On Wednesday, Senate Democrats proposed a tax amnesty program to pay for the $10 million in criminal justice reforms Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she may have to veto because of sagging revenues.

Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, estimated that a tax amnesty program could bring in between $35 to $50 million.

Similar tax amnesty programs brought in $54 million in 1990, $$46 million in 1995, and $109 million in 2002.

Republicans criticized the proposal saying Democrats were using one-time revenue for reoccurring expenses.

Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said “It certainly is desperation and short term solutions.”

He said it’s good news that the Democrats appear to be ready to open budget, bad news that they want to use one time revenues, and sad that they want to let tax scofflaws off without penalties.

“What about the people who pay their taxes on time? I haven’t heard one proposal from the Democrats about what they’re going to do for the taxpayers,” Cafero said. 

Republicans have proposed an early retirement program for 4,200 state employees, which they said would save the state $163 million, however, Democrats and Rell don’t believe those savings will be realized based on pension payments and health care costs of retirees.

Democrats and Rell have been leaning toward relying on the biennium budget passed last year. Republicans have warned against the move.