It’s looking increasingly like the new, two-year state budget will have some tax increases somewhere in it—possibly on the wealthiest residents and on corporations. During the last gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Dannel Malloy pledged to not raise taxes and he didn’t propose any himself. So, the (more than) academic question becomes, if Malloy signs a state budget that raises taxes—even though he didn’t propose them—has he broken his pledge?
It all depends on who you ask.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, who has been desperate to get involved in the budget process, says simply, “Not only if he refuses to sign [a tax-increasing budget] but if he doesn’t veto any spending that increases taxes, he has broken his pledge. No question,” he said.
On the other side of the aisle is Senate President Martin Looney. The Shad asked him the same question—does the governor break his no-new-taxes campaign pledge if he signs a tax increasing budget even if he didn’t propose it? Looney said, “No, not at all. The budget process is a collaborative one. The governor kept his pledge by proposing a no-new-taxes budget, the legislative committees took over and now the negotiations begin,” he said. “The governor has already kept his pledge.”
Meanwhile, Fasano says that if Malloy is genuinely interested in a no-new-taxes budget, Republicans are his best friend. “We have ideas to keep down spending while funding important programs.”
But Fasano admits hanging with the Gov. is unlikely. “The governor is a very difficult guy to get along with. He doesn’t communicate well with either [party].”
For his part, Looney confirms that GOP leaders will not be in the final negotiations with the governor’s people to come up with a final plan. “They are playing the traditional role of the loyalty opposition—trying to stay relevant.” But as far as them being invited into the talks? “No, not at this point.”