In 1992, an overwhelming majority of voters approved a constitutional amendment that enshrined a spending cap in the state’s constitution. The cap was part of the deal lawmakers made with state residents with they implemented an income tax. But – after 24 years – the spending cap still has not been fully implemented. This is because lawmakers have failed to do their due diligence and define key terms in the spending cap definition.
This week lawmakers on the Human Services Committee will vote on the Working Class Tax, a tax on jobs. This tax would be mean Connecticut employers would have to pay the state $1 per hour for every hour worked by an employee who earns less than $15 an hour. Every job matters in our state, and this tax means there will be fewer jobs, and things like your gas and groceries will be more expensive. We already tax too many things in Connecticut – we shouldn’t tax jobs too.
We were told Connecticut had recovered all of the private sector jobs that were lost during the Great Recession, but new numbers released today show that this is not true. Previously, state labor officials had reported that the state gained 26,900 jobs last year. Today that number was revised down by the Connecticut Department of Labor to 12,200, a reduction of more than half.
Yesterday the General Assembly's Labor Committee heard testimony on two bills that, if passed, would mean new taxes adding up to 7 percent or more of the income of many Connecticut residents. The bills were Senate Bill 221, “An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave,” and House Bill 5591, “An Act Creating the Connecticut Retirement Security Program.”
As you know, many families already struggle to pay for the cost of a college education. Students are coming out of school deeply in debt. Our state’s flagship school, the University of Connecticut, has become a world-renowned research university, in no small part because of the state’s continued financial commitment. But more and more students are getting priced out of this public university because of tuition increases. Tuition at the University of Connecticut is expected to go by 31 percent over the next four years, which is likely to vastly outpace inflation and income increases in the private sector.
The Department of Motor Vehicles, which recently saw its commissioner resign amid serious customer service problems, spent $1.9 million on overtime in the first six months of fiscal year 2016, already exceeding the $1.7 million spent in 2015. DMV overtime is only likely to increase with a backlog of hundreds of thousands of requests. Gov. Dannel Malloy recently appointed Dennis Murphy, former deputy commissioner of the Labor Department, to replace Andres Ayala as DMV commissioner.