Broad opposition greeted a renewed push this week from progressive lawmakers for more than $1 billion in state tax hikes.
Moderate Democratic legislators, the Lamont administration, and GOP lawmakers all spoke out against the tax increases that were narrowly approved by the General Assembly's Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee last month.
That package features:
- A new personal income tax surcharge that negatively impacts the majority of Connecticut small businesses structured as pass-through entities
- A 2% capital gains surcharge that would make the state's rate 8.99%, the highest in the region
- Makes the "temporary" 10% corporate surcharge permanent
- A new digital advertising tax
Moderates Back Lamont
Gov. Ned Lamont last month said he would not sign a budget that included those tax hikes, and his office issued a statement Wednesday reinforcing that position.
“Gov. Lamont has been clear for months: Connecticut doesn’t need more taxes, we need more taxpayers,” Lamont spokesperson Max Reiss said.
“We look forward to negotiating a budget, starting this week, that reflects the priorities of supporting our state’s most critical needs, maintaining fiscal responsibility and addressing equity.”
The Moderate House Democratic Caucus, a group of 26 lawmakers known as the Blue Dogs, issued a statement Wednesday supporting Lamont's position on taxes.
"Connecticut should take advantage of higher than expected consensus revenues, a healthy rainy day fund, and its strong financial position to pass a budget that does not include tax increases," the statement read.
Rep. Stephen Meskers (D-Greenwich), one of five Democrats on the Finance Committee who voted against the tax hikes, said he opposes "any new taxes on the residents of Connecticut."
"I am concerned about double taxation between New York and Connecticut and will be working towards a resolution. We have more than sufficient funds to address our needs.”
Rep. Chris Ziogas (D-Bristol) said "generating more money than we can spend is unnecessary and irresponsible when people have lost their jobs or been furloughed because of the pandemic.”
"We don’t need these drastic tax increases at this time,” he said.
CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima had called the tax hikes "precisely the wrong prescription for Connecticut’s fragile economic recovery.”
“Small businesses will bear the brunt of many of these tax increases and it defies sensible logic that there are lawmakers who think further burdening struggling smaller employers is a positive for the state," he said.
House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) said GOP lawmakers would support Lamont if he vetoed the tax package should it reach his desk.
“The Republicans can sustain a veto in the House,” he told the Connecticut Mirror.
“This governor has been holding the line on income tax increases. The Democrats seem very clear that that’s the direction they want to go. So I think that it would probably behoove the governor to bring us in the room.”
Democrats have 97 seats to the Republicans' 54 in the House. A veto override requires 101 votes in the House.
Twenty-four votes are required to override a veto in the 36-seat state Senate, where Democrats hold 24 seats.
Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said all tax hikes included in the Finance Committee's budget "remain on the table."
“We're interested in pushing the principle of progressive taxation to whatever extent we can," he said.