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Budget is Bad for Connecticut

Posted on June 4, 2019 by admin


State Representative Stephanie Cummings (R-74) tonight voted against a disastrous state budget that raises hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes and fees on the middle class, strips money from the Special Transportation Fund and relies on failed gimmicks, including  pushing off difficult decisions and shifting responsibility of paying massive debts onto our children.

In addition to the transportation fund raid, new or increased taxes and fees will be added on everything from plastic bags, restaurant meals, digital downloads like Netflix and music files, safety apparel, parking, the Internet, dry cleaning and myriad other goods and services. Any new or increased taxes placed on businesses will undoubtedly be passed along to consumers who, thanks to the same sales tax expansion, will already be paying substantially more for goods and services beginning July 1.  In fact, under this budget, all plastic bags will now cost 10 cents each and all prepared meals, including restaurant meals, will cost more, making every day experiences more difficult to have.

The budget, which passed without a single Republican vote, raises taxes by $752 million over two years.

“After passage of the bi-partisan budget two years ago, I was hopeful the Democrats would be willing to define and implement tax cuts and structural changes to keep the state moving forward,” Rep. Cummings said. “Instead, Connecticut residents will see more of the same failed policies that one-party rule has provided for nearly 30 years.  Raising taxes and fees on the middle class and small businesses of our state,  and sweeping Special Transportation Money from our roads and bridges to patch holes in the general fund, is not sound fiscal policy.

In response, Republicans proposed several amendments designed to mitigate the tax increases and support the state’s neediest citizens and vital social service programs.

Republican proposals included reducing the taxpayer-funded Citizen Election Program that provides money for political candidates to buy bumper stickers and campaign tchotchkes, privatizing certain state agencies and social service programs to reduce both duplicative services and the overall size of state government, furlough days for non-union state employees to reduce state spending and elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit, among others. Amendments that would preserve funding in the Special Transportation Fund for repair of our roads and bridges, and provide a 5% boost to municipalities in the second year were also called.

The Republican amendments included the following:

  • Preserve the property tax credits businesses receive operating as LLCs. The Democrats, just a year removed from implementing the credit, reduced it costing taxpayers $50 million in income taxes
  • Require the Partnership for Connecticut – funded by $20 million in philanthropic contributions and $20 million in state funding – to abide by state Freedom of Information Laws, and contractor reporting and ethics reporting requirements
  • Block the re-financing of the teachers’ pension fund that will cost the next generation of taxpayers $27 billion more because the payments will be stretched out for an additional 14 years
  • Block the diversion of $171 million in revenue from the Special Transportation Fund to the general fund over the next two years

Republicans also proposed increasing aid to towns and cities and an omnibus pro-business plan that would be paid for through spending cuts and savings in government programs.

The pro-business amendment had several provisions:

  • Repeal the business entity tax
  • Phase out the capital stock tax
  • The alternative family leave plan that would provide the choice to buy in, rather than mandate a payroll tax

“The Democrat budget passed today is very short on savings but very long on tax and fee increases that will destroy business and hurt the lower and middle class families that continue to struggle,” Rep. Cummings said.  “This budget does exactly the opposite of what the state needs. Instead of cutting spending and providing for the programs and citizens who truly need assistance it increases taxes and fees to the tune of $1.75 billion on the middle class. We can do better.”