HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Malloy says his 30-year plan for the state’s transportation system and cuts in current spending will highlight his budget address Wednesday. He is defending his plan to fractionally cut the state sales tax as the best way to help the middle class.
The Governor makes two big formal speeches to the General Assembly each year. The one Wednesday, where he outlines his tax and spending plans, is really the one that has the most impact on the most people.
When the Governor gave his State of the State address last month he made it clear that rebuilding the state’s transportation system will be one of the cornerstones of his second term. Over the last six weeks at media events in every corner of the state he has highlighted deteriorating, antiquated infrastructure that must be replaced, like the 1960’s vintage Mixmaster I-84/Route 8 interchange in Waterbury that will cost more than a billion dollars. In an interview, he still would not say if he’ll do it with a special tax, or tolls, or both, but he is clearly not ruling either out
“Tolls could be part of it,” said Gov. Malloy. “Other methods could be part of it. I’m absolutely committed to gearing this up and setting it in motion so that we can actually have a first class, first in class transportation system.”
He defends his .4-percent cut in the state sales tax as the only fair way to give money back to the middle class.
“The sales tax is something that people complained about when it went up,” said Malloy. “Let me assure, you if I was raising the sales tax by four-tenths of a percent everyone would say it’s the most horrendous thing we’ve ever done.”
To avoid the projected deficit, the Governor says he plans to “flat fund” some programs and actually cut spending on others, noting that the economic recovery is still weak, and postponed payments to state employee pension funds are coming due.
“To maintain that recovery over the long haul we need to ‘trim our sails’ and we need to properly fund our obligations,” said Gov. Malloy.
The Governor also says that a tax on recreational marijuana will not be a funding source in his administration. Some lawmakers are saying Connecticut should follow Colorado’s lead on this, but Governor Malloy says it’s way too early to make a judgement on how the experiment in Colorado and elsewhere is working.