Don't get carried away.
Legislators may have made promises about properly funding schools, properly funding state roads, properly funding state parks, but the promise that counts is to the folks who have given them generous campaign contributions the real estate industry.
Everyone has the right to lobby their legislators, so the real estate industry hasn't done anything wrong.
But for legislators to single out one promise to keep, and dismiss complaints about other broken promises, is, well, not promising.
At issue is what's known as the real estate conveyance tax, a levy paid by those who sell property.
In 2003, as state government was cutting aid to municipalities, the legislature hiked the conveyance tax as compensation for municipalities.
The tax was increased from 0.11 percent, or $1.10 per $1,000 of a property's value, to 0.25 percent, or $2.50 per $1,000 of a property's value.
The increased tax was supposed to expire last June, but the legislature continued it for another year. Now many legislators say they won't continue it beyond June 2005. Got to keep that promise, you see.
If legislators were planning to find other revenue for municipalities to replace the conveyance tax, downsizing the conveyance tax could be justified. But that's not what they're doing.
Instead, they are plotting to seriously undermine local budgets, just to keep a promise to one small group of campaign contributors.
In Danbury, the death of this extra tax will mean a loss of $1 million a year. In Ridgefield, it's a loss of $650,000. In Bethel, it's a loss of $210,000.
In Redding, it's a loss of $150,000. In Newtown, it's a loss of $432,000. In Brookfield, it's a loss of $282,000. In New Fairfield, it's a loss of $250,000. In Sherman, it's a loss of $78,000.
That's real money, real pain.
The increased tax has not hurt the real estate industry. Moreover, the increased tax can be justified because municipal budgets support real estate values and development increases municipal budgets.
So local legislators need to reconsider what they're doing here. They do have promises to keep. And those promises are to the voters who sent them to Hartford.