Sunday, September 06, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

Like most turkeys, the new Democratic-Rell budget will be gobbling a lot of money. But not to worry, said Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, from the Democratic Republic of New Haven, the new “millionaire’s tax” has become “the centerpiece of Democratic tax policy for this whole decade.”

The state’s precarious budget is put together with revenue engines that melt like popsicles after a few years, after which the vanishing one-time revenues will bring us all back to square one: The present Democratic-Rell budget borrows $1.3 billion, drains the rainy day fund of $1.5 billion, and looks forward nervously to the receipt of $1.5 billion in narrowly targeted federal stimulus money – no way to run a $17 billion dollar a year business. And, oh yes, the state is looking square in the eye of a $9 billion future deficit.

Happy days are here again.

Just as on the style runway red is sometimes the new black, Loony’s new progressive income tax is the new income tax; and all of us know what happened with the old income tax.

Following passage of the Lowell P. Weicker Jr. Income Tax, the state realized a number of successive surpluses, which might have signaled to a less looney legislature that the tax had been pegged too high. But the good turkeys gobbled it all up.

And as a direct result of all this gobbling, here we are: another day older and deeper in debt.

But no wiser.

The difference between Democrats and some more conservative Republicans on budget issues is not an ideological difference: It is a difference in competing realities, as may be seen by Republican leader John McKinney’s assessment of the Democratic-Rell budget: “I don't think we have to wait two years. In three to six months, we will be back. Two years from now, we will have a deficit of $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion in 2012 alone. If you don't have the rainy-day fund and stimulus, you've taken away the two largest chunks of dollars to solve this budget crisis.”

On the one hand, looniness; on the other, a cold rational assessment of the future.
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