Majority Party Refuses to Compromise and Cut State Spending: Klarides Votes Against Massive Tax Hikes, Borrowing

HARTFORD — Rep. Themis Klarides tonight voted against a huge tax-hike budget that held virtually no spending cuts while demonstrating the legislature’s majority party is unwilling to compromise to settle the state’s multi-billion dollar budget crisis. Klarides, who represents Woodbridge, Orange and Derby said the plan from Democrat leaders put a sales tax cut — from 6 percent to 5.5 percent — proposed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell in jeopardy while threatening to create huge budget holes next year that will require more tax increases. “When it comes to a willingness to make reductions in state spending, we haven’t seen as much as flicker from the majority party over the last eight months,” said Klarides, Deputy Republican Leader. “If the mom and dad with three kids or the guy who owns the coffee shop down the street have changed their priorities, why can’t we? It’s time the legislature face that reality.”

Instead, the budget put forth by Democratic leadership is built on unprecedented levels of debt, gimmicks and holes that will require even more taxes in the near future, Klarides said.

The majority party’s approach to getting Connecticut on solid financial footing calls for a $1.5 billion increase in taxes, borrowing $2 billion to plug holes in the next two years, emptying the $1.4 billion Rainy Day account and counting on $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money.

Right now, the state’s budget deficit stands upward of $8 billion.

Last week, Rell offered her compromise plan to settle the budget standoff and Democrats responded by increasing taxes without corresponding savings in state government.

“I’m frustrated thats this proposal is the best they could do for Connecticut when people are just trying to hold on to their jobs,” Klarides said. “People want compromise, they want a budget. Despite promises to the contrary, residents will hear a familiar tune—more spending and taxes.”

Klarides and her Republican colleagues have offered alternative “No Tax Increase” budgets three times with significant spending cuts but preserved critical social services programs, maintained aid to towns and cities and schools to mitigate against local property tax hikes.

Klarides said there were others reasons for voting against the Democratic plan:
• It delays the proposed sales tax cut from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and could eliminate it altogether next year depending on revenue projections;
• It claims spending cuts of $380 million but only $180 million is realistic;
• No state mandate relief for municipalities.

The budget goes to Rell for action.

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