House GOP Leader Klarides Says Malloy Budget Guarantees Middle Class Tax Hikes

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HARTFORD – Calling Gov. Malloy’s budget proposal “universally unpopular,’’ House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today said the plan would hit Connecticut’s middle class the hardest by shifting the tax burden to towns and cities, and workers who can least afford huge tax increases.

The budget assumes $1.4 billion in union concessions, similar to Malloy’s failed 2011 budget policy that didn’t achieve the projected savings. That led to repeated deficits, including the projected $1.7 billion hole for the next fiscal year, and $1.9 billion the year after. The proposal represents a $200 million tax hike and also shifts $400 million in teacher pension payments to municipalities.

“This is a bait and switch budget that shifts the burdens to town and cities and, if approved, would result in huge tax increases. The utter failure of the Malloy administration to produce a workable budget that does not rely on fake savings, huge tax hikes and ignores reality is breathtaking,’’ Klarides said.

The budget eliminates the property tax credit for homeowners, raises cigarette taxes and will force towns and cities to tax hospitals by $250 million through the elimination of PILOT funds.

Klarides said there was little to praise in the budget except for the union concessions that Republicans first proposed in order to avoid the huge deficits that have continued to plague the state. Now, she said, it may be too late to achieve them and doubted whether the unions will cooperate.

“The substantive, structural changes we proposed in our budgets were dismissed by the Governor and Democrats and now we face a reality that is quite painful. This was avoidable,’’ Klarides said. She added that Republicans are ready to work on alternative ways to deal with the deficit.