Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo
Bloomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown and state Rep. Bobby Gibson (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo)

HARTFORD, CT — Local elected officials from Bloomfield came to the state Capitol Monday to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski’s proposal to eliminate the income tax over eight years.

Dispatched by the Connecticut Democratic Party, Bloomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown offered an argument against Stefanowski’s proposal. She said about $12 million of Bloomfield’s annual budget comes from the state and about $7 to $8 million of that $12 million goes toward education. She presumed most of that funding would disappear under Stefanwoski’s proposal.

“Without this tax the towns are going to feel it. It’s like putting your foot on the necks of small municipalities,” DeBeatham-Brown said.

She said if the income tax is cut, the money will have to come from somewhere.

Stefanowski’s plan doesn’t include details about what he would cut in order to pay for the elimination of a tax that comprises 51 percent of the revenue the state receives on an annual basis. The lack of detail has allowed those in the Democratic Party to fill in the blanks.

“We can’t play the ‘if, but, what’ game. We can’t use this as an experiment,” DeBeatham-Brown said.

The idea of cutting the income tax is popular, but many voters see it as “unrealistic,” according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. The poll found 49 percent of 1,029 voters surveyed support the elimination of the income tax, but 56 percent believe it’s unrealistic.

Rep. Bobby Gibson, D-Bloomfield, said there are places in the budget that can be cut, but with respect to proposing the elimination of the income tax without identifying spending cuts, he said “that’s not the answer.”

“When you cut a tax, like the state rep said, you’re going to have to replace it with something,” DeBeatham-Brown said.

Stefanowski’s campaign was able to get through the Republican primary and beat his four Republican opponents without identifying where he planned to cut spending.

It’s almost September and he has yet to detail his plan beyond the 26-page report from Reagan economist Arthur Laffer that’s on his website.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont also has a plan to reduce taxes for a certain segment of the population. Lamont’s plan would require the state to find $400 million in spending cuts or revenue increases to pay for an increase in the property tax credit.

Lamont tried to identify areas he would look to cut spending or enhance revenue collections, but it’s not going to be as easy as it may seem.

Lamont said he thinks he can find savings in the Department of Correction, which is already running a $9 million deficiency one month into the new fiscal year. He also believes he can improve tax collections with technology and will be able to broker a deal to allow sports betting in Connecticut.

But none of the revenue he’s identified is a sure bet, and Connecticut’s next governor is facing a $4.6 billion deficit over the first two years of his term.

DeBeatham-Brown said the state is going to have to go through its budget “line-by-line” to see what they can do to “free us up financially.”

She said if the state doesn’t take “intentional” steps with its budgeting, then the municipalities are going to feel it.

“Doing things the way we’ve done it for years has gotten us into this situation,” DeBeatham-Brown said.

Stefanowski’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Democratic officials worry about Bob Stefanowski’s proposed tax cut

Posted by on Monday, August 27, 2018