Rep. Candelora noted that when the legislative session began, it appeared that a tax increase was imminent. Since the House Republican minority introduced a ‘No Tax Increase’ budget, and stuck top their guns through deliberations on the point, he said the GOP legislators changed the debate at the Capitol. The final budget contained no tax increases with the exception of the cigarette tax, which jumped from $1.51 per pack to $2.00 per pack.
“While this may be a strategic and political victory for Republicans, it is more importantly a victory for the taxpayers of Connecticut,” said Candelora.
Proposals that the Democratic majority had pushed, but were unable to keep in the final budget included an increase in the state income tax, an Earned Income Tax Credit for those who make too little to pay a state income tax, an increase in the property tax credit from $500 to $1000, and elimination of the exemption of the sales tax for clothing under $50.
“Despite a roughly $900 million budget surplus, Democrats wanted to raise taxes by $1.6 billion,” said Candelora. “Thankfully, we were able to prevent that from happening, while the towns in the 86th District will receive a $5.7 million increase in state aid over the next two years.”
Candelora also observed that the budget which passed the House contained:
–An additional $441 million over two years for local school aid, the largest increase in state history. There are also new measures requiring school districts to account for the funding and measure their students’ achievement.
– $94 million in the first year and $120.7 million in the second to boost reimbursement rates to doctors, hospitals, clinics, and dentists who serve needy patients on Medicaid. Physicians have not seen a rate increase in 18 years.
– Increases in funding for state parks, including $1.7 million to hire additional park personnel.
– More money for programs that help the elderly, such as personal care assistants and Dial-a-Ride.
– Full funding for day programs provided to young adults with developmental disabilities who recently graduated from high school.
– A 3 percent increase for nursing homes and private, nonprofit agencies that provide everything from group homes for the mentally retarded to programs for the homeless.
The budget was passed by the State Senate this afternoon, and will now head to the Governor for her signature.