House GOP budget plan calls for no tax hikes

State lawmakers meet at the Capitol. (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s Democratic Speaker of the House says he’s calling the House back into session one week from today to vote on a budget plan.  On Tuesday, House Republican leaders presented their version of a budget and unlike the Democrats‘ plan it calls for no tax hikes of any kind.

House Republican leaders made a big show of presenting their budget plan that they say has been fully vetted in time for next week’s session.   “We feel very strongly about having our budget
called and voted on,” said Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) the House Minority Leader.  Four moderate Democrats sat conspicuously in the front row. It would only take four Democrats to join the 72 Republicans to pass this budget plan.

The House Republican plan calls for no Sales Tax hike.  The Democrats want to jack it up to 6.99 percent.  And preserving the 200 dollar Property Tax Credit. It calls for $2 billion in labor concessions a half a billion dollars more than the deal the unions are voting on this week. And a 10 percent reduction in the state workforce.

Larry Dorman of AFSCME Council 4 believes the plan will only make things worse.

I think it’s nothing more than kabuki theater. It’s an austerity plan that will make things worse for the working people in Connecticut rather than better.”

The GOP plan increases local school and other municipal aid, and does not require the cities and towns to contribute to the State Teacher Pension Fund as the Governor has proposed.  “One of our members’ highest prioritities, obviously, is not having teachers retirement shifted into municipal governments,” said Joe DeLong of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

The plan does not call for the legalization of marijuana, no tolls, no cigarette tax hike, although a lifting of the mill rate cap could cause car taxes to go up in the larger cities.  The plan also calls for the elimination of the ‘Citizens Election Fund.’ That’s the public financing system for political campaigns.  They want to use that $20 to $30 million to help save social programs.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin)  also listened carefully to the Republican proposals and said,  “Some of their proposals today are interesting and we’re going to look at them. Some of them are problematic.”

The Speaker is referring to that two billion in savings from state employees. House Republican leaders say that can be done by statute but there is some question as to whether some of those cuts would violate existing state labor agreements.

For a more detailed look at the House Republicans budget plan click here.

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