CT Republicans Unveil No Tax Increase Budget

May 1, 2017

The “Confident Connecticut” budget includes increased education funding with a new funding formula, restores money for core social services, and provides for significant structural changes to state government that roll out into the future.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) said, “This budget puts Connecticut on a better path without tax increases; without shifting the state’s financial burdens onto towns, cities or hospitals; and without pushing off our obligations onto future generations.”

Sen. George Logan (R-Ansonia) said, “No tax hikes, increased education funding and common sense structural spending reforms. That’s what our Republican alternative budget provides. We were sent to Hartford to lead Connecticut out of our prolonged fiscal crisis and to break the pattern of tax hike after tax hike. We were sent to the State Capitol to put an end to wasteful government spending. Republicans understand that Connecticut residents are overtaxed. We understand that families and businesses are struggling. Our plan helps put Connecticut back on a sustainable, predictable path, we are leading the way forward, and we will work with Democrats and Gov. Malloy to pass it into law.”

State Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria (R-Seymour) added, “Connecticut residents and businesses can’t sustain another tax increase. Our no-tax-increase budget will help regain the confidence of residents and businesses throughout the state. We are taking the lead and focusing on making long-term structural changes, reducing the size of the state government, and reining in out-of-control state spending. We were elected to make the tough decisions and to turn our state around and that is exactly what we laid out in our plan today.”

Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Shelton) said, “This proposal also realizes some considerable structural changes to our state government – we need to rethink the current size and shape of state government. This budget does that by consolidating duplicative administrative functions and privatizing specific functions to best protect core services and maximize efficiencies.”

Sen. Eric Berthel (R-Watertown) said, “With this no tax hike budget, Republicans are leading the way forward. We are listening to taxpayers who are fed up with the heavier and heavier burdens they are carrying. Our plan steers Connecticut away from its current path of tax hike after tax hike. We make common sense structural spending changes. We enact a spending cap. We require votes on union contracts. We lower taxes for Connecticut retirees, and we help seniors age in place. We increase education funding and preserve core government services for our most vulnerable residents. Republicans are leading by example. Republicans are confident that we can get Connecticut out of the financial mess our state is in, and we look forward to working with Democrats and the governor to get this passed into law.”

The Republican budget spends $700 million less than the Democrats’ budget and $313 million less than the governor’s budget. The GOP budget finally establishes a true spending cap with tight restrictions and restores a balanced budget.

Unlike the governor’s education plan, the Republican budget creates a fair and fully functional formula for the distribution of regular and special education funding. Under the GOP formula, towns will receive adequate funding and can plan school budgets well into the future. The Republican budget also accepts full responsibility for paying teachers’ pensions.

Another notable difference between the GOP’s plan and the governor’s plan is tax relief for the middle class and seniors. The Republican plan restores the governor’s cuts to the property tax credit for senior and families and phases out the income tax on pensions and annuity income. In addition, Republicans are looking to exempt social security from income tax for middle-class seniors.

This budget rejects a proposal to eliminate the tax exempt status for hospitals, and therefore protects hospitals from being subject to a new local tax. This budget preserves the small hospital pool to protect funding for community hospitals and does not increase the current hospital tax. It also reinstates hospital Payment in Lieu of Taxes to towns and cities.

On Tuesday, the majority party Democrats in the Appropriations Committee failed to pass a budget proposal by the committee deadline. House and Senate Republicans asked the Democrat chairs on the Appropriations Committee to call a meeting on Thursday to take a vote on the Republican balanced no-tax-increase budget, but the Democrats refused to call the meeting.

If the April income tax estimates hold, the deficit forecast would rise to $2 billion in 2017-18 and $2.2 billion in 2018-19. The Republicans are prepared to take additional steps if state revenues continue to dwindle.