State Representatives John A. Harkins and Lawrence G. Miller, and state Senator Dan Debicella today met with Jamie Scott, a Stratford resident and executive at Air Handling Systems, a family-owned manufacturing business in Woodbridge. The lawmakers visited the Scott family’s business to hear first-hand about the concerns of Connecticut employers about the ongoing budget negotiations in Hartford. After touring the facility, the legislators each expressed concern that proposed business tax increases will cause further job losses in Connecticut.
“Mr. Scott’s story of the sacrifices that Air Handling Systems and its employees have had to make in these challenging economic times is all too familiar- and paints a clear picture as to what is at stake in this year’s budget negotiations,” said Rep. Miller (R- 122nd). “Connecticut has lost far too many jobs, and to propose raising taxes on the very same people who provide a source of income for millions of Connecticut families is truly dangerous. Taxing productive and profitable employers will result in further layoffs at a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work.”
Mr. Scott told the legislators in attendance of the hardships his family’s business has been forced to confront in recent months. In addition to layoffs, Air Handling Systems has had to reduce working hours for its remaining employees as a result of a slow economy and poor state business climate.
The Democratic majority in Hartford has proposed $1.8 billion in tax increases for the FY 2009-2010 budget, most of which fall on employers and investors. The tax increases on job creators comes as 7000 Connecticut businesses have closed from January through June of 2009.
“The message we received at today’s roundtable could not have been clearer: Air Handling Systems and other Connecticut companies are struggling just to hang on in today’s stagnant economy. Anything that adds significantly to the cost of doing business in our state – such as the 15 percent increase in the surcharge on corporate profits being pushed by the state legislature’s majority Democrats – will almost certainly lead to more business closings and job losses in the months ahead. It is a mortal threat to Connecticut’s economic future and it is one of the main reasons I will never sign on to a state budget that would raise taxes on employers, families and individuals,” Representative Harkins (R-120th) said.
Rep. Harkins pointed out the collateral damage caused by rising unemployment. Connecticut residents are losing their homes at an alarming rate, with over 12,000 foreclosure starts to date in 2009 alone. Additionally, personal bankruptcy filings have skyrocketed- up 49% in the second quarter of this year from the same period in 2008.
“Connecticut families cannot afford the $500-$700 in increased taxes proposed by the Democratic majority,” said State Senator Dan Debicella (R-21). “We have a better way– we have proposed moderate cuts to return to 2007 levels of spending for programs to balance our budget. Government must be like our families and live within its means.”
Senator Debicella, Ranking Republican member of the General Assembly’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, pointed out that Connecticut has ranked dead last among all fifty states for job growth since 1991. He cautioned that passing a budget that targets employers for tax increases risks adding to the 110,000 jobs the University of Connecticut estimates the state will have lost by the end of the current recession.