North Pole).

I visited Groton-New London Airport operated by Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA). We heard from fixed base operator Modern Aviation and learned how the airport is preparing for 20 inch sea level by 2050.
The site encompasses more than 700 acres and sees a steady stream of traffic given our unique location along the shore line. I enjoyed learning about this important link in our transportation network and thank CAA for their time.
My wife, Kayla, and I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday at the 71st Annual Stonington Village Fair and Twin Lobster Dinner at the Stonington Borough Fire Department.
We then grabbed some books at the Stonington Free Library stand. Thank you to the organizers from the Fire Department and the Village Fair!
What a great crowd on a gorgeous day at Groton City Day! Thank you to the city staff and volunteers for making this event possible!
The Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS), in consultation with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), announced that $8.8 million in special food assistance benefits is scheduled to be distributed Sunday, August 13, 2023, to the families of 57,313 children under age 6 who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Specific information about the August 13 distribution: 

  • Benefits will be deposited onto existing SNAP EBT cards on August 13 to more than 42,635 households (57,313 eligible children) who were under age 6 and receiving SNAP benefits from DSS between September 1, 2022, and May 11, 2023.
  • The one-time additional benefit is $172.72 per child who received SNAP benefits for the entire covered period.
  • Children who did not receive SNAP benefits for the entire covered period will receive a lower, pro-rated amount of P-EBT benefits.
  • Families do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits, all eligible families will automatically receive additional benefits. 
Benefits can be used at any location that accepts SNAP/EBT cards, including farmers' markets and direct market farms. P-EBT participants also have access to eligible food purchases online through delivery or curbside pickup at participating retailers. Additional information is available here.

All children up to 5 years old receiving SNAP benefits are also eligible for FREE Head Start/Early Head Start programming that develops early learning skills, healthy lifestyles, language skills, and literacy skills. Click here to learn more and apply.

Connecticut's 2023 Sales Tax Free Week begins on Sunday, August 20 and runs through Saturday, August 26. This is a great opportunity to take the kids back-to-school shopping or to treat yourself or your loved ones while saving money.
Many retailers in Connecticut offer additional discounts on clothing and footwear during Sales Tax Free Week, providing consumers with even more savings.
During this sales tax holiday, most clothing and footwear items priced under $100 are exempt from the Connecticut sales tax. The exemption during Sales Tax Free Week applies to each eligible item costing under $100, regardless of how many of those items are sold to a customer in the same transaction. The tax holiday applies to purchases made in-store, online, mail-order, and over the phone.

More information about Connecticut’s Sales Tax Holiday, including a list of exempt and taxable items, is available on the Department of Revenue Services website.

We made historic investments in education with millions of additional dollars allocated in the budget and a number of legislative measures that enhance Connecticut’s educational system. Click below for more information:
New Laws Affecting Education
I will continue to support education as one of the most cost-effective investments we can make for the future of our state.
Hunger and the stigma of not being able to afford school meals is one of the biggest hurdles to learning. That is why I am pleased to report that Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker announced plans to expand Connecticut’s free school meals program for the 2023-2024 school year, enabling more students to receive access to nutritious breakfast and lunch at no additional cost to them or their families.
Under the plan, the state will invest $16 million in federal funding into the program. Funds will be utilized to support the provision of meals at no cost. Click on the button below to learn more.
Free School Meals Program Press Release
Groton Public Schools are offering free breakfast and lunch for all children ages 18 and younger on weekdays from now through August 11 at the following locations:

Groton Public Library - 52 Newtown Road
Breakfast: 9:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.
Lunch: 11:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Anchors Landing - 124 Gungywamp Road
Breakfast: 9:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.
Lunch: 11:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Branford Manor - 37 Mather Ave.
Breakfast: 9:15 A.M. - 9:45 A.M.
Lunch: 11:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.
Dolphin Splash Pad
 - 100 Tern Ave.
Breakfast: 9:40 A.M. - 10:10 A.M.
Lunch: 12:10 P.M. - 12:40 P.M
Poquonnock Plains - 1 Central Ave.
Breakfast: 9:40 A.M. - 10:10 A.M.
Lunch: 12:10 P.M. - 12:40 P.M.

Check out the 65th Annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival 2023 on Saturday, August 12 (10:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.) and Sunday, August 13 (10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.). The trail of artists begins in downtown Mystic and follows the Mystic River into the shipyard of the Mystic Seaport Museum.
Join the fun on Sunday, August 13 at 8 A.M. for an hour of yoga with Kula Curated at duBois Beach in Stonington! $12 per class.
Prepare for POKEMON with LEGO camp from 9:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. at the Groton Community Center. Your kids will build projects inspired by cool machines while applying real-world concepts in physics, engineering, and architecture.
Click Here To Register
Click Here to Browse Electric Boat Careers
Come give your input on what improvements to make at Sutton Park on Wednesday, August 16th at 6:00 P.M. at the Community Center on 61 Fort Hill Road. Come learn about some proposed renovations and share what changes you would like to see most.  See you there!