Stratford Star, August 6, 2009
Stratford’s Republican legislators argued that tax increases “will put jobs at risk” after visiting a local businessman Thursday.
Rep. John A. Harkins, Rep. Lawrence G. Miller, and Sen. Dan Debicella met with Jamie Scott of Stratford, an executive at Air Handling Systems, a family-owned manufacturing business in Woodbridge.
After touring the facility, the legislators each expressed concern that proposed business tax increases will cause further job losses in Connecticut.
Scott reportedly told the legislators that in addition to layoffs, Air Handling Systems has had to reduce working hours for remaining employees as a result of a slow economy and poor state business climate.
“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,” Miller (R- 122nd) said in a press release. “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.”
The Republicans said Democrats in Hartford have proposed $1.8 billion in tax increases for fiscal 2009-10, while 7,000 Connecticut businesses closed between January and June.
“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,” said Harkins (R-120th). “Anything that adds significantly to the cost of doing business in our state — such as the 15% 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.”
Harkins said the rising employment rate has other effects, pointing to more than 12,000 foreclosure starts this year and a 49% increase in personal bankruptcy filings in the second quarter from the same period in 2008.
“Connecticut families cannot afford the $500 to $700 in increased taxes proposed by the Democratic majority,” said 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.”