March 30, 2009

Bristol lawmakers differ on budget crisis

Since state Rep. Bill Hamzy took office 15 years ago, the state budget has nearly tripled while Connecticut’s population has barely grown.

And now that it’s facing at least a $7 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year, the Plymouth Republican said, the Democratic majority in the General Assembly only wants to raise taxes again and “not cut one dime” in spending.

But Bristol’s Democrats say that’s not true.

State Rep. Frank Nicastro, a 79th District Democrat, said he’s gotten “hundreds and hundreds of emails” urging him not to cut state services.

“But we can’t avoid cuts,” he said, “or taxation will be unbelievable.”

But Democrats admit they’re ready to consider tax hikes.

“We can’t be cutting all over the place,” state Rep. Betty Boukus, a 22nd District Democrat said.

Another Bristol Democrat, the 77th District’s Chris Wright, said that lawmakers are going through the budget line by line to figure out if there are tax breaks they can toss out or revise to secure more money.

Scaling back sales tax exemptions, which cost the state $5 billion a year, is one possibility, Wright said.

“For some reason, we don’t tax yarn,” said state House Speaker Chris Donovan, a Meriden Democrat. “We also don’t tax yachts.”

“So we’re looking for some more Y things,” he joked.

State Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who has represented the 31st District since 1992, said that resolving the budget crisis is not a partisan issue.

“We’re all in this boat together,” Colapietro said.

The senator said the goal is “to hurt the least amount of people possible.”

Colapietro said the Democrats “don’t disagree with what” Gov. Jodi Rell “has to say about the pain” that’s going to be necessary.

“We’d just allocate it differently,” said Colapietro, whose district includes Plymouth, Plainville, Bristol and part of Harwinton.

He said the trick is to use a scalpel, not a meat cleaver, to pare the state’s spending.

Nicastro said that Democrats understand they can’t “drive business away” or the economy won’t recover.

Wright said that “a more progressive income tax” is certainly one possible source of extra revenue.

There’s a chance, too, that the state might hike the sale tax generally, Wright said.

Boukus said that taxes will rise for sure. “But there will be cuts, too,” she said.

Hamzy said the Democrats have to drop their arrogance and make a serious effort to deal with the budget crisis.

He said he thinks that people “are waking up” to what’s been happening in Hartford for years.

The Democrats plan to present an initial state budget plan this week. It is likely to diverge from Rell’s proposal in a number of areas, they said.

“It’s a challenge,” Donovan said. “But, hey, it’s Connecticut. We’ll get through it.”


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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Frank says he has received hundreds and hundreds of emails, that means at least two. He tends to exaggerate.

unreal said...

when are they going to realize that they can help the towns by eliminating those stupid unfunded mandates like every community is saying?

Concerned Conservative said...

Donovan said. “But, hey, it’s Connecticut. We’ll get through it.”

-Hey there's some great reassurance huh?

State Rep. Frank Nicastro, said he’s gotten “hundreds and hundreds of emails” urging him not to cut state services. “But we can’t avoid cuts,” he said, “or taxation will be unbelievable.”

--So what's it gonna be Frank? Are you going to screw the tax-payers or keep your promise to the unions?

“We can’t be cutting all over the place,” state Rep. Betty Boukus

--But multi-billion dollar deficits are OK huh?

Scaling back sales tax exemptions, which cost the state $5 billion a year, is one possibility, Wright said.

--Yes tax food Chris and that sort of thing. Your union supporters can afford it anyway. And so can you now huh?

The senator (Colapietro) said the goal is “to hurt the least amount of people possible.”

--Just keep trying to tax the higher incomes and businesses and corporations right? It's gotten Connecticut this far, why stop now?

Wright said that “a more progressive income tax” is certainly one possible source of extra revenue. There’s a chance, too, that the state might hike the sale tax generally, Wright said.

--It's good that a tax and spend progressive socialist can be honest about himself now isn't it?

Hamzy said the Democrats have to drop their arrogance and make a serious effort to deal with the budget crisis. He said he thinks that people “are waking up” to what’s been happening in Hartford for years.

-Amen

Anonymous said...

Frank doesn't even own a computer.

Anonymous said...

Hamzy tells it like it is. CT already has some of the highest taxes in the United States...maybe it's time to cut spending instead of robbing CT residents of their hard-earned money as the Dem's consistently propose

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Cuts are inevitable.

Tax increases are inevitable.

That's how one balances a budget.

But do you tax people who can't pay it?

or do you cut services for people who still need it?

Perhaps. Or:

Raise taxes on those who can pay.

