Rep. Noujaim wrote a letter to the editor for the Republican-American newspaper, and published it on Sunday, May 8, 2011. Below is the letter in its entirety.
Last Tuesday, the legislature voted on a budget to cover the next two years of state spending. I took the time to look at this budget’s impact on you and I, as taxpayers, and its impact on Waterbury as a whole. And I, along with my 51 Republican colleagues and 15 Democrats, voted no.
This disastrous budget hits home in many ways. First and foremost, it raises taxes on everything you can think of. It raises the sales tax to 6.35 percent from 6 percent, taxes nonprescription drugs, eliminates the exemption for clothing and shoes costing less than $50, and taxes everything from towing and car-repair services to pet grooming and hospitals.
The budget supposedly eliminated the proposed 3 percent tax increase per gallon of gasoline. But it added an increase on the gross-receipts tax on gasoline to make up the difference — another deceptive, hidden tax.
Most agree the state is in a difficult financial position, and changes are needed. But I believe we need to cut state spending, reduce waste through consolidations of repetitive agencies, and reduce the state’s workforce. State government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
Many of my colleagues in the legislature obviously disagreed. They thumbed their noses at voters and voted yes to these crippling taxes.
Waterbury stands to lose more than $631,529 in the first year of this budget and $672,367 in the second. Those losses, coming from reductions in funding for schools and hospitals, must be made up by city taxpayers through increased fees and higher local taxes.
You may be told Waterbury actually will receive more money through new manufacturing grants and revenue-sharing programs. That’s not entirely true; here’s why. The Manufacturing Transition Grant is actually the PILOT-MME grant from last year with a new name and the same funding level.
We are told municipalities are protected from tax increases. So far, that is true, Waterbury is projected to fetch $2.1 million in 2012 and $2.4 million in 2013 through the Municipal Revenue Sharing program. However, if one deducts the losses mentioned above, the results become less appealing.
These supposed additional funds are contingent upon concessions from the state employee unions that are being pursued by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. If anticipated revenues do not materialize, the burden on you will be even higher.
I want to know how a yes vote helps the people of Waterbury and I want to know how some elected representatives could vote in favor of such a devastating budget and then proclaim this is “a good thing for our city.”