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Essential Worker Bonuses, Sales Tax Breaks In Store



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Whether you are simply shopping for back-to-school clothes, or you were literally putting your health at risk as an essential frontline worker, there’s recent news coming out of Hartford that may end up putting a few bucks — or up to $1,000 — into your pocket in the coming weeks.

State Rep Mitch Bolinsky is reaching out to The Newtown Bee and local constituents, reminding everyone that Connecticut’s 22nd consecutive Tax Free Week is happening Sunday, August 21, through Saturday, August 27. The program eliminates Connecticut’s 6.35% sales tax on qualified clothing, footwear, and some accessories costing less than $100 per item.

Bolinsky says shoppers can save on qualified items both in stores and online, as tax does not apply to qualified items costing less than $100 sold that week by mail, telephone, or through the internet.

Since sales tax is calculated after applying coupons or discounts, if the final price per item is less than $100, it is exempt. Clothing and footwear under $100 put on layaway during this week are also tax-free.

Tax Free Week was first enacted in 2000 and applies to many items for everyday use. One quirky aspect of tax free week involves the inclusion of scouting uniforms and clerical vestments, square dancing clothes, employee uniforms, and formalwear gowns; as well as wedding gowns and certain related accessories such as veils and headpieces.

So if you are a firefighter, nurse or mechanic, planning way ahead for a prom or wedding, or you are a scout, square dancer, or clergy member, tax free week has you covered, too!

At the same time, goods not covered under the program include, but are not limited to clothing or footwear specifically designed for athletic activities (football cleats, specialty boots for fishing, hiking, skiing and other activities), as well as wet suits, helmets and headbands, etc; and accessories including jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, and watches.

Need more details? Visit portal.ct.gov/DRS/Sales-Tax/

Pivoting to another state benefit, health care workers, grocery store employees and other private-sector employees who staffed vital services during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic can begin applying for up to a $1,000 bonus. Managed by State Comptroller Natalie Braswell and her staff, the Premium Pay Program was established by the Connecticut Legislature to provide financial relief to essential workers employed during the pandemic.

So if you are an essential worker you are eligible for up to a $1,000 payment from the Premium Pay Program. To be eligible, an applicant must have worked between March 10, 2020, and May 7, 2022, in one of the occupations from the CDC’s 1A or 1B vaccination priority lists.

Some of the frontline workers in these categories include health care personnel, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store staff, public transit workers, teachers, and child care personnel.

If you qualify, apply now at ctessentialworkerrelief.org/premium-home. This site is also continuing to accept applications for the Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Program we mentioned in our Editorial Ink Drops July 22.

Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. bw.reloconsult@snet.net says:

    The editor failed to mention that this was a bipartisan effort in Hartford. Credit goes to the entire group of elected officials, Democrat’s, Republicans and even members of minor parties. Let give credit to where it belongs.

    1. nb.john.voket says:

      Across all the documentation the editor was provided regarding both of these programs – along with additional research if a correction or clarification needed to be made – we found no claims of bipartisan consensus on the original 2000 vote creating the annual August sales tax free period.
      As your hometown paper, we simply localized the fact that Newtown’s resident lawmaker was promoting sales tax week and reached out to The Newtown Bee to share details with town residents.
      This was not a means of promoting the party of the lawmaker who did, as we did not mention it. Nor did we receive similar outreach from other members of the Newtown delegation – including the Democrat – or we would have mentioned it.
      If you are referencing the pandemic employee bonus program, we did credit the entire legislature for endorsing it.

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