Even as they support Malloy, Democrats refine his tax hike plan
'There will be adjustments': Lawmakers want to cut tax burden under Malloy plan
Updated 5:09 pm, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Malloy, the first Democratic chief executive in two decades, has for weeks been traveling the state pushing a plan to reduce Connecticut's deficit through $1.5 billion in tax increases, $1 billion in union concessions and $750 million in program cuts.
"We're working hard to meet his bottom line (but) on the tax side there will be some adjustments," said Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn.
Williams said a proposal to tax the full value of goods purchased with coupons will likely be eliminated.
Other sources said Democrats hope to save the popular $500 property tax credit Malloy proposed be canceled to save $365 million.
Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, co-chairwoman of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said legislators are also looking to alter Malloy's income tax hikes, which critics complain fall too heavily on the middle class.
"There might be a different spread," said Daily.
"Will there be slight differences? Ever so slight," she said.
Democrats said any changes will be discussed with the administration, which is trying to plug a $3.2 billion budget deficit.
"We don't intend to surprise the governor," Daily said.
Appropriations and Finance have until April 26 and 27, respectively, to vote out a budget. But Williams said the Democrats' goal is to get that done next week.
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said the GOP will present a budget alternative.
"We cannot sustain the level of spending that the governor has," he said. "We cannot pile these taxes on."
Cafero said while the Malloy administration made overtures to include Republicans earlier this year, it appears most of the decisions are being made with Democratic legislators. That, Cafero said, could prove to be a mistake by the governor.
"Let's assume he does not get the concessions he wants. He's said he won't increase taxes, which means taking it out on the appropriations side. That's more programs that are cut, more spending cuts, which results in losing more and more Democratic support," Cafero said. "He's got to come to the other side of the aisle, I presume, for some votes. What would I say if he knocked on the door? `Where you been?' "
Questions have been raised over whether it is fair or realistic to expect the unions to agree to what would amount to $2 billion worth of concessions over two years.
"We're on record as wanting to see a budget that truly asks for and implements shared sacrifice," union spokesman Larry Dorman said Monday.
But Democrats said they are unwilling to calculate a different figure into the budget the committees take up next week.
"That would be interfering with negotiations the governor's having," Daily said.
"It's got to all be done in consultations," Olsen said.
Cafero said were it a Republican governor crafting a budget around $2 billion in unspecified union concessions, the Democratic response would be far different.
"Not only would they be crying foul, they'd be protesting the (executive) mansion," Cafero said. "This would be another Wisconsin."