Hartford – Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven), Senate Minority Leader, voted against the state budget for fiscal years 2016-2017 negotiated by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and legislative Democrats behind closed doors. The budget, which passed the Senate late last night and now heads to the governor’s desk, includes a $2 billion tax increase, the second largest tax increase in state history. This budget also includes cuts and changes that would place added burdens on middle and working class families as well as employers of all sizes.
“Despite what we have been promised, despite the rhetoric we have heard from the governor, Connecticut is putting a damper on potential for job growth and fiscal stability,” Fasano said, referencing the governor’s campaign promise to not raise taxes. “This budget represents broken promises and a complete disregard for the warnings made very clear over the past few months. Connecticut cannot afford new taxes. We cannot afford to rely on questionable revenue sources like keno to keep our state running. No one wants to see people leave our state, but I fear this budget will be the last straw for many.”
After starting the Senate debate on the state budget bill around 5:30pm on Wednesday June 3, Senate Republicans attempted to push for a special session on the budget by running out the clock on the legislative session which ended at midnight.
The Republican filibuster was halted when Democrat lawmakers attempted to force a vote and Republicans ended their debate. During the floor discussion in the senate circle, Sen. Fasano also questioned the “closed door” negotiation system and the lack of a long term structural plan to address our financial problems. Sen. Fasano repeatedly asked: “When are we going to change?”
Republicans proposed their own budget, a “Blueprint for Prosperity,” earlier this year that restored many of the governor’s proposed cuts to social services without raising taxes.
Legislative Republicans have fought against the Democrat’s budget proposal by launching an online petition urging the public to tell their lawmakers to say “no” to new taxes at www.NoNewCTtaxes.com. The petition garnered over 10,000 signatures. Lawmakers also held a public information hearing at the state Capitol to give the public an opportunity to share their opinion on the proposed new taxes in the Democrats’ budget. Over 900 people submitted testimony and 100 testified in person, filling three hearing rooms at the Legislative Office Building.
“I want to thank everyone who spoke out about the tax proposals and damaging cuts,” said Fasano. “Your phone calls, your testimony, and your presence at the Capitol made it very clear that this budget was not in the best interest of our state and our taxpayers. I was proud to fight for you, and to fight for change. The passage of this budget represents a sad day for Connecticut. Without a doubt, every family in our state will feel the effects of these dangerous policy decisions. Putting job creators in a chokehold, burdening families and favoring special interests over the good of the public does not create a brighter future for Connecticut.”
The biennial budget will implement the following tax hikes, new taxes, and cuts impacting families across the state:
- Reduces the Property Tax Credit from $300 to $200, impacting many individuals who own a home or a car. Totals a $152 million money grab by the state. 81% of those who utilize the tax credit have annual incomes less than $100,000; 66% have annual incomes less than $75,000; 44% have annual incomes less than $50,000.
- Repeals the scheduled sales tax exemption for clothing/footwear under $50 and reduces the sales tax holiday from applying only to items under $100 instead of $300. Represents a $280 million tax hike.
- Implements a 3% sales tax on the World Wide Web (including digital downloads and ebooks), a new $55 million tax.
- Implements a sales tax on car washes, a new tax totaling $13.6 million.
- Delays the scheduled increase in the Personal Exemption for Single Filers. According to the Department of Revenue Services Personal Income Tax Study of January 2014, 90% of single filers had $75,000 or less of state income. Totals a tax increase of $10.8 million in FY 2016.
- Reduces the burial benefit provided to indigent people by $400 giving their loved ones $1,400 to pay for a funeral.
- Takes away funding for the Veterans honor guard which means no gun salute at a military service members funeral
- Closes intake to the state’s leading “Aging in Place” program, delaying care to seniors in need.
- Implements a sales tax on motor vehicle parking, a new tax totaling $12.2 million.
- Taxes ambulatory surgical centers that perform procedures such as cancer screenings. A $35 million new tax.
- Increases the Hospital Tax. A $211 million annual increase in taxes on hospitals. Added costs will be passed onto patients.
- Delays increase in Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax hike of $22 million on working class families
- Triples the Computer Data & Processing sales tax rate, a tax hike of over $140 million.
- A $500 million tax hike on businesses, which will make it difficult for employers to grow jobs and remain competitive. Jobs affect every single family in our state from all walks of life.
The budget now heads to the governor’s desk where he will have 15 days to either sign or veto the budget.