Put On A Happy Face

 Rep. Cameron C. Staples, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the Finance Committee, said (during the floor debate this afternoon on the plan to delay raising the so-called cliff on the estate tax from $2 million to $3.5 million) that economic forecasts indicate the state’s revenue problem may turn around by 2012. The cliff is when an estate is valued at just over $2 million, then gets taxed for the entire amount. The law passed in August would raise the amount exempt from the estate tax to $3.5 million on January first. This is a tactic in pushing out the cliff hike two years, would raise about $76 million.

“We’re still facing mounting deficits,” Staples said. He said the bill would result in lower taxes for estates less than $5.7 million and higher taxes on larger estates. “We also just feel it’s not the time to enact a tax cut like this right now.”

 Rep. Terry Backer, D-Stratford, said he voted for the legislation because the General Assembly has much larger, tougher decisions to make during the next couple of years. “This isn’t raising taxes,” he said in an interview. “We’re just putting them back the way they were in August.”