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Moderate Democrats caution against raising taxes

In a break from the progressive wing of their party, the Moderate Democratic Caucus issued a statement rejecting calls for increasing Connecticut’s tax rates, a statewide property tax and a proposal to break the state’s Constitutional Spending Cap.

“Now is not the time to increase the tax burden on the residents of businesses of Connecticut,” the statement says. “Many families and businesses are struggling because of COVID-19 and it is disheartening that the news coming from some legislators would directly affect their wallets.”

The press statement comes after weeks of highly-publicized proposals from legislative leaders like Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and thirty other Democratic lawmakers who are recommending statewide property taxes on higher-value homes, increasing tax rates for Connecticut’s top earners and adding a surcharge or a 5 percent tax on capital gains for those with incomes over $500,000.

According to Sen. Looney and Rep. Quentin Phipps, D-Middletown, those tax proposals — largely reflective of those proposed by left-leaning Connecticut Voices for Children — would generate revenue to be funneled into Connecticut’s cities, education spending and a one-time $500 stimulus payment for Connecticut residents who have lost their jobs.

They are also asking the governor to declare a “fiscal emergency” in order to bypass the state’s Constitutional Spending Cap.

Connecticut has a budget surplus this year, but lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont are tasked with solving a $2.5 billion budget deficit for the upcoming biennial budget. Connecticut has over $3 billion in its Reserve Fund and expects more federal money to help with its COVID-19 response.

“When we have money in the bank, the last thing we should be leading with is increasing the tax burden on people,” said Rep. Kerry Wood, D-Rocky Hill. “Instead, we have our economy to make a priority so let’s reinvest in Connecticut’s growing biotech and manufacturing sector and expand workforce training.”

“In 2017 Democrats and Republicans came together to implement a Spending Cap, a Bonding Cap and a Volatility Cap,” said Rep. Pat Boyd, D-Pomfret. “The direct result of those structural changes has put Connecticut in a position to have a robust rainy day fund, a budget surplus, and improved bond rating. We must continue to get our fiscal house in order to position Connecticut for future success.”

Republicans have likewise rejected the calls for further tax increases. Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, R-, said it would be a $4 billion proposal and would be “the largest tax increase in Connecticut history,” according to NBC Connecticut.

House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said he sees an opportunity to form a coalition with “Democrats who share our concerns about the state’s economy and disagree with the push to dismantle the fiscal controls Republicans fought to include in the historic bipartisan budget.”

“What’s transpired over the last two days spotlights the growing ideological turbulence within the legislature’s majority party. Progressives have grown bolder and louder, pushing for tax increases and more spending, while so-called moderates are drawing a line in the sand—after enduring several tax hikes, residents, they say, can’t afford to pay more,” Candelora said.

The Progressive Caucus, however holds a strong presence in the House of Representatives claiming 43 members, and the Democrat majority in the Senate is led by Senate President Pro-Tem Martin Looney, who is pushing hard for both his statewide property tax and capital gains surcharge proposals.

Gov. Ned Lamont has thus far not embraced the idea of broad tax increases and is expected to release his budget proposal next Wednesday.

“As a coalition, we are urging the Governor and our legislative colleagues to hold the line on taxes, take advantage of Federal COVID Relief Funding, use caution when spending the rainy-day fund, and continue to pay down our unfunded pension liabilities, which is the perennial burden on our budget process,” the statement says.

The Moderate Democratic Caucus has 25 members, according to their press release.

**This article was updated to include comment from Rep. Candelora**

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch is the author of several books and novels including Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science and Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot. Marc was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and his work has appeared in The Federalist, American Thinker, The Skeptical Inquirer, World Net Daily and Real Clear Policy. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University. Marc can be reached at Marc@YankeeInstitute.org

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Bonnie Eden
    March 21, 2021 @ 6:30 am

    If statewide property taxes are Going to happen Then we wont pay town property taxes? Obviously peoplE cant pay both!!

    Reply

  2. Avatar david morin
    March 24, 2021 @ 1:54 am

    doesnt matter , half the state is out of work, you should be lowering taxes not raising them, how you like the3 dollar gas prices after having them below 2 dollars with trump for 4 years, all you democrats are doing is just giving ct homeowners another reason to move to arizona, where proprty taxes there are just $598 dollars a year on homes up to 180k and increased 2% more for 185k- 300k , before you start blaming republicans just remember all you democrats over turned the bill when ct was tax free in 1991, look where it got you? its all your fault, you created the mess you take resonsibility for it! quit blaming others!

    Reply

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