GOP legislators decry budget


HARTFORD — Three local Republican lawmakers harshly criticized the nearly $40.3 billion two-year, Democrat-negotiated state budget that was narrowly approved in the House and Senate Wednesday.

The budget proposes to spend slightly more than $19.8 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year and slightly less than $20.5 billion in the 2016-17 fiscal year. The budget was approved, 73-70, in the House and 19-17 in the Senate.

The revenue package raises $670.5 million from higher taxes in the first year and $496.1 million in the second year. When licenses, fees and other revenue sources are tabulated, the overall figure adds up to $1.4 billion over the two-year budget cycle.

“The people of Connecticut should be outraged at this budget that was passed in the House by the majority party Democrats [Wednesday] morning. A mere four years ago, the people of Connecticut were promised by the governor and majority party Democrats in the legislature that their shared sacrifice would put this state on the path to prosperity as they rammed through the largest tax hike in state history. Yet here we are again, with the empty promises and failed leadership of the majority party having just past the second largest tax hike in Connecticut’s history, this time promising ‘brighter tomorrow’s’. It is insulting, and incredibly disingenuous to our taxpayers,” said state Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) in a press release, adding that 11 House Democrats voted with Republicans against the budget.

A number of measures were approved to finance state spending that include, adding a new top rate of 6.99 percent to the income tax for single filers making more than $500,000 a year and married couples making more than $1 million a year; delaying an increase in the exemption for single filers for one year; lowering the credit for local property taxes on income tax from $300 to $200, adding keno to the state lottery lineup.

The clothing and footwear exemption for items under $50 has also been removed, and the credit for local property taxes on income tax was lowered from $300 to $200.

“Coming on the heels of what was the then-largest tax increase in state history of $1.8 in 2011, this new budget is even more unbelievable,” said state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) in a press release. “The Republican caucus proposed a balanced budget that came in under the Constitutional Spending Cap and was fully vetted by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. To view the people of our state as a blank check is abhorrent and I could not, and will not, vote in favor of massive tax increases like these. Connecticut needs to address spending, not raise taxes on those who are already struggling in a lagging state economy.”

State Rep. David Labriola (R-131) said, in a press release, the budget is the wrong direction for Connecticut.”

“Raising taxes on our citizens and small businesses is a cold slap in the face to our state, and I will not be party to it,” Labriola said in the release. “I support the alternate (Republican) budget proposal which is balanced, holds the line on spending, and doesn’t raise taxes.”

The Republican-American contributed to this article.