When your state is more than $8 billion in the red over the next two years and has gone more than a month into the current fiscal year without enacting a budget, it’s hard to see how political intransigence gets the bills paid. Just ask Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell. After months of opposing needed tax increases, she has begun meeting with Senate President Donald Williams and House Speaker Christopher Donovan to try to craft a plan to bring revenues and expenditures into balance. These discussions are private and have excluded members of her own party.
The meetings come after the Governor finally capitulated at the end of July and put forward a revised budget proposal that included some tax increases, including a 10 percent surcharge on the corporate income tax over the next 2 years.
Still, the Governor’s tax proposals come up short – both in terms of adequacy and equity – when compared to those offered by the General Assembly. The Assembly’s plan would reportedly generate $1.8 billion over the next two years, with two-thirds of that amount arising from increases in the state’s income tax for families with incomes in excess of $500,000.
The consequences of relying more heavily on spending cuts than on tax increases were well documented in a letter several elected officials, including members of the state’s Congressional delegation, sent to the Governor this week. It points out that, under the Governor’s recommended budget, the entire staff of the Office of the Child Advocate would be eliminated, leaving the state without an independent entity to ensure the safety of children in the state’s care.
For more on the Connecticut’s ongoing budget debate, see Connecticut Voices for Children’s web site.