Friday, March 31, 2023



Comings & Goings: The Row House to Compo Acres Image
The Row House, a boutique rowing-based fitness studio, will open in the spring at 380 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center. According to Redding resident Rob Montefusco, co-owner with his wife Dana, the studio is the first in the state and is part of a rapidly expanding organization, Xponential Fitness, based in Irvine, California.  Montefusco said the studio offers individual and group memberships and, in addition to rowing, the boutique offers strength and calisthenics classes. The site was previously occupied by Happy Nails.(CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Comings & Goings: Meatball to National Hall Image
New York-based The Meatball Shop will open at Westport’s National Hall, 2A Post Road West, in the spring. Specializing in meatball variations, the chain’s earlier locations include four in Manhattan, one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and one in Washington, D.C. The 4,000-square foot area was previously occupied by The ‘Port, which closed in June 2018, as well as earlier restaurants. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Comings & Goings: Mystic Market Opens Monday Image
Mystic Market, 60 Charles St., an eat-in and takeout eatery opens Monday, according to David Griswold, Jr, general manager (above). The shop offers a range of foods including a coffee-bakery, a deli counter, a soup counter, and prepared and packaged full meals to go as well as retail items. The site was formerly occupied by the Blu Parrot, which closed in 2013, and Jasmine Restaurant, which closed in 2010. Nistico’s Arrow Restaurant preceded both. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Will Lamont Keep Transportation System Afloat Until Toll Receipts Arrive?

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposal to toll all vehicles would dramatically infuse Connecticut’s aging, overcrowded transportation infrastructure with new cash — three or four years from now.

But Lamont’s recently announced “debt diet” would immediately cancel hundreds of millions of potential borrowing for transportation — to help solve larger problems in Connecticut’s finances.

So as he urges support for tolls on Connecticut’s highways, the governor also must convince people he will keep the state’s cash-starved transportation rebuilding program afloat.

“I think scaling back right now would be catastrophic,” said Donald Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association.

New Governor’s Budget Strategy Part Sweet, Part Sour

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Ned Lamont will give with one hand and take with the other in the budget he proposes Wednesday.

Lamont will naturally stress the giving, as he did during the campaign last fall. But when it comes to taxes and fees, the scales will tip toward the taking — at least for the next two years — as the new governor attempts to wipe out about $3.5 billion in inherited red ink off Connecticut’s books.

For example, Lamont said this weekend he would consider lowering gas taxes and boosting income tax relief for the poor — but only to mitigate the pain of restoring tolls to Connecticut’s highways.

Many lawmakers expect Lamont to propose a repeal of the estate tax, something he called “an enormous giveaway to the very wealthiest” days before the November election. But they also expect him to recommend a statewide property tax on motor vehicles — which would cut taxes for most communities but boost them in affluent towns.

Lamont Outlines New Tolling Proposal

By Keith M. Phaneuf

UPDATE Gov. Ned Lamont today reversed himself, announcing he will propose electronic tolling on cars as well as trucks when he unveils his first state budget Wednesday.

Lamont, who insisted frequently throughout the campaign he would only support tolls on trucks, conceded in a Saturday Op-Ed piece for Hearst Connecticut Media what transportation advocates had been saying for months: tolling on trucks would not produce sufficient revenue.

“Beyond an inconvenience, the crushing congestion we experience on I-95, I-91, I-84 and the Merritt Parkway, in particular, is a real challenge we must address and overcome if we are to maximize our economic development potential,” the governor wrote. “Our proximity in mileage to New York City means nothing if it takes 90 minutes to get there from Stamford on the road, and over an hour by train.

Tolling trucks alone “would provide at least some revenue to maintain our system, though not enough to upgrade it,” Lamont added.

Lamont Offers Business Tax Relief, Enhanced Digital Services

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Ned Lamont today unveiled his long-anticipated proposal to eliminate the business entity tax, a $250 fee nearly all Connecticut businesses pay once every two years.

The governor, who must deliver his first budget proposal to the General Assembly next Wednesday, also elaborated on his plans to digitize access to all state services.

“Over and over again, I’ve heard the same refrain — it’s not easy to do business with the state of Connecticut,” said Lamont, who pledged several times during last fall’s gubernatorial campaign to recommend repeal of the business entity tax. “How can we try to build and stabilize our economy if businesses don’t feel as if we’re listening?”

Most Connecticut businesses — more than 169,000 biennially — pay an entity tax, which raised $45 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year and $43.9 million in 2014-15, according to annual reports from the Department of Revenue Services.

Progressives Ready to Battle Connecticut’s Rich Over Taxes

By Keith M. Phaneuf

A major liberal block in the House of Representatives today unveiled a series of tax proposals that could put them at odds with Gov. Ned Lamont and other of their fellow Democrats in the legislature.

House Democratic Progressive Caucus members favor raising income taxes on rich households, and staunchly oppose repeal of the estate tax. Democrats hold 90 out of 151 seats in the House and 44 of them are in the progressive caucus.

The caucus also expressed caution over Lamont’s plans to broaden the sales tax base and to dramatically curb state borrowing, saying these also could shift costs onto low- and middle-income households.

“We’re going to act as a block that says you can’t simply be giving money to rich people,” Rep. Josh Elliott, D-Hamden, a member of the caucus, said during a midday news conference at the Capitol.