Berthel: Proposed Tax Package Bad for Connecticut

HARTFORD — A controversial plan to expand the state’s sales tax will hurt families, small business owners, and large industries critical to Connecticut’s economic recovery, state Rep. Eric Berthel said Wednesday.

 Finance Committee member Berthel on Wednesday afternoon voted against a two-year tax package from Democrats that increases taxes $2 billion over two years. Like other Republican members, Berthel found the proposal shocking considering that majority party legislators approved the historic and infamous “shared sacrifice” tax increases just four years ago.

“If you own a dog, you’ll have to pay a tax to get him shots. If you want to get your suit pressed at the dry cleaner, you’ll pay a tax. If you own your own business, you could very well fall under their ‘wealthiest earners’ category and pay more in income tax—even worse, an increase retroactive to the beginning of the year,” said Berthel, who represents Watertown and part of Woodbury. “The list goes on and on. State government has weaseled its way into our pockets in every way imaginable, and considering the plan we received today I’m simply astounded by their creativity to grab more money.”

The tax plan came just 48 hours after the Appropriations Committee’s Democrat leaders offered a radical interpretation of the Constitutional Spending Cap that would give them freedom to install an 8 percent spending increase over two years.

House and Senate Republicans on April 24 issued a budget proposal (cthousegop.com/blueprint) as an alternative to the plan from Gov. Malloy, whose out-of-balance budget was panned by everyone from legislators to librarians. Now, with three frameworks on the table, it will be up to everyone to hammer out a final package for a full General Assembly vote.

The Blueprint for Prosperity budget plan from Republicans proposes the following:

  • Restoring the sales tax exemption on clothing and shoes under $50 that Governor Malloy wants to delay
  • Restoring an income tax exemption for single filers that the governor cuts
  • Phasing out the income tax on pensions under $100,000
  • Eliminating the governor's proposed cap on tax credits that help local businesses

Simultaneously, the plan reprioritizes spending to help those most in need by:

  • Dedicating $18.7 million for mental health care and treatment that the governor underfunds
  • Setting aside $15 million to help alleviate the wait list for services for the developmentally disabled
  • Restoring funding to senior care programs including Alzheimer's respite care and nursing home personal needs allowances
  • Reducing the burdens on our local hospitals

Our plan also preserves value in our communities by rejecting the governor's cuts to

  • State parks
  • Libraries
  • Local tourism venues
  • The resident state trooper program
  • Affordable housing
  • Farmland, open space and historic preservation
  • Youth centers
  • Veterans' funeral honors