HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state budget crisis moved into a new phase Thursday as one of the state labor unions launched a TV attack commercial against the Republican leaders of the General Assembly.
The Health Care Workers Union has been doing TV spots all along that are critical of budget cuts but now they are attacking Republican state leaders by name and using their pictures to make their points.
An announcer on the spot reads, “Some legislators side with corporate lobbyists to protect billionaires and corporations while attacking middle class workers. Themis Klarides and Len Fasano as the protectors of billionaires.”
In a spoof of a movie trailer the Health Care Workers Union goes after the Republican leaders because they want to change the law covering collective bargaining in order to save the state money in the future. Republicans say the recently approved union concession deal doesn’t go far enough.
The Governor, who today signed the documents to clear the way for a third tribal casino in Connecticut, reacted to the attack ad this way, “I’m just happy they’re attacking somebody other than me.”
When the unions announced their approval of the $1.5 billion concession deal earlier this week, a deal the Governor strongly supports, they repeatedly said the wealthy and corporations should face tax hikes to solve the rest of the budget shortfall. Asked if he is sympathetic to that view the Governor responded, “Not particularly, no.”
The Republican leaders depicted in the TV spot say hiking taxes on the rich has been proven not to work. Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby), the House Minority Leader saying, “This will all show you how out of touch the unions are with our fiscal situation, which is dire.” Sen Len Fasano (R-North Haven) the Senate President Pro tem saying, “Clearly these people are leaving. You continue to tax them, they’re going to do what GE did, they’re going to do what Aetna did. They’re going to get up and leave this state.”
And the Republicans say that even with the concessions the pension and health care benefits enjoyed by state workers is just not sustainable, Klarides adding, “That stuff is in jeopardy right now, it’s in jeopardy if we don’t move the state forward and make these structural changes but clearly they’re not interested in that.”
Democratic House leaders say they could be voting on a budget plan next week that includes that hike in the Sales Tax. Republicans correctly point out that Democrats have always said in the past that the Sales tax is a regressive tax that hits the middle class harder than the wealthy. Asked if he would sign a budget with a Sales Tax hike today the Governor said he hasn’t taken a position on that.