Capitol Connection: Protecting All Voices in the Tax Debate

May 7, 2015

NoNewCTTaxes.com
Everyone in our nation has a right to speak their mind and share their opinions. We all have a voice, and that voice should be protected and never smothered. That’s why Republicans will be holding a special public informational hearing at the state Capitol this week. We hope to give everyone a voice on a very important issue that impacts us all: taxes.

In Connecticut, we have a legislative process that embraces freedom of speech and requires a public hearing on any and all pieces of legislation that go before the state General Assembly. A bill cannot be passed until the public has an opportunity to share their thoughts with the lawmakers crafting and voting on the bill.

In government your voice matters. So you can imagine when a proposal to increase taxes by almost $2.4 billion was voted out of the state Finance Committee with no public hearing, I was shocked.

The proposal was part of the Democrat’s proposed budget package. While the bill their proposal was attached to had a public hearing earlier this year, the proposed changes were not made until after the hearing. As a result, the public was never given an opportunity to comment on the tax hikes.

Republican leaders reacted by asking Democrats to hold a bipartisan public hearing on the proposed tax increases. When there was no response, Republicans moved forward and planned a public informational hearing independently.

With billions of dollars in proposed tax hikes, people deserve an opportunity to share their concerns about the impact of these new taxes on our everyday lives. In recent years our state has already seen record breaking tax hikes. And even with these burdensome increases, our state still has serious financial problems. Tax increases are not effective when the economy is struggling and Connecticut residents simply cannot afford another tax hike.

That being said, this public informational hearing is truly an opportunity for everyone, for or against the tax hikes, to explain their perspective and share their stories. It’s fundamentally wrong to deny the public a voice. So we are speaking out and spreading the word.

If you want to share your thoughts on the proposed tax hikes you can submit written testimony on www.NoNewCTtaxes.com. If you don’t like the hikes, consider signing the petition to say “No” to new taxes. And most importantly, if you are able to, please consider attending the public hearing to testify in person. The presence of the public at the Capitol is the best way to initiate important dialogue.

The Republicans’ hearing will take place on Monday, May 11 at 1:30pm in Room 1E at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave. Hartford. Sign-up sheets to speak will be available at 10:00AM in the Atrium on the 1st floor of the LOB. Please bring 25 copies of written testimony by 12:00PM if you are able to testify in person. Testimony may be submitted via email in PDF format to [email protected]. To view a full list of tax proposals that will be discussed at the hearing visit: http://ctsenrepublic.wpengine.com/2015/05/democrats-proposed-taxes-that-have-not-had-a-public-hearing/#.VUup4YJ0xjp.

Sen. Witkos, Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore, represents the 8th District towns of Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury and Torrington. For more information visit senatorwitkos.com or www.facebook.com/senatorwitkos.