HARTFORD — Rep. John Rigby on 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. Rigby, who represents seven Northwest Corner towns, 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.“It’s no secret that residents want reductions in state spending and a progression toward a leaner, more efficient government,” said Finance Committee member Rigby. “Tonight, we saw the majority not only ignore that mandate, but blow it out of the water with more spending.”
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, Rigby 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.
“A high school accounting student could see through their games,” Rigby said. “If you requested $4 million for a program that cost $2 million last year, but you end up reducing that request to $3 million—well, that’s not a cut. That’s being disingenuous with residents of this state.”
Rigby and his 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.
Rigby 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;
The budget goes to Rell for action.