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Tax Hike Plan Worries Westport Merchants

Marcus Best of the Shoe-Inn in downtown Westport was shocked to hear that Gov. Dan Malloy is looking to eliminate the tax-free shopping week in mid-August.

"I don't think it will be good to do that," Best said. “We get a lot of business during that week. People come to spend more."

Hoping to close the state's deficit, Malloy plans to cut state spending by $2 billion and increase revenue by $1.5 billion. Eliminating tax-free week is just one way he said that can be accomplished. Another way is by increasing the sales tax by .25 percent. The state’s sales tax has been set at 6 percent for about 20 years. If Malloy's budget is approved, it will rise to 6.25 percent.

"I don't see how this is going to help increase [the state's] revenue," said Best, who has worked in retail management for about four years and is currently Shoe-Inn’s assistant manager. "I feel like it will only deplete spending. People will be more cautious of what they spend, more so than they already are."

Over at The Brownstone on Main Street, co-owner Victoria Schallert had a different outlook on hiking the sales tax. "Taxes help build communities," she said. "They are a necessary evil. We have to be realistic. That additional .25 percent provides our safety net."

Other changes under Malloy's plan include eliminating the tax exemption on clothing under $50. The governor also proposed taxing many services that are currently exempt, including haircuts, manicures and pedicures, car washes, yoga lessons and pet grooming.

Although Schallert believes taxes build communities, she disagrees with removing the tax exemption on clothing under $50. "That $50 tax exemption is important. Not for myself, but for families on the edge," she said. "That helps parents buy a pair of shoes or a pair of pants for their children."

What do you think about Gov. Malloy's proposed tax increases: Are you concerned or do you think they are necessary to getting the state back on track? Tell us below!

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