The top Republican in the Connecticut state Senate is ripping any budget deal that raises taxes saying Gov. Dannel Malloy will have “welched” on his deal with taxpayers. Sen. Len Fasano adds that it will be a “read my lips” moment for Malloy because he promised during the last campaign not to raise taxes. (If you would like to see the governor make this pledge, it’s here, about 13:38 in.)
Legislative Democrats and the governor have reached a tentative deal on a new, two-year spending plan after weeks of closed-door negotiations. Reports say it keeps the sales tax at 6.35 percent but expands it to services currently exempted such as dry cleaning, accounting services and others.
The tentative budget also raises taxes on the wealthiest citizens from 6.7 to 6.99 percent, maintains some taxes and fees that were scheduled to expire and hits corporations to an extent.
Speaking to The Hanging Shad before the deal was announced Sunday morning, Fasano says any tax increase means Malloy went back on his word. “Absolutely. [Any tax-increasing budget] would be disastrous. It means the governor welched on his pledge. During the campaign he told [Republican nominee Tom] Foley, ‘What planet did you fall off of? There will be no deficit and not tax increases.’”
Fasano also questioned the timing of the deal. “By the time they get it printed, collated and disseminated, it will be Monday at the earliest. We’ll probably vote on it at one, two or three o’clock in the morning. God forbid we vote on it in the light of day,” he said.
Senate President Martin Looney, who also brilliantly orchestrated a change in how taxes on automobiles is collected and straightened out a more fair payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) system for tax-exempt property, says it’s all on the right track. “This budget meets the state’s obligations and provides historic property tax relief for the people of Connecticut,” Looney said according to CTNewsJunkie.
“After years of acknowledging the need to change our Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, this year, we delivered revolutionary changes by taking into account the relative need for assistance based on the percentage of tax exempt property in each municipality. We also begin to provide substantial relief for car owners and high mill rate municipalities on their car tax,” Looney said.
The big question now is will the deal pass the full legislature. Because of gains made in the last election, Republicans have less of a burden to defeat it. They need only 12 representatives and four senators to join all the Republicans to jettison the plan. That’s certainly doable.
There are a good number of Democrats in the House and a few in the Senate that could vote “no.” The Shad doesn’t know how they’ll vote but at least in the Senate, Sens. Joan Hartley, Paul Doyle and Gayle Slossberg are possible “no” votes. The same could be said of Sen. Bob Duff in the past but now as majority leader, he may be on board.
If it passes, Gov. Malloy is ready to sign the budget bill. “This agreement will help Connecticut now and in the long-run—it helps transform our transportation infrastructure as we aim for a best-in-class system,” Malloy said.