Better Choices: no more cuts

As you know, the Governor is looking for changes in the state budget during the special session. Better Choices for Connecticut has released a statement today in response, asking for a budget that protects critical services, invests in education, is not balanced on the backs of the poor and does not increase inequality.

You can find the full statement below, or you can download it as a PDF here.
Modifications to the New State Budget
A Statement of Better Choices for Connecticut

 We all want a budget that:

  • Protects critical public services and investments in the future of our families and our communities;
  • Helps rebuild our economy by investing in the education and infrastructure that businesses need to thrive;
  • Isn't balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable children and families; and
  • Doesn't exacerbate inequality by asking less of those who have the most.

In the budget that was passed by the General Assembly, our lawmakers took steps to address this year's budget challenge by refusing to ask the most from those with the least. Instead of cutting state support for vulnerable children, families, and communities, our elected officials chose to fund essential services by making our revenue system more equitable and progressive.

Once again, following outcry from a few of our state's largest corporations, we must remind our elected officials to make better choices. While these corporations claim that Connecticut's business tax burden is too high, a study by the Ernst and Young for the Council on State Taxation found that Connecticut businesses face the second lowest state and local tax burden in the nation.

While these few corporations talk about taking a more "balanced" approach to Connecticut's budget issues, they do not really mean balanced: they mean more slanted in favor of large corporations and the rich at the expense of working families.

  • A more balanced approach would recognize that the business tax changes in the new budget would affect only the largest and most profitable multi-state corporations - the very companies that already pay so little, so that families and small businesses have to pay more. If anything, we should tax those large corporations more, and small businesses less.
  • A more balanced approach would recognize that the highest earners in our state pay an effective rate in state and local taxes which is about half as high as working families pay, according to the state's own analysis. As enacted, the new budget asks only a little more from the wealthy.
  • A more balanced approach would tax high earners at closer to the same effective tax rates that we ask of working families. Even an additional ½ of one percent income tax increase on individuals earning over $500,000 per year, or couples earning over $1,000,000 per year, would (a) make up for all the revenue that would be lost by the corporate tax rollbacks the governor proposed, (b) leverage federal funding which would cover about one third of the increased taxes and (c) keep our effective tax rates lower than those in New York or New Jersey.

The enacted budget makes progress towards accomplishing these things by investing in infrastructure, beginning property tax reform, and protecting many critical services -- although it already includes hundreds of millions in cuts. If any "tweaking" is done on the revenue side of the budget, any revenue lost should be replaced by alternate revenue sources from those most able to pay. The members of Better Choices for Connecticut urge our legislature to protect middle class and working families. Not a single dollar more in cuts should be added in the implementer session.

One final note: as we said on Friday´s e-mail, we need to actively tell legislators that we can not have any more cuts. More info on who to call and talking points here.

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