GOP Blasts Malloy on Tax Increases [Courant]

June 8, 2015

Hartford Courant
Two top Republicans in the state legislature are blasting Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for the budget and tax package that he helped craft with Democratic leaders.

Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven and deputy Senate leader Kevin Witkos of Canton issued a joint statement Friday about the taxes that include increases on corporate, personal income, and cigarettes.

In addition, the popular property tax credit on the state income tax will drop from $300 to $200 in the 2016 tax year. The bigger impact on thousands of families, however, is that the income threshold for receiving the maximum credit will drop to $70,500 for married couples filing jointly. Currently, families earning up to $100,500 are eligible for the maximum credit.

“If the governor thinks he’s not responsible for raising taxes, he is absolutely delusional,” Fasano and Witkos said. “The budget voted on by the General Assembly was crafted by Democrat lawmakers and the governor himself behind closed doors. He helped provide individual legislators with special deals to get their votes. They shook on that deal – a deal that shortchanges the people of Connecticut and pushes a $2 billion tax hike onto the shoulders of our families and employers. The governor has not kept his promise. Not only has he not kept his promise, but he has been complicit in breaking his promise. Saying anything otherwise, is a straight out falsehood.”

If Malloy vetoes the budget, then he could “put a stop to this madness that he himself created,” the Republicans said. “Attempting to distance himself from the budget is not a sign of leadership but evidence of compliance. And at a time of fiscal crisis, Connecticut is in desperate need of a leader, not a manipulator.”

“However the governor tries to spin it, he has proposed and welcomed new taxes and new burdens into our state,” the Republicans said. “Aside from the budget now before us, even the governor’s individual budget presented to the legislature back in February increased taxes by over $900 million. Who is he kidding saying otherwise?”

But Malloy’s spokesman, Devon Puglia, fired back that the Republicans have not embraced Malloy’s transportation plan.

“It’s the same old bogus pattern with the GOP – they want you to believe you can get something for nothing,” Puglia said. “Republicans want you to think that you can go to the mall, pick out all the items you want from your favorite stores, and walk out without paying anything. They’ve complained that the cuts we proposed were too deep, but then don’t propose a way to ever pay for them. We’ve delivered the largest investment in transportation in Connecticut history, and yet they still find a way to oppose it.”

Puglia added, “They want to have their cake, eat it too, and then claim they never wanted cake to begin with.”

In another development Friday afternoon, the president of the 10,000-member Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Joseph Brennan, sent a letter to Malloy that asked for a meeting with top leaders to discuss the impact of the business tax increases.

“The reaction to this budget among members of the business community has been unprecedented in my 27 years at CBIA,” Brennan wrote to Malloy. “As you know, we have been working every day to improve our national business climate rankings. Our standing as a good place to locate jobs is on the line, and I hope that by working together we can balance the need to deliver services with the need for sustained economic growth.”

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol press room, Brennan said he has spoken to leaders of other companies who are considering leaving the state, but he declined to provide any names because the conversations were private and he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the companies.

Brennan has been lobbying for businesses at the Capitol during the governorships of William O’Neill, Lowell Weicker, John Rowland, M. Jodi Rell, and Malloy. During that time, the business community never stepped forward after the budget was passed and tried to speak with top leaders.

“We’ve never asked for this before,” Brennan said. “I think we have to ask.”

Puglia responded, “The governor and Joe have spoken several times in recent days. He’s happy to meet with him one-on-one. If he wanted a meeting, not sure why he didn’t just ask for one over the phone.”