HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republicans at the State Capitol have put together a budget plan that rejects much of what the Governor had proposed and does not raise any taxes. It also revamps the funding plan for local public schools. With a Democrat-Republican tie in the State Senate and just a 4 vote margin in the House, Republicans are newly emboldened and say they are ready for their ideas to be taken more seriously.
“We have put together a no tax increase budget for the eleventh year in a row…that budget is fully vetted,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby). The Republican plan calls for: no increase in the sales tax, no increase in the income tax, eliminates the income tax on Social Security, no increase in the pistol permit fee and no increase in the cigarette tax. Many of these items are favored by some Democrats.
Another one of the Governor’s most controversial proposals — to allow cities to assess property taxes against hospitals is not in the Republican plan. Many Democrats also are opposed to this.
Republicans say they can create a more equitable school aid distribution formula and do not call for the cities and towns to contribute millions to the teacher pension plan as the Governor had proposed. This also is not favored by many Democrats.
The Governor’s office immediately issued a statement thanking the Republicans for their plan and noted that with incoming income tax revenue collapsing, he will meet with leaders from both parties next week in his office to try to find a solution. The Republicans, who noted that estimates of revenue from the April 18th income tax filings are now running over $290 million below expectations, that all future revenue estimates in budget planning are a moving target. Senate Republican President Pro tem Len Fasano (R-North Haven) added, “We all know that revenue numbers over the last few days have not been a great pride for the state.”
While the Republican plan does reject most of what the Governor proposed back in February, they are calling for $700 million in concessions from the state labor unions. More revenue estimates are expected to be released on Monday, but it appears what was an estimated $1.7 billion deficit next year may now be $2 billion.
For a closer look at the Republican plan, you can see all of the details in the budget summary here.