Republicans say “secret teacher tax” just soundbite politics

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Chanting “Veto!” a lunchtime crowd of about 200 union members, liberal activists and community leaders came together to urge support for the Governor’s promised veto of the Republican budget plan passed by the Assembly early Saturday morning.

Carlos Moreno of the Working Families Party led the rally, saying, “The one way that you can make an impact today with all of our voices is to call the Governor and ask him, or tell him that you want a veto. That you support the veto.”

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There’s no doubt that the Governor will veto the Republican budget, and on Thursday, said he absolutely ruled out the possibility of even making any modifications to it as he and Democratic leaders continued their public relations push against it and tearing it apart.

Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), the Senate Majority Leader, stated, “We found a secret teacher tax which increases teacher pension payments for teachers which would not go to pay down debt but it would actually go into the general fund which is totally contrary to everything Republicans have said over time.”

Organizers of Thursday’s “Support the Veto Rally” say the so-called “secret teacher tax” in the Republican budget would cost teachers about  $1,500 a year and would not go to fund their retirement. This brought a retort from House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Vin Candelora (R-North Branford), who said, “That’s sort of sound byte politics to try to get people upset.”

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Republican leaders say that the intent of the increase of teacher pension contributions from the current six percent to eight percent is to have those funds be directed to the pension fund and is not included as added revenue in their overall budget. That Democrats are seeing a ‘slight of hand’ where there isn’t one.

Added Candelora, “We have sent a letter to the teacher retirement board to confirm that that is the intent, that the Office of Policy and Management be directed to put that two percent into the teacher retirement fund.”

The Governor also said Thursday that the Republican budget defunds many important workforce job training programs, which Republicans say we just can’t afford.

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