State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21) voted against the Democrat state budget that was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday, June 4.
The budget includes $1.8 billion in new revenue over the next two years including new taxes on working and middle class families. Kelly said the $43-billion, two-year budget is also currently out of balance by approximately $450 million, as it relies on state employee union savings that have yet to be approved and agreed upon.
“This budget targets working families and the middle class," said Kelly. "It does not lay out a vision for Connecticut to give families hope and opportunity. It provides no long term plan to grow jobs, create stability and provide relief for families who are struggling. Instead it reverts back to the same policies that have failed our state before."
Kelly said this budget imposes new regressive taxes on families, making everything from food and soda to parking and owning a car more expensive.
"It hits small business owners with a painful tax increase, hurting mom and pop businesses, the lifeblood of our state’s economy and our vital local job creators with more burdens. It relies on phony savings and gimmicks to balance," said Kelly. "It does not move our state forward or help build a brighter future for our families."
Over the last two years, according to Kelly, Connecticut started to slowly shift in a new direction with two bipartisan budgets. As a result, he said the state actually saw economic growth, a surplus for the first time in years, and a historic level of money being put into our state’s rainy day fund.
"But this year, with Democrats back in firm control of both the legislature and the governor’s seat, that all went out the window," said Kelly. "This new budget is a one-sided document as Republicans were never given a seat at the table. This new budget sucks our surplus dry and imposes massive new tax increases that will hit working families, the middle class and small businesses the hardest. It spends more on special interest items, at the same time it fails to live up to the state’s promises to help the most vulnerable.”
Kelly said the Democrat state budget includes the following new taxes, higher fees and tax increases:
• New 1 percent meals tax on prepared foods sold in grocery stores and restaurants
• New 1 percent tax on soda, beverages and alcohol dispensed at bars or soda fountains
• New tax on digital downloads (increase from 1 percent to 6.35 percent)
• New sales tax on safety apparel
• New sales tax on parking
• New 10 cent tax on plastic bags
• Increases tax on ride sharing services from 25 cents to 30 cents
• Higher fees on vehicle trade-ins (from $35 to $100)
• New tax on dry cleaning and non-coin-operated laundry services
• New tax on interior design services
• New 1 percent conveyance tax on properties valued at more than $2.5 million. Total conveyance tax rate of 2.25 percent.
• E-Cigarette tax rate of (1) 40 cents per milliliter for pre-filled e-cigarette products and (2) 10% of the wholesale price for all other e-cigarette products
• Higher taxes on alcoholic beverages
• Repeals the two year old Income Tax credit for STEM Graduates
• Creates a $5 dollar fee on various vehicle registrations
• Nail Salon Inspection Fee collected by local health departments is increased from $150 to a maximum of $250
• Mandates the governor’s administration to identify a minimum of $50 million in undefined fee increases to be implemented in fiscal year 2021.
The budget was approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives this week and now awaits Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature.
Watch Sen. Kelly’s remarks during the budget debate in the senate circle: https://ctsenaterepublicans.com/2019/06/state-budget-senate-debate-sen-kelly-remarks/#.XPcwHRZKjIU