So at the end of the Reps. Cafero/Wood budget forum that I referenced in the below Blog post, I went up to Tammy Langalis of Norwalk.
Langalis, a registered Republican, was in the audience and appeared pretty interested in the budget process. She asked Cafero and Wood plenty of questions both during the forum and also bent their ears afterward.
When I asked if she thought some sort of an income tax increase was unavoidable, considering the state’s growing deficit and the fact the Democrats control the legislature, Langalis said she hopes Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell will block it.
“If the Governor has the will to have no tax increase she might be able to pull it off. She’s very popular,” Langalis said.
A Quinnipiac University poll released in early April found Rell has an overall 72 percent approval rating and a 65 percent approval rating among Democrats.
And the legislature needs her to sign-off on a budget agreement. Sure the Democrats could send her a plan that she’d veto and then try to use their numbers to over-ride it. But it’s difficult to herd all those cats and I think all parties would rather reach some sort of compromise agreement.
So one could argue Rell, more than anyone else in Hartford, has the power to dig her heels in, fight a tax hike and impose more cuts on state spending OR the power to face the taxpayers of Connecticut and ask them to kick in some extra cash to help close the deficit and maintain state services.
It’s called political capital and Rell can decide how to spend it.
So far Rell’s been pushing for no new taxes, but last Friday cracked that door a bit when she told reporters “(new) revenue may be inevitable, but you need to make sure you cut as far as you can.”
Tammy Langalis, ladies and gentlemen. Smartest person in the room.