Policymakers in New England saw several budgetary showdowns this week. On Wednesday, members of the Connecticut General Assembly missed an end-of-session deadline for adopting their state's budget for the next two years. One of the most contentious issues in the debates surrounding the spending measure is, not surprisingly, taxes.
Both chambers of the Assembly recently approved bills that would make Connecticut's personal income tax more progressive and that would yield revenue needed to address structural budget shortfalls and to support new initiatives. While there are differences between the bills backed by the two chambers, conflict is much more likely with Governor Jodi Rell, who has already suggested that she would veto any such tax increase.
Interestingly, just four months ago, Rell herself proposed raising the state's top personal income tax rate. She now argues that anticipated budget surpluses are sufficient to meet the state's needs.
In New Hampshire, some substantial differences will likely have to be hammered out within the legislature. The House of Representatives previously passed a budget that relied on an increase in the state's real estate transfer tax and a 45-cent jump in the cigarette excise. The Senate this week was expected to vote on a version of the budget that abandons the transfer tax increase and that would push the cigarette excise up by just 28 cents.