Democratic leaders tried to put a positive spin on this past legislative session Thursday, but Republican leaders and Gov. M. Jodi Rell are claiming victory.
Democrats tried to push through a progressive income tax structure, but their attempt fell short when Rell vetoed it.
When did the Supermajority begin to lose to the fightin’ 56 Republican legislators?
When House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, unveiled his no tax increase budget in April right before budget talks began.
Cafero said in order to make the Republicans relevant to the budget talks they needed to release their own budget, so they did.
“With a $600 million surplus, our constituents want to know why we are raising their taxes. We believe the state can meet the needs of its citizens within existing revenues. It is irresponsible to further burden taxpayers without ever examining ways to meet their needs without raising taxes. We have consistently demanded more from them without looking for better alternatives,” Cafero said. Click here for that press release.
Soon after that Quinnipiac University’s Polling Institute came out with this poll saying only 16 percent of Connecticut voters back Rell’s proposal to raise the state income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.5 percent and use the money to pay for education. Another 33 percent polled back the Democrats’ proposal to raise income taxes on higher income individuals and families and use the money for education and health care, while 41 percent back the Republican plan for no tax hikes, relying instead on expected budget surpluses.
The Democrats still felt they had a fighting chance to push through their progressive income tax structure, but the message from the public was loud and clear by that point: No new taxes.
Again Democrats fell short. They failed to talk about the $250 million structural hole Rell had in her budget when she announced she didn’t need to increase income taxes to sustain her 7 percent increase in spending. While Republicans harped on how the Democrats progressive tax package didn’t lower taxes for 95 percent of taxpayers only 58 percent. Their argument was 37 percent of taxpayers receive full state tax refunds because they don’t make enough to pay taxes.
Democrats stuck with their positive message about how their plan decreased taxes on the middle and working class instead of going on the attack.
Why would they have to with a supermajority?
Who got beat by the superminority?