Budget Takes More from Middle Class While Killing Jobs

Budget Takes More from Middle Class While Killing Jobs
by Suzanne Bates | Jun 1, 2015 | Tax and Budget | 0 comments

As we near a vote on this year’s budget, it should be very clear to lawmakers that Connecticut residents – their constituents – do not want them to raise taxes. They want them to cut spending.
As news about budget “compromise” trickles out, it is clear that state leaders have ignored pleas not to raise taxes:
The latest news reports suggest every middle-class homeowner will pay another $100 per year in income taxes.
It increases taxes on businesses by $500 million over two years – a 73 percent increase.
This budget ignores calls from residents and editorial pages across the
state to ask state employees to deliver on $253 million in promised concessions.
And this budget blows through the state’s constitutional spending cap.
As we reached out to people during this legislative session to let them know about the proposed tax hikes, what we heard back was a tremendous outpouring of frustration and anger. And this was from people across the political spectrum.
The message was clear:
No tax increases.
Cut spending.
Stick to the constitutional spending cap.
Here are a few actual quotes from Connecticut residents:
“Connecticut residents can’t afford higher taxes! The middle class is being pushed out of the state! STOP the spending!”
“Regardless of which political party we identify with, how can we continue to dive deeper into debt and expect others to pay for it through more taxes or in following generations? We need leadership who take responsibility.”
“This will be the death of Connecticut. It’s time to leave the state.”
People are angry. They are frustrated. They are ready to leave.
We need Connecticut residents to fall in love with their state again, and this budget won’t help.
In a poll commissioned by the Yankee Institute, nearly 70 percent of likely voters said they were less likely to support a lawmaker who voted to increase taxes.
Even more – 73 percent – said they were less likely to support a lawmaker who voted for a budget that exceeded the constitutional spending cap.
While the state has added some jobs in the past year, Connecticut’s job growth lags behind other states in our region and nationally.
The state’s unemployment rate is 6.3 percent, almost a full percentage point above the national rate of 5.4 percent, and the highest in New England.
The people of our state need jobs, not more government spending. This is not a budget that will increase confidence in Connecticut among small business owners and other business leaders. General Electric has already warned lawmakers it might not want to stay if this budget passes.
And while state leaders say it will offer property tax relief, how many local lawmakers – not to mention residents – trust that the state will do what it says and actually send the money it has promised to targeted cities and towns?
And who’s to say the municipalities will lower taxes – and not use that money to increase spending?
This budget would make the state even more reliant on its wealthiest residents, making it even more vulnerable to the fluctuations and fortunes of Wall Street.
Lawmakers need to show some responsibility to their constituents. They need to show they care about job growth and the well-being of the middle class. They need to listen to the people who elected them.

Cut spending. Don’t raise taxes.

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Suzanne Bates

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