GOP: We Don't Need Tax Increases

We don’t need to raise taxes to solve he state’s budget crisis, Connecticut Republicans said Thursday as they released their latest budget plan Thursday. Instead, they proposed higher fees and program cuts to fix things. 

The plan they just released comes during an impasse between state legislators and Gov. M. Jodi Rell over how to cover the state's two-year deficit –-- which is now estimated at $8.56 billion.

The proposal comes just days after Rell said closing the gap without a tax increase did not seem feasible. 

To bridge the big, big budget gap, Republicans proposed reducing spending for many programs, including social services for the needy, to 2007 levels.

It also calls for selling state assets -- such as office buildings and vacant land. Rell, a Republican, asked state department leaders for a list last month.

The plan also includes consolidating state agencies and eliminating the Citizens Election Fund that finances state political campaigns.

There are, however, several fee increases.

Speaker of the House Chris Donovan did not wait long before blasting the GOP plan.

“Democrats and the Governor are coming closer together. Even the Governor agrees that taxes are needed. The Republican leadership is clearly in conflict with the Governor,” Donovan said in a news release. “A budget that only cuts programs and services imposes cruel hardships on Connecticut’s middle class, poor citizens, vulnerable and struggling families.

Late Thursday afternoon. Governor Rell's office said it was the Governor herself who asked Republicans legislators to come up with a new budget.   According to Rell spokesman Rioch Harris, the Governor realizes the negotiations are not going as fast as she would like, so she asked Republicans to develop some new ideas in trying to resolve the budget crisis.

Rell has proposed $391 million in tax increases; the majority Democrats, $1.8 billion.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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