Attorney General: Susan Shimelman , Secretary, Office of Policy and Management , 1994-022 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

August 23, 1994

Susan Shimelman
Secretary, Office of Policy and Management
80 Washington Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Ms. Shimelman:

By letter dated July 6, 1994, your office made an inquiry pertaining to  15 of 1994 Conn. Pub. Act No. 94-6 of the May Special Session (hereinafter the "1994 Act"). The July 6, 1994 letter phrased the question as follows:

Subsequent to your legal opinion of May 24, 1994, the General Assembly passed Public Act 94-6(15), copy enclosed, which provides for a definition of 'Free Standing Chronic Disease Hospitals' applicable retroactively to the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1993. As a result of this amendment, we respectfully request a formal opinion on the impact this revision has in relationship to the grand list year and fiscal year Free Standing Chronic Disease Hospitals payments should commence.

The request refers to our opinion dated May 24, 1994, in which we advised your office that a municipality would not be entitled to a grant in lieu of taxes under Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-20a for chronic disease hospitals located within its geographical confines for state fiscal year 1993-1994. The basis for this conclusion was the effective date of 1993 Conn. Pub. Act No. 93-388 (hereinafter "1993 Act") which modified the type of property eligible for a state grant-in-lieu of taxes under Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-20a. The 1993 Act included "free standing chronic disease hospitals" within its ambit. The 1993 Act became effective on July 1, 1993. We, therefore, concluded, that municipalities could claim free standing chronic disease hospitals for a state grant prospectively after July 1, 1993. Since in any particular year an application for a grant is based on the grand list of October first in the prior year, we concluded that the first year a municipality could claim the subject hospitals was for state fiscal year 1994-1995, based on the grand list of October 1, 1993 and payable in September, 1994.

Since the issuance of our opinion, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed the 1994 Act. Section 15 of that Act constitutes a repeal and substitution of Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-20a with the only ostensible change being the inclusion of a definition of "free standing chronic disease hospital."

Our inquiry focuses on the effective date section of the 1994 Act. That provision states in relevant part:

Sec. 28. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that . . . section 15 shall be applicable to the grant-in-lieu of taxes made in the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1993, and each fiscal year thereafter, . . .

(Emphasis added.)

In view of the language set forth in section 28 of the 1994 Act, we believe the Legislature intended to provide grants for chronic disease hospitals commencing with the State's 1993-1994 fiscal year. In light of this, the 1994 Act supersedes our May 24, 1994, opinion. In answer to the question, the first fiscal year that a grant for a chronic disease hospital would have been allowed is fiscal year 1993-1994. Since such grants are paid in September, the first payment was permitted in September, 1993. Furthermore, the grant made in 1993 "shall be equal to sixty percent of the property taxes which . . . would have been paid with respect to such exempt real property on the assessment list in such municipality for the assessment date two years prior to the commencement of the state fiscal year in which such grant is payable". Conn. Gen. Stat.  12-20a as amended by  15 of 1994 Conn. Pub. Act No. 94-6 (May Special Session). This means OPM must calculate its grant based on the assessed value for the property as it appeared on the grand list of October 1, 1991, which is two years prior to the 1993 State fiscal year. We trust this answers the questions posed.

Very truly yours,

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL

William J. Prensky
Assistant Attorney General

RB/WJP/wp


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