John McKinney and David Walker in a TV spot (screengrab)

Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney will explain how he plans to eliminate the state income tax for middle earners during press event Thursday morning, according to his campaign.

McKinney is running in an Aug. 12 primary race against Republican convention-endorsed candidate Tom Foley. He included the goal of ending the income tax for middle income taxpayers by 2017 on his website as a bullet point in a general outline of his budget plan.

It was not clear Wednesday what range of income tax brackets McKinney and his running mate, David Walker, would eliminate or how they would fill the resulting budget shortfall. Even without cutting revenue, the state budget is projected to be $1.4 billion in deficit next year.

According the general outline, McKinney will propose to reduce spending by $1.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2016, cut expansions made to state programs under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration and reduce management positions in state government. McKinney would also seek more labor concessions from state employees.

McKinney and Walker began running new television and radio ads this week touting the plan.

“Our plan puts taxpayers first by eliminating income taxes on middle class families, cutting wasteful spending, and shrinking state government,” Walker says in the 30-second TV spot.

Malloy and Foley have essentially ruled out raising taxes as a tool to close projected budget shortfalls. But neither candidate has made a campaign promise of cutting them.

McKinney has tried to set himself apart from Foley and Malloy by framing himself as the only candidate willing to cut spending and ask the state employee unions for more labor concessions. His budget plan on his website also calls for ending policies that allow state employees to “pad” their pensions.

The unions do not seem eager to come back to the negotiating table. Most of the state’s major labor unions already have endorsed Malloy. Meanwhile, CSEA released a statement Tuesday calling McKinney audacious for referring to the labor concession package negotiated under the Malloy administration a “sweetheart deal” for state employees.

“For the record, the supposed ‘sweetheart deal’ canceled raises, delayed retirements, restructured benefits and required additional pension and healthcare contributions,” the statement read.