State Representative John Frey (R-111) last night voted against a state budget plan that takes hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes and fees from the middle class, once again rips funding from the Special Transportation Fund and shifts the responsibility of paying ongoing and increasing 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. Under this budget, plastic shopping bags will cost 10 cents each and prepared meals, including restaurant meals, will cost more.
The budget, which passed without a single Republican vote, raises taxes by $752 million over two years.
“The budget presented to us late last night and debated this afternoon does not move the state forward, and instead sets us back to the failed policies of years past that brought us massive and continual deficits,” Rep. Frey said. “Higher taxes and fees, and sweeping nearly $200 million from the fund designated to repair our aging roads and bridges sets us back years, if not decades, and hurts the long-term growth prospects of our state.”
In response to the Democrat plan that was unveiled less than 24 hours before debate began, Republicans proposed several amendments designed to mitigate the brutal 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, but defeated along mostly party-line votes.
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
- 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 over the next two years in new car sales revenue from the Special Transportation Fund to the general fund
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
- Provide an alternative family leave plan that would allow employers and employees the choice to buy in, instead of mandating a payroll tax
“The budget passed tonight is a far cry from the reasonable, responsible bi-partisan plan the legislature passed two years ago, and puts us back on track for wasteful spending and continued deficits,” Rep. Frey said. “We should be working to support and entice businesses to invest in Connecticut, not nickel and dime them with taxes and fees. This budget is bad for Connecticut.”