GOP READY TO POUNCE? SPEAKER DONOVAN OPENS PLENTY OF ‘TAX DOORS’

What might have been expected to be simply another Sunday morning talk show appearance turned into a menu of what tax increases state legislative Democrats will consider as Speaker of the House Chris Donovan appeared in WFSB-TV’s (Channel 3) “Face the State.”

Donovan told host Dennis House that income tax increases for those making more than $250,000 will be considered. Donovan tried to liken it to the national debate. Problem is the national debate was about whether or not to let “temporary” tax breaks on the highest earners expire. Here in Connecticut, it would be a straight tax increase on current, “permanent” rates.

It was just a few years ago that Democrats were finally able to make the tax system in Connecticut a bit fairer and a bit more progressive by raising the income tax on the highest earners. You can bet going to that well again will bring fierce opposition from Republicans and may not sit well with Gov.-elect Dan Malloy.

Malloy made it clear during the campaign that raising taxes would be a last resort although possibly necessary. An increase on those making more than $250,000 (not a particularly exorbitant amount in areas such as Fairfield County where Malloy is from) could be in contrast to Malloy’s priority of creating jobs. Nearly every economist on record has said the budget deficit can’t be closed without some sort of new revenue so give Donovan points for honesty. Look for this legislative session to be a battle as to where find the money.

Host House, always adept at getting the most from his guests, broached a subject that has been an elephant (albeit a baby pachyderm) in the room: Possible conflict between the incoming governor and the legislature controlled by the same party. Both Donovan and Senate President Don Williams backed the wrong horse in the primary (Ned Lamont) and it remains to be seen how they’ll work together although all sides have pledged to do so. They always do.