And cut spending where it is not needed.

I'll take option B. Because usually I like my policy choices to actually work.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Conservative,given your constant union bashing I have come to a conclusion,you must really be councilman Cockayne.
You have an opinion on almost every issue in Bristol and you blame every problem on the city unions...just like Cockayne.
Concerned Conservative=Councilman Cockayne

Anonymous said...

all you guys are a huge joke. don't trust any of them as far as you can throw them.

Anonymous said...

Republicans can do nothing but complain they are useless whiners. When they were in the majority all they did then was blame. They did none of those things they claim we needed. So now that we are in this mess because of their failed policies all they do is blame the Democrats. Go figure. How come you don't hear them say cut the tax incentives we the Taxpayer give businesses? Same old rhetoric and phony as can be.

Anonymous said...

Where were all these people last year, before the election?

Like the State, a day late and a dollar short!

Anonymous said...

Why don't we try and actually grow the CT economy by taking this opportunity to become the low cost option amongst the states surronding us. People will go where the taxes are less and there are jobs. Last night I saw that CT has the 9th oldest population in the country and there is a reason for that, younger people are leaving to where there are jobs and where the cost of living is cheaper. We can only ignore these facts for so long.

Unless we actually work to cut the budget down to size we will be facing these deficits after the one time payment of stimulus money has been spent.

I would argue that the best way to help somebody in this day and age is to work to create more private sector jobs and grow our state economy at a ate of 4-5 percent not the 1-2 percent we have been for the last 10 years.

Anonymous said...

When have the Republicans ever been in power in Connecticut? For as long as i can remember we have been a Blue dominated state. Having a Republican Governor is meaningless if the Dems have complete control..2/3's vote.

I love that argument of "The Republicans just whine and lay blame." Really, sounds more like what the Dems did for 8 years while Bush was President. Face it, our government in Connecticut is failing the people, the same people who continue to support it.

Anonymous said...

9:46 is right,our politicians should be working to bring more jobs to Bristol. It is time for all politicians to stop the finger pointing and get to work. The economy will not get better until people have jobs.

Anonymous said...

"all you guys are a huge joke. don't trust any of them as far as you can throw them."........................................This is so Tom!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

“We can’t be cutting all over the place,” state Rep. Betty Boukus, a 22nd District Democrat said.

I beg to differ with the esteemed State Rep. We must cut all over the place. Businesses continue to leave. The "rich" who pay most of the taxes are leaving too. More and more people are losing their jobs and losing their paychecks. It is time to cut state spending. All over the place.

Some of our legislators have shown leadership by cutting their pay. Rep. Bill Hamzy is one, and Sen. Tom Colapietro is not. I do not know about the others, but would very much like to know. Maybe The Press could do a story on this, if there is any room among all the tales of wife-beating and alcoholism.

Concerned Conservative said...

I don't believe public employee unions are the only reason for out of control budgets and ineffective, incompetent government. I just believe public employee unions are an enormous part of the problem.

And whomever I am, is calling me Cockayne supposed to be some kind of insult? I urge all people in the 2nd Council District to vote for Ken Cockayne. He is the best choice for Council Bristol has.

Anonymous said...

Which way is the Wind Blowing REp Hamzy grow some lls

Anonymous said...

9:46

MAYBE, just MAYBE, young people (with children) are leaving to go where education is a priority.

Us old don't care, we just want lower taxes.

And jobs don't bring money to communitiesm businesses and taxable buildings do. Only if people live and build in the community will they add to the tax base.

We do need both, and we do need to invest to accomplish that.

Tired Taxpayer said...

So the answer is all taxes from the Democrats and not much in the way of actual cuts to the budget. 30 percent sur charge on Businesses that actually made a profit and all those small business owners just saw their taxes increase 25-38 percent. This is a disaster and we will be left double digit unemployment and budget defecits as far as the eye can see. Nice work Democrats, congratulations on running all the good businesses out of the state.

Anonymous said...

Concerned conservative councilman Cockayne you completely overstate the unions as an enormous part of the problem. Did you see who the top 50 highest wage earners were last year? Over half of the list were non-union BOE emplyees.The union members such as police officers who were on the list made it on there because they made the personal sacrifice and WORKED overtime. The city union workers may earn a respectable living but they are by no means wealthy. Politicians like Cockayne want to take the easy way out and put the blame on the unions instead of facing thier own failures.
Hopefully,Bristol residents will see Cockayne has done nothing since he was elected ( except whine, complain and throw temper tantrums) and not support him again.