Letter: Democrats missed the mark on budget proposals

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To the editor,

In April, the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee held its final regular meeting for the legislative session. At this meeting, I voted against a Democrat-backed tax package that would result in $1.9 billion in new taxes over the next two years. Unfortunately, this proposal made it out of the committee process with all Republicans and three Democrats voting in opposition.

The proposal is coupled with a spending package passed by the Appropriations Committee that increases spending by 5.5% over the next two years. The Finance Committee package adds new taxes such as a consumption tax, an additional 2% capital gains tax, and a mileage tax on trucks that will inevitably be passed onto consumers. It includes revenues from controversial proposals like the legalization of marijuana and online gambling, and breaks through the state’s spending and volatility caps by moving over a billion dollars off-budget.

Democrats have really missed the mark on their budget proposals. Residents and businesses are still struggling to recover from the effects of COVID-19, and increasing taxes and spending is not the way to help get them back on their feet or instill confidence in government. Fortunately, the governor has already said he does not support this package, though time will tell.

On the bright side, the Finance Committee also passed a long overdue, bipartisan proposal that will eventually return the Unemployment Compensation Fund to solvency. This proposal, which I proudly supported, was worked on by leaders of both parties, the governor and business advocates throughout the session. It will align Connecticut’s unemployment taxes and benefits with neighboring states and lead to tax reductions for 73% of businesses by broadening the taxable wage base. The positive impact on small businesses will be tremendous.

Clearly when we work together, we have positive results. We can only hope that the majority party will be as willing to work with us on their budget proposals as deliberations continue between the full legislature and the governor.

Lezlye Zupkus

Prospect

The writer is a Republican state representative from the 89th General Assembly District covering Prospect, Cheshire and Bethany.