More than a week ago, before Gov. Dannel P. Malloy modified his budget proposal, 65 House Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Chris Donovan and House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey to tell them they would like to see changes to the revenue proposal.
“The Governor’s budget is far better than those we have seen in recent years, but there are a few elements that will need to be changed,” the 65 House Democrats wrote in this letter. “We strongly believe that the upper income brackets in the Governor’s proposal did not go far enough and that our highest rate should go above the 0.2 percent increase proposed to at least 0.5 percent.”
Under Malloy’s original proposal, which has since been modified, a couple earning $60,000 a year would see their taxes go up 38.5 percent and a couple earning $2 million a year would see their taxes increase 10.4 percent.
“These numbers need to be changed, so that the ‘shared sacrifice’ is fair sacrifice,” Democrats wrote.
And they have since been modified slightly. The property tax credit to middle income families has been restored, but reduced and the phase out of the lower income tax rates on some of the upper income brackets has been accelerated to make up the difference.
Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications adviser, said Tuesday that Malloy significantly modified his financial proposal to reflect the angst he heard amongst taxpayers in the middle class at his town hall meetings. He said those modifications which also make the income tax more progressive should address some of lawmakers concerns.
Malloy has been adamant about keeping the top rate at 6.7 percent on Connecticut’s wealthiest residents in order to maintain Connecticut‘s competitive advantage with surrounding states.
The 65 House Democrats would like to see that rate pushed up to 7 percent.
It’s unclear at the moment how much influence the group will have in modifying the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee’s package which will be released later today or this week. Legislative leaders and the co-chairs of the budget writing committees have been working closely with Malloy’s administration in negotiating a package.
Legislative Republicans are expected to release their alternative budget proposal later this afternoon. Their proposal will not include tax increases and will likely include deep budget cuts. It will also assume Malloy will be successful in negotiating $2 billion in union concessions.
Malloy has said he wants the legislature to pass a budget by May 6.