State House passes budget, Senate approval expected Wednesday night [WTNH]

June 4, 2015


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After pulling an all-nighter, the Connecticut House passed a new state budget by a narrow margin Wednesday morning, and the Senate is expected to approve it sometime Wednesday night.

The process was stalled for about 48 hours as some of the state’s biggest corporations threatened to leave or stop expansion because of the new taxes on business, but very little change has been made in those business taxes. The vote was 73 to 70 in the House, just a two-vote margin with 11 Democrats joining 59 Republicans in voting against the bill.

The Democrats in the General Assembly have decided to “take you to the cleaners” every time you get your car washed. For the very first time, the 6.35-percent sales tax will apply to car washes. Cigarette smokers are also going to get hit again as the state will increase the cigarette tax another 50 cents a pack over the next two years, making the Connecticut cigarette tax one of the highest in the nation.

“Could they have cut one dollar on the spending side to show an article of faith? They didn’t, they went to pick another tax to raise and that is very troubling,” said Brian Flaherty of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

After making threats to the legislature and the Governor, some of the state’s biggest corporations will only have their “Data Processing Tax” double instead of triple.

“Because of this budget, businesses will be paying $700 million more in taxes, and the difficulty is no one is addressing the spending side,” added Flaherty.

But Democratic leaders say the new budget does spend $800 million less.

“Businesses and families talk about the biggest tax burden they have are property taxes. This budget addresses that in a very big way,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.

They can make that claim because for the first time, a portion of the sales tax will go back to the cities and towns, and a cap on municipal increases in spending is set. That along with the 30 mill cap on the car tax is what the Democrats are calling a middle-income tax cut that makes the tax structure in Connecticut more fair.

The Governor has been unavailable for interviews all week, but his office was intimately involved in the final deal.

“If he signs this, he’s unequivocally, irrevocably broken a promise that is both a campaign promise and as a Governor, a CEO promise he made to constituents,” said Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven.

That promise, of course, was that he would not raise taxes in a second term. The budget is expected to pass in the state Senate by another narrow margin sometime before the midnight deadline Wednesday night, and then go directly to the Governor.