HARTFORD –State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) voiced sharp criticism of the series of tax increases and new fees proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy in his guidelines for revisions to the 2018-2019 budget. The governor detailed his budget proposal early this week before delivering his final State of the State address on Wednesday to a joint session of the legislature.
Rep. Lavielle noted the conspicuous absence in the governor’s speech of any reference to Connecticut’s struggling economy or its $245 million budget deficit for the current year, as he called for new spending programs such as free community college.
“Floating budget proposals that fly in the face of bipartisan legislation that the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed after a solid year of uncertainty and debate is disrespectful to Connecticut residents,” said Rep. Lavielle. “It has become clear to people across the state that steadily raising taxes has not led to steadily higher revenue and that Connecticut’s tax base is actually shrinking. Constant reliance on new revenue to balance the budget is hurting the state’s economy, and this week’s proposals are particularly harmful to seniors and the middle class.”
Among the governor’s proposals are:
- Eliminating the property tax credit for seniors and taxpayers with dependents
- Eliminating new tax breaks on Social Security and pension income
- Cutting funding to the Medicare savings program that was just restored by the legislature over his veto
- Imposing a sales tax on non-prescription drugs
- Increasing the gasoline tax
- A new tax on tires
- Installing tolls on Connecticut’s highways
- Increasing the real estate conveyance tax
- Cuts to municipal aid
- Rejecting the new education cost sharing (ECS) formula and eliminating all ECS funding for 33 towns
“Connecticut residents are not fooled by the governor’s lack of acknowledgment that the state’s levels of spending are unsustainable,” said Rep. Lavielle. “I hope that my colleagues in the legislature will all remember that the number one issue affecting Connecticut right now is the state’s financial condition and restoring our economy. We must stay focused on our job as the advocates of taxpayers and all residents.”
Referring to the 2017 session when Governor Malloy’s most controversial proposals – like shifting the cost of teacher pensions onto municipalities – were rejected by the legislature, Rep. Lavielle expressed her hope that legislators would work together to produce bipartisan alternatives to the governor’s proposal that do not rely on tax and fee increases and that protect local education funding over the course of this year’s “short session”, which ends on May 9.