Rell: Make Sacrifices, I Don't Want To Raise Taxes

Connecticut is heading for a record - and it's not a good one.

Looming over Connecticut is a $1.1 billion deficit that could balloon to $8 billion over the next two year if the state continues on its current course. They are startling numbers that have caught many by surprise. 

That's why Gov. M. Jodi Rell gave a special dinnertime speech Monday night and warned taxpayers that sacrifices must be made.

"Families are making these same tough decisions every day, finding ways to cut back," Rell said. "State government must do the same."

Rell said the budget she will unveil Wednesday contains deep cuts, but she also promised no tax increases.

"One thing you cannot afford is a higher tax bill," Rell said during Monday's televised address. "That's why my budget does not raise taxes." 

Democratic leaders said they are not ruling tax increases out.

"We have got to keep everything on the table as we go forward," Senate President Pro Temp Donald Williams said. "This crisis is that big, it's that deep, it's that wide."

Williams said he is eager to see the Governor's proposal.

"I don't want to see this budget balanced on the back of one group like the middle class or cut critical services like police, fire, public education or making our public colleges unaffordable," Williams said.

Slashing state services would have a trickle down effect.

For example, cuts to higher education could mean higher tuition for students.

"I might have to take out student loans," Amanda Bitgood, a sophomore at Central Connecticut State University, said. "I don't have to do that now, but I don't think it would be a good thing."

Some taxpayers said the state should make cuts, but question is whether the cuts will be deep enough to get the state back in the black without tax increases.

"There is a point at which you cannot cut expenses and you have to increase taxes. We all have to face that," said David Goldfarb, of West Hartford.

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