HARTFORD — State Rep. Rob Sampson tonight voted against a two-year state budget proposal from majority Democrats that’s built on house-of-cards revenue schemes, increased government spending and middle class tax hikes that threaten Connecticut’s fragile economic recovery. Democrats pushed their $40 billion budget pact with Gov. Dannel Malloy through the House by an 83 to 67 vote, voting against the Republican “no tax increase” alternative proposal along the way. “Considering the financial struggles faced by residents every day, the ‘shared sacrifice’ tax hikes included in this budget are irresponsible—particularly when majority legislators have ignored every idea that doesn’t require the to state reach into somebody’s wallet again,” Sampson said.
State senators approved the Democrat plan early Tuesday in a narrow vote. The controversial budget now awaits signature from Malloy—the architect of the largest tax increase (nearly $4 billion) in state history.
Among Sampson’s points of concern is state revenue estimates that rely on controversial tax schemes the state’s top tax collector warned won’t work: the so-called “Amazon Tax” and a tax on cosmetic surgeries. And Democrats, Sampson said, took an eyebrow-raising gamble in approving their budget before securing $2 billion in state worker union concessions they need to keep their biennium budget in the black. What’s more, the Democrat budget uses heavy tax hikes on middle class families to build a nearly $1 billion state surplus.
Those increases include a retroactive hike for middle class wage earners as well as a sales tax hike (6 to 6.35 percent) that will make goods and services with already-increasing prices even more expensive, Sampson said. Democrats have taxed everything from non-prescription drugs to concert tickets, also stripping the tax-free exemption for clothing and shoes under $50. They slashed the $500 property tax exemption, too.
The budget from Democrats, at a price tag of $110 million, also includes an Earned Income Tax Credit that will see residents who don’t earn enough money to pay taxes receive a maximum $1,700 check from the state.
Sampson saw Democrats vote against his amendment to eliminate the state’s business entity tax—a tangible step toward giving Connecticut the “open for business” label Malloy was unable to deliver in this budget.
Last month, Sampson joined House and Senate Republicans in drafting and offering a balanced, “no tax increase” budget proposal that spent $900 million less than the plan approved Tuesday by Democrats.
Among the steps Republicans used for savings in their “no tax increase” budget:
• Maintain state aid for municipalities while providing significant municipal mandate relief;
• Republicans plan to save more than $46 million through agency consolidations;
• State government will be streamlined through attrition and reduction in the 54,000- state payroll;
• No money will be borrowed for day-to-day state operations;
• Cap one of two state taxes on gasoline: the “gross receipts” tax.