Union allied Speaker of the State House of Representatives Joe Aresimowicz wants to “save the towns.” From what, some may ask? Answer: from municipal tax hikes necessitated by Big Spenders like Mr. Aresimowicz.
Tax hikes, Aresimowicz said, have never been taken off the table. We’ve said it consistently since the beginning of February.” Indeed, big spending Democrats in the General Assembly have not taken revenue increases off the table since the end of the Grasso administration. And even the flight of businesses from Connecticut, Mother Aetna being the most recent to move its corporate offices from the state, has not diminished their persistent hunt for more taxes.
Having numerous times made pledges not to increase state revenues – promises broken soon after they were uttered – Governor Dannel Malloy, author of the two largest increases in state history, was morally bound to appear to honor his word. And so, in his newest budget, Malloy imposed on municipalities a new burden; henceforward, municipalities would be responsible for picking up one third of the cost of teachers payments. These additional payments will require towns in Connecticut to adjust their budgets, which presents them with a Hobson’s choice: either raise taxes to pay for the additional costs heaped upon them quite suddenly by an administration that cannot balance a budget, or cut expenditures. These choices, it should be noted, are the same as those facing progressive Democrats in the General Assembly: either you pay for your improvident spending by increasing taxes or by reducing costs.
Enter Aresimowicz, who wants to “save municipalities” the pain associated with tax increases and spending cuts made necessary by improvident state spending. If you are a Democrat member of the General Assembly who does not want to be voted out of office by an aroused populace increasingly over-taxed and running out of patience, there will be only one recourse open to you -- if you do not favor permanent, long-term cuts in spending – and that is to share the noose with municipalities. After the cunningly fashioned noose has been hung around the necks of municipal leaders, you then can make a show of “saving the towns,” hoping, all the while, that no one will notice the imposture. The Aresimowicz-Malloy noose has been fashioned in such a way that rich towns will be the first hanged. It is a progressive noose that seeks to transfer money from so called “rich” to so called “poor” towns, only this time the progressive element kicks in at the distribution rather than at the collection end.
There are at present two kinds of progressive Democrats in the General Assembly: those who want to hang further tax increases around the necks of state taxpayers, lately induced by Democratic Governor of Florida Rick Scott to rise from their beds of tax nails and move to the Sunshine State, and those who want town leaders to do the hanging for them. This is a perfect solution to unbalanced budgets for Democrats who do not wish to alienate their traditional voting block among state employee union members by instituting permanent, long-term spending cuts – which is the ONLY solution to chronic deficits.
The good times, Malloy’s Secretary of the Office of Policy Management told us many months ago, will not be returning to Connecticut anytime soon. Connecticut, Ben Barnes said, will have to get used to recurring deficits – largely because Democratic progressives such as Aresimowicz cannot bring themselves to heed the nominal head of their own party or the loyal Republican Party opposition.
Unable to send a budget to Malloy and unwilling to make long-term permanent cuts in spending, leading General Assembly Democrats are now pressing for a “continuing resolution,” a mini-budget bill that will not address a $5 billion deficit staring them in the face.
“If members of the General Assembly choose to exacerbate our difficulties and kick the can down the road,” Malloy warned, “they should be prepared to justify that fiscally irresponsible choice to their constituents. It would be especially surprising to see Republicans endorse any continuation of the current biennial budget, given their strong criticism of that budget over the past two years.”
That motion was seconded by Republican Party leader Themis Klarides: “Unless there’s a bipartisan resolution, it’ll get vetoed.”
The lame-duck governor is telling his fellow Democrats in The General Assembly – it’s time to grow up and do the responsible thing, failing which, you can expect in a coming campaign to be voted out of office by an aroused general public whose interests you have not faithfully represented.
Malloy is almost certainly right about that.
Malloy is almost certainly right about that.