During a visit yesterday to Wilton, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who tomorrow is expected to release a new budget proposal – her third attempt this year – told myself and a few other reporters present this package was likely to contain some tax increases.
“I’m still looking at the cuts, to be candid,” Rell said Tuesday. “We’ll be looking at revenues, as well.”
Today during a brief press conference at the capitol Rell told those reporters present unspecified tax increases “will be part of” her newest budget.
Legislative Democrats, who are also putting a third budget plan on the table tomorrow, have included income tax hikes and other tax increases since day one.
In light of Rell’s comments I figured I’d check in with House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, whose party in 2007 balked when both Rell and the Democrats proposed raising the income tax and issued an alternative “no tax increase budget.” Ultimately Rell backed off of her own proposal that year.
“This is the way I look at it,” Cafero said. “What has been laying out here for the last six months quite frankly is competing ideologies. You have the Democrats who believe that to cut spending to any degree is not a good thing and therefore to have a balanced budget they need to raise taxes. You have the Governor and Republicans united on the fact this is the worst possible time we could raise taxes.”
But, Cafero said, Rell must have come to the conclusion that the only way to adopt a budget is to compromise on the tax side.
“What she’s saying, I think, is ‘I don’t want to raise taxes. It’s the wrong thing to raise taxes. But I’m a realist dealing with a supermajority of Democrats who have a completely opposite ideology’,” Cafero said. “I understand where she’s coming from and appreciate it. That’s leadership.”
Except that is not quite what Rell told reporters today. I told Cafero Rell was quoted as stating: “I believe that I have exhausted the cuts … If that’s the case, then we will do that. I will include them (taxes).”
“I have no idea what she means by ‘exhausted the cuts’,” he said.
He said he could understand if Rell was offering taxes to reach a deal with the Democratic majority but does not agree with the premise there are no more cuts to be made.
“Those are two very different things,” he said.
He added that depending on the revised budgets the Governor and the Democrats put out tomorrow, it is possible legislative Republicans, who had already proposed a no tax increase budget of their own this year, might issue another.