Just weeks after recommending the elimination of Connecticut's car tax, Governor Jodi Rell last Wednesday put forward a plan to limit property tax growth in the Nutmeg State to 3 percent per year. Among the myriad problems with such property tax limits is that they fail to help those individuals and families who are struggling the hardest to make ends meet, while leaving cities and towns more vulnerable to fluctuations in state aid.
Ironically, in offering her proposal, Governor Rell cited Massachusetts' experience with property tax limits as a positive example for her state to follow. Massachusetts was one of the first states in the nation to impose property tax caps, enacting Proposition 2 ½ more than 25 years ago. Yet, as the Boston Globe reports, cities and towns in Massachusetts continue to struggle with the constraints imposed by Prop 2 ½. In the wake of significant cuts in local aid during the early part of this decade, twenty- five cities and towns have already scheduled "Prop 2½ overrides" this year, so that they can raise the funds necessary to provide vital public services. With these votes, libraries, teachers, and policemen are all on the line ... the lasting legacy of an ill-advised approach to property tax reform.