- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A cap on the local taxes paid for vehicles is a key component of an urban agenda announced Wednesday by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley.

The Greenwich businessman said he would push to limit the tax to 30 mills on vehicles and personal property other than cars. Real estate would not be affected.

“The car tax is simply too high in our cities and it distorts markets,” Foley said.

One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property.

A list of mill rates for the 2013 grand list year, posted on the Office of Policy and Management’s website, shows about 60 of the 169 cities and towns have local property tax rates that are 30 mills or more. The largest rates are in the state’s cities, such as 74.29 mills in Hartford.

The car tax has been a vexing issue for Connecticut politicians. In 2013, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is seeking re-election, proposed slashing the tax by exempting the first $20,000 of a vehicle’s assessed value from the property tax. There was not enough support for that idea or a bipartisan proposal to phase out the tax. Many local officials voiced concern their communities would suffer revenue losses.

Foley said his plan would have the state cover the revenue loss for communities affected by the cap, which he estimated at $30 million.

Foley’s 12-page urban plan also includes education initiatives, including in-district public school choice.

Earlier Wednesday, Democratic state lawmakers criticized Foley’s education proposals for lacking substance.

Tom Foley’s recent ad also says he will ‘make our schools better.” He might as well say, “I’m going to make all of your children smarter and above average,’” said state Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, co-chairman of the legislature’s education committee. “It’s rhetoric with absolutely no substance.”

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