Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Republicans Introduce 'No Tax Increase' Budget
Perhaps it was long overdue, particularly when you think about the Rowland years, when Governor John used to triangulate legislative Republicans out of the budget process by working with Democrats to advance what sometimes amounted to a complete liberal victory.
I believe that the history of legislative Republicans supporting these terrible budgets of the past played no small part in the reality today; a mere 44 House Republicans, out of 151 members, and only 12 Senate Republicans in the 36-seat circle.
Yesterday morning,House GOP Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) and House Republicans excellently broke from failed tradition and offered an alternative budget that does not increase the state income tax, running counter to the budget offered by Democrats, and perhaps most significantly, that offered by Governor M. Jodi Rell.
It was disappointing not to see the Senate Republicans join with House Republicans. But as budget negotiations begin in earnest today, they may yet dignify themselves in this debate.
With a projected budget surplus approaching $600 million, Governor Rell and General Assembly Democrats want to raise your taxes. Of course, Speaker Jim Amann claims the Democratic budget "cuts taxes for 90% of taxpayers." That's an interesting thing for him to assert, since the Democrat budget increases taxes on individuals making $79,700 or more, and couples making over $150,000 or more; hardly the millionaires liberals keep saying they are going to get to pay their fair share. The Dem budget also reinstates the sales tax on clothing purchases under $50 (that'll definitely teach those millionaires!), not to mention the fact that it increases the business tax, the cigarette tax, the real estate conveyance tax and the funeral tax of all things. Just who does Amann expect us to believe he's "cutting taxes" for?
The House GOP budget isn't perfect. But it does some incredibly positive things. It increases school aid, and more equitably distributes ECS funds. It doesn't cut funding levels for a single thing. Most importantly, it does it without increasing taxes!
Speaker Amann is an arrogant man, unlikely to listen to the reasonable aspects of this budget. I think he ignores it at his peril. Likewise, Governor Rell has a great opportunity to return to form and go for a budget that really "gets it done." She predicted there would be a tax revolt soon. I think she's right.