HARTFORD – State Representative Richard Smith (R-108) voiced sharp criticism of the series of tax hikes and new fees proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.) in his guidelines for revisions to the 2018-2019 budget. The governor detailed his budget proposal before he delivered his final State of the State address on Wednesday to a joint session of the legislature.
Rep. Smith criticized the governor’s conspicuous omission of any reference to Connecticut’s struggling economy or $245 million budget deficit in his address, in which he also called for new exorbitant spending programs such as free community college.
“It still boggles my mind that the person in charge of a state with a $245 million budget deficit and an economy that lags drastically behind the rest of the nation has the audacity to completely ignore those fiscal issues in his State of the State address, and instead focus on partisan rhetoric on unrelated issues – but perhaps Connecticut residents really shouldn’t be surprised at this point,” said Rep. Smith. “His budget proposal relies on an assortment of tax hikes, fee increases, and imagined revenue from installing tolls throughout the state.”
Among the Governor’s proposals are: installing tolls on Connecticut’s highways; eliminating the property tax credit for seniors and taxpayers with dependents; eliminating tax breaks on Social Security and pension income; increasing the real estate conveyance tax; increasing the gas, hotel, and restaurant taxes; a new tax on tires; cuts to municipal aid, rejecting the new Education Cost Sharing formula that provides aid to schools based on need, population, poverty and other factors; and eliminating ECS funding for 33 towns, including Sherman, and drastically reducing ECS funding for New Fairfield.
“The compromise budget reached last year began the process of reforming state government and making structural changes, yet the governor, ignoring those efforts, once again seeks to take Connecticut backwards with more failed tax and spend polices,” said Rep. Smith. “This proposal is a real disservice to all Connecticut residents, but particularly to seniors, who would be forced to pay more in taxes after losing several deductions, while at the same time losing funding for programs they rely on such as the Medicare Savings Program. The governor wants you to pay more in return for less.”
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. Smith expressed his hope that the legislature would be able to draft bipartisan alternatives to the governor’s proposal that do not rely on revenue increases and that protect local education funding over the course of this year’s “short session,” which ends May 9.
“I am cautiously optimistic that the bipartisan rejection of most of the governor’s proposals will continue again this year and welcome the opportunity to sit down with my colleagues in the legislature in order to make the necessary structural changes that will get Connecticut back on the path to recovery,” added Rep. Smith.