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HomeNewsHaddam Town NewsUpdate from State Sen. Needleman: Tax-Free Week, Farmers Markets, Hearing Aids and...

Update from State Sen. Needleman: Tax-Free Week, Farmers Markets, Hearing Aids and Swing Bridge

Submitted by State Senator Norm Needleman

Sales Tax Free Week Runs August 21-27, 2022

(August 18, 2022) — Returning for a 22nd year, Connecticut’s Sales Tax-Free Week runs from Sunday, August 21 to Saturday, August 27, 2022, giving residents statewide a chance to save money on important shopping. During Sales Tax-Free Week, individual items of clothing and footwear valued at less than $100 will be exempt from sales tax, providing valuable savings for back-to-school, back-to-office, end-of-summer or general clothes shopping needs. In 2021, Connecticut shoppers saved about $5 million during Sales Tax Free Week. Everything from shirts and sneakers to athletic outfits, diapers, work uniforms, socks and hats are eligible for the sales tax exemption; only items such as specialized boots and shoes for specific hobbies such as fishing, mountain climbing, bowling or most sports, specialty work gloves, ice skates, sports uniforms and helmets and party costumes will remain taxable this week.For a full list of items that are and are not eligible for the sales tax exemption, please visit this link.

FDA Issues Ruling Making Hearing Aids Available Over the Counter

Following President Biden’s executive order in 2021 seeking to increase competition and lower costs for American families, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a final ruling to make hearing aids available over the counter, a huge win for everyday Americans struggling with hearing loss. As many as 30 million Americans have hearing loss, but 20% of them, as many as six million, cannot afford them. Over-the-counter access to hearing aids will lower the price of a pair of hearing aids by potentially thousands of dollars, with some hearing aids available without a prescription in stores beginning as soon as mid-October.

Fresh, Locally Grown Food More Accessible Through Food Assistance Program Expansions

Connecticut in recent years has worked to expand access to fresh and locally grown food through farmers markets by improving and increasing food assistance programs across the state. The Farmers Market Nutrition Program, administered by the state Department of Agriculture, has received additional funding to aid eligible individuals including:

  • Residents over the age of 60
  • Women, infants and children meeting certain guidelines

Eligible participants receive up to $32 in checks through the program, which can be used to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, herbs and honey. Farmers markets also accept SNAP benefits, some matching benefits; the Department of Agriculture invested $200,000 this year in expanding the CT Fresh Match program, which allows farmers markets to double customer purchases made with SNAP benefits. These efforts help residents access healthy and local produce while supporting the 21,000+ employees in Connecticut’s $4 billion agriculture industry.

Swing Bridge Traffic Impact Summary

With the East Haddam Swing Bridge rehabilitation project in the works, the Department of Transportation has released a traffic impact summary outlining interruptions likely from the project. It will require 25 closures of 63 hours running from Sundays at 8:00 p.m. to Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. While they have not been finalized, the majority of them will take place between spring and late fall of 2023. Additionally, there will be periods of alternating one-lane traffic on the bridge outside of rush hour periods and weekend days, and extended periods of one-lane closure, and extended periods of one-lane closure which will be set for periods currently slated for April 1 to May 15, 2023 and December 1 to March 31, 2024. More information will be made available as planning continues

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