Tax Freedom Day comes later and later in Conn. [Waterbury Republican-American]

May 14, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Waterbury Republican American

Rep-Am — Budget hawks marked Tax Freedom Day in Connecticut on Monday, even as more tax increases loomed. As of Monday, the state’s citizens earned enough money to satisfy their federal, state and local tax obligations, according to the Tax Foundation’s calculations. This is the latest date in the nation.

“Our message is simple: The people of Connecticut can’t take it any more,” said Sen. Joe Markley, R-16th District., who along with Rep. Robert C. Sampson, R-Wolcott, held a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday to note the date.

Despite such protests, tax burdens stand to increase based on the budget plans Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature’s Democratic majority proposed. Both plans retain a scheduled increase in the state’s wholesale tax on gasoline that is due to take effect July 1. The state already has one of the highest gas taxes in the country.

The July 1 increase is expected to raise $60 million based on current prices. Pump prices are anticipated to rise between 3 and 4 cents per gallon.

Malloy and the Democrats also continue a temporary, 20 percent surcharge on the corporation tax for two more years. It is anticipated to raise $44 million next year and $74 million the following year.

Towns and cities warn proposed changes to municipal aid could force increases to local property taxes to offset revenue losses. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities estimates the Democratic budget cuts $152 million from unrestricted town aid and Malloy’s plan cuts $128 million. Fiscal conservatives on Monday bemoaned that taxpayers in Connecticut work 3 weeks longer to pay taxes than the average American does, based on the Tax Foundation’s findings.

Markley noted that Tax Freedom Day is marching deeper and deeper into the year. This is the fifth straight year Connecticut was last in the country, said Jerry Labriola Jr., the state Republican Party chairman. Tax Freedom Day was May 5 last year. Sampson said it was April 27 three years ago, when he was first elected. Nationally, the Tax Foundation reported that Tax Freedom Day is five days later in 2013 due mainly to the fiscal cliff deal that raised federal taxes. The foundation is a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C.

Markley and Sampson also blamed the six-day swing in Connecticut partly on the record tax increases Malloy and the Democrat-controlled legislature enacted two years ago. Republican leaders decided against proposing an alternative budget plan. Malloy’s office and the Democratic leadership slammed the decision, which was made public last week.

“Republicans will find any excuse to lob baseless attacks at the governor, but they can’t find the time to produce a budget,” said Andrew Doba, a Malloy spokesman.

Markley said the state’s tax burden is “choking off growth and initiative. It is making it impossible for young people in the state. It is driving our senior citizens out of the state, and it is breaking the back of middle class taxpayers. … There is just no more to give, and government has got to learn to live within its means.” In contrast, a coalition of unions and advocacy groups known as Better Choices for Connecticut said some taxes aren’t high enough. The group proposes raising income taxes on earnings of more than $1 million, broadening the sales tax, increasing cigarette taxes and changing how business income is taxed.