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    Op-Ed
    Thursday, August 11, 2022

    Connecticut must do more as inflation grows

    Every day, our state is becoming more unaffordable for our residents as inflation is straining our family budgets. This is not a campaign issue or a "who's-to-blame" issue — though it’s being used as one. This is a problem that the legislature can help ease if we come together now and vote on a relief package.

    Working and middle class families are looking for someone to provide relief and CT Republicans are asking our Democratic colleagues to take action and embrace our plan for tax relief and energy assistance right now.

    State government has record surpluses due in part to the state receiving more sales tax revenue than planned when inflation caused the cost of goods and services to increase. Even after passing a budget adjustment less than two months ago, CT is left with nearly $750 million in surplus that can be used to help our struggling families.

    We believe this overcollection of tax revenue must be returned to CT families at a time when they need it most — now. Senate and House Republicans are proposing the following:

    • Cut the income tax rate by 1% for individuals earning $75K or less and to joint filers earning up to $175K

    • Increase energy assistance by $40M to help ease the pain of nearly $6.00 heating oil

    • Cut the sales tax rate to 5.99% including the elimination of the extra 1% grocery and meals tax

    • Eliminate the new diesel tax hike scheduled for July 1 by suspending the tax and repeal the truck tax scheduled for Jan 1 — both of which, if the taxes go forward, will just drive costs up further for goods and groceries delivered by truck.

    Our proposal requires no budget cuts or program elimination, would still allow for the record $2.85 billion reduction on our pension debt this year, would still preserve over $3.3 billion in our rainy day fund, and would keep our core budget balanced. Our plan preserves the controls on spending, borrowing and savings that we implemented in the bipartisan budget five years ago that is the main reason for our balanced budget success today in the first place.

    CT Republicans joined Democrats just last year to pass a bipartisan budget that resulted in a balanced budget this year that in fact was in surplus. A budget adjustment is only needed if a budget falls into deficit, but CT Republicans still offered a complete budget adjustment during budget deliberations because we felt it was important to help families who are struggling with our plan to deliver significant tax relief. The Democratic majority voted against our proposal for $1.2 billion in tax relief — more than double what they offered — when it came before the House and Senate during the state budget adjustment debate. Since their no vote, the pain families are facing has only worsened. Democrats in the majority now have the opportunity to reverse their no vote and join us in providing far greater relief.

    Let us know if you agree with our plan to ease burdens on CT families. Go to www.affordableconnecticut.com and sign the petition calling for a special session today and join our rallies across CT.

    Simply put, our plan returns over collected tax revenues back to you, CT families, at a time when it’s needed most. We can do this with your help. There’s no reason to wait to provide this relief.

    Senator Kevin Kelly serves as the CT Senate Republican Leader and represents the 21st District including Monroe, Seymour, Shelton, and Stratford. Senator Paul Formica serves as the Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore and represents the 20th District including Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford. 

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