“Meals Tax” Still Needs Repealing

“Meals Tax” Still Needs Repealing

Tuesday, Oct. 1 was one of the three times a year new laws go into effect in Connecticut. And this year one of the new laws is a 7.35 percent “meals tax.” I opposed the state budget that had this tax hike along with $1.7 billion in other tax increases.

The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) released an advisory statement clarifying the long list of restaurant meals and food items the Democrat-approved 7.35 percent tax will be applied to, including dozens of products that have not previously been taxed. DRS also clarified that the total 7.35 percent tax rate will be effective in grocery stores, “which previously taxed meals in a different manner than other eating establishments. 

For example, five single muffins are taxed, while if you purchase six muffins you are not taxed; a soda with a sandwich is taxed, and a soda without a sandwich is not taxed.

In September, House and Senate Republicans called upon Governor Ned Lamont to bring the Legislature into special session to fix a piece of legislation passed in the Democrat state budget that created new taxes on hundreds of grocery store foods, and also substantially increased taxes on prepared meals.

For instance, if you purchased various products on Sept. 20, the taxes are not shown on your receipt being applied to grocery store items, including prepackaged items that under the new law will now be considered “meals.” 

According to DRS, in addition to many beverages, examples of “meals” that will be taxed at 7.35 percent in eating establishments and grocery stores include, but are not limited to, sandwiches, grinders, and wraps; popsicles, ice cream cones; salads sold at salad bars; macaroni and potato salads; donuts, muffins, rolls, bagels, pastries and cookies; pies or cakes by the slice; chips, popcorn, kettle corn, nuts, trail mix, crackers, snack cakes, or other snack foods; pizza, whole or by the slice; cooked chicken sold by the piece, buckets of chicken and whole cooked chickens; hot dogs served on a bun or heated; all beverages provided with the sale of a taxable meal; hot buffet foods; cooked to order food; any other snack foods kept warm for purchase, and more.

I have heard from many constituents that this tax will hurt and punish their families and countless seniors on fixed incomes who would be negatively affected by this awful tax policy.

On Sept. 18, I signed the petition to force a special session to repeal this grocery tax section and I hope we can get 76 members in the House of Representatives to join me in signing the petition. 

I urge the public to call their legislators and the governor to express their opinion.

Although DRS and the governor announced a revised notice late in September, to not tax certain grocery store prepared food, the DRS policy statement is non-binding and cannot be used as a defense if grocery stores are subject to a sales tax audit. There is still a 1 percent tax on meals and certain drinks sold in grocery stores. This is why we need a special session to fix the law.

We need to stop the grocery tax and stop balancing the budget on the backs of the hard-working residents of Connecticut.

As always, feel free to contact me on these issues or any other questions or concerns at (800) 842-1423 or email my office at Lezlye.Zupkus@housegop.ct.gov. 


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