Gov. Ned Lamont and Democratic lawmakers went back and forth over a package that creates new taxes and raises new revenue to help create tax credits for low and middle income families. The tax bill also invests in reducing income inequality.
“No, it’s not something that I would sign,” Lamont said in reference to the tax package that passed the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.
“Respond to that with just more taxes is not the way I think we should be going as a state,” Lamont said.
Lamont has been opposed to raising taxes, especially a capital gains tax on Connecticut's wealthiest residents, which the democratic package seeks to do.
“We’re dismayed by the governor’s threat to veto the revenue package. Making such a threat demonstrates a lack of the kind of leadership and vision this moment requires,” Puya Gerami or Recovery for All said.
Sen. John Fonfara who co-chairs the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said the revenue package meets the moment by tackling income inequality and investing in urban communities with high concentrations of poverty. Republicans and three Democrats on the committee voted against the package.
“I am a no on this budget without fiscal constraints that were put in place by previous legislatures,” Rep. Kerry Wood, D-Rocky Hill, said.
The tax package creates an off-budget equitable investment fund to redistribute a 2% capital gains surcharge on the wealthy and any revenue received from legalized cannabis.
“Many will talk about how it’s a diversion around the spending cap. I say it’s a dedication of revenues that are targeted towards rebuilding our state,” Fonfara said.
“We are ground zero for racial and economic inequality,” Gemeem Davis said.
Davis, a member of the Recovery for All group, said establishing the investment fund will help begin to put the state on a path to equality.
“The governor’s budget is tone deaf. It’s tone deaf to the moment that we have all been through,” Davis said.
Lamont has enjoyed high approval ratings for his handling of the pandemic.
“The governor’s enjoyed several months of running state government without much interference from the legislature that’s changed now. As Sen. Witkos said, we have the pen,” Fonfara said.