Representative Perillo, state Reprsentative Lawrence J. Miller, and state Senator Dan Debicella have voted to reject the Democratic majority’s state budget plan, calling it an attack on Connecticut’s middle class.
The legislators said they hope Governor M. Jodi Rell quickly vetoes the $35-billion biennial state budget so that work can begin on a responsible, bipartisan compromise. The state Senate passed the budget on Thursday, and the House of Representatives approved the budget on Friday. Governor Rell has indicated she will veto the budget.
“We’re talking about real people losing their jobs and this tax increase will make things worse for every single household in Shelton and the state. That’s just unacceptable to me and the fact that some of us have presented a budget alternative that doesn’t raise taxes one cent makes this proposed tax increase even more ludicrous,” said Representative Perillo. R-113th District.
“Over the past 20 years, state budgets have been increasing at a rate that has impacted our employment base, causing job losses and straining our citizens’ ability to provide for their families. The Democrat supermajority is now giving the state the highest tax increase in history at a time we are reeling from the worst financial crisis since the Depression,” said Representative Miller, R-122nd District.
“I voted against this budget because it would have raised taxes by $500 to $1,000 for every middle-class family in Connecticut,” said Senator Debicella, R-21st District, the leading Republican Senator on the Appropriations Committee. “State government has to do the same thing our families are doing- tightening our belts through moderate reductions in spending. I support Governor Rell’s approach of reducing spending on programs by five to ten percent. While neither choice is ideal, I believe most families would rather have moderate across-the-board reductions than higher taxes.”
The Shelton legislators noted that the Democrat majority’s budget calls for: a 25 percent surcharge on businesses, increasing taxes on cigarettes by 75 cents per pack; an additional 25percent surcharge on the estate tax, increased income taxes; and raising a variety of other fees and taxes that will make living and working in Connecticut more expensive for everyone.
Representatives Perillo and Miller and Senator Debicella noted that most of the spending cuts included in the Democratic majority’s budget stem from savings realized by state employee concessions and the state employee retirement incentive plan negotiated by Governor Rell, as well as spending cuts already made by the governor and carried forward into the new budget. “There are very few real spending cuts here beyond what we have already achieved,” Senator Debicella said.
The three legislators continue to strongly support the Republicans’ alternative proposal, unveiled earlier this year, which avoids massive tax increases through moderate spending reductions, merging state agencies, and moving some social services to non-profit community providers. The Republicans’ proposal contains no tax increases and maintains all funding for education and town grants. Many aspects of the Republican legislators’ ideas are incorporated in Governor Rell’s recently updated budget proposal.