“It is time to share the wealth! Tax the rich!” Carmen Cordero of Vencinos Unidos told a cheering crowd of about 1,000 gathered outside the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
Cordero’s group is just one of 40 that make up the Better Choices for Connecticut coalition, which is advocating for fewer cuts to public services and an income tax increase for families making more than $200,000 a year. It also is proposing a penny increase in the sales tax, a reduction in the film industry tax credit, and higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
The coalition continues to argue that cutting public services, like the ones proposed in Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s February budget, will send the economy into a downward spiral and cost the state an estimated 30,000 jobs both in the private and public sectors.
Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, who joined more than a dozen lawmakers at the rally Wednesday, said it doesn’t make sense to cut services and not raise taxes on those who can afford it.
“What we’re doing then is balancing the budget on people who can’t afford that,” he said.
When someone steps forward with a plan it’s the legislature’s responsibility, at the very least, to look at it, he said, adding that everyone in the legislature knows that at some point taxes are going to become part of the discussion.
“The reality is we’ll get to that,” Holder-Winfield said.
But at the moment it feels like a game of chicken, the freshman representative from New Haven said.
Aside from the Better Choices for Connecticut Coalition the only other group to call for tax increases has been the Black and Puerto Rican caucus, which includes 22 legislators.
Not everybody supports the coalition’s call for taxes to be part of the solution to the estimated more than $8 billion budget deficit.
“Higher taxes will only mean more ‘Going out of Business’ signs and fewer jobs here in Connecticut,” Andy Markowski of the National Federation of Independent Business said in a press release. “This special-interest sham is about expanding the size of government and adding public sector jobs at the expense of those entrepreneurs creating them in the private sector—that’s a recipe for ruin.”