Senator Kissel Opposes Tax Increases

September 1, 2009

Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) early this morning cast his vote in opposition to the budget proposal estimated to raise taxes $1.2 billion dollars.

“While there were portions of this budget I was very happy about,” said Sen. Kissel, “I could not vote for a plan that would actually increase total state spending from this year’s level at a time when every household is cutting back and we are already running one of the highest per capita budget deficits in the country. I certainly don’t want to see the safety net of social services that so many folks in Connecticut rely on damaged, but we also need to live within our means.”

The budget that passed at 2:30 am this morning increases the income tax on single filers making above $500,000 and joint filers making about $1,000,000, the cigarette tax from $2 per pack to $3 per pack, and raises, often doubles, dozens of fees. The bill also purports to reduce the sales tax from 6% to 5.5%, but only if monthly revenue estimates are met.

“I was pleased to see funding for Dial-A-Ride and Family Resource Centers preserved as those are two services many of my constituents rely on and they carry relatively small fiscal notes. I also proposed raising reimbursement rates by 5% for adult day centers like Enfield Adult Day Center and the Felician Sisters Adult Day Care this year, and that desperately needed adjustment was included. That said, above and beyond the tax and fee increases the budget sets us up for a hard day of reckoning in 2012. The majority borrowed over $900 million to pay for last fiscal year’s deficit but the bonds don’t start having to be paid for until 2012, with a huge interest rate. The Federal stimulus won’t be there in 2012. The Rainy Day Fund is being totally wiped out. We’ll be $4 billion in the red come 2012 before we spend one dollar on vital program. That’s irresponsible. There are still many areas of cuts I had hoped our majority party would visit, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to actually shrink government. We’ve been postponing difficult financial decisions for far too long and with each year our options get worse and worse.”

The budget, which passed both the House and Senate in the early morning hours, will be before Governor Rell for her signature. She has not indicated whether she will sign the bill or just allow it to become law, but she is not expected to veto it.

“I was hoping that given this difficult recession we would use this as an opportunity to reinvent a more affordable state government. Someday we’ll have to do that, but this year the majority just kicked the can down the road, and that’s why, on balance, I could not support this budget.” Senator Kissel concluded.