From a communications and “messaging” standpoint, the legislative Republicans’ no- new-taxes budget sounds good on a bumper sticker or in a sound bite. For as long as The Shad can remember, the only thing Republicans have contributed have been “no!” votes on nearly every piece of legislation proposed and “cut more!” when it comes to the budget. Those quotes are easier to sell to the general public than explaining why tough decisions—including new taxes—are necessary.
On the Republicans budget, consider:
1. For years, the GOP has been crying about budget gimmicks in spending packages passed by the Democratically controlled general assembly and then singed (or at least not vetoed) by Republican governors. Now they are doing the same thing. The R’s budget assumes $500 million in largely unidentified “savings” by simply making up numbers.
2. For months now, we have heard Republicans claim that the $2 billion over two years in union concessions the Malloy administration was seeking was pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking that will never happen because labor supported Malloy in the general election. Now their budget assumes exactly those concession numbers. Which is it?
3. For years, the Republicans have proposed eliminating the popular $500 property tax credit that helps the middle class. Now the Republicans want to restore it because Malloy’s budget eliminates it (or has now scaled it back). Malloy says “black” and the Rs say “white.”
4. The Republican budget does take care of their rich constituency. They want to eliminate the Clean Elections Program—the legislation designed to take big money and special interests out of elections. Doing so would ensure that only the most wealthy among us (read: Tom Foley and Ned Lamont) would be able to effectively campaign for office.
5. The supposed “party of job growth” also wants to eliminate $14.5 million dollars from the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). That the agency responsible for attracting new jobs to the state as well as workforce training.
6. The two areas the Republicans might actually able to sell in this sham of a budget is cutting the state workforce by 5-percent and consolidating and eliminating state agencies even further than Malloy did. If there is one thing Malloy heard in his town hall meetings was that the general public believes state government is bloated and state workers are somehow living the life of Riley. The agency cuts will hurt services and the state workers who would be laid off probably don’t think of themselves as expendable.
By the way, it looks like a budget won’t get done until summertime and certainly not by the beginning of May as Malloy wants.