State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk and Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, caste interesting votes during today’s special session of the General Assembly to deal with the deficit.
The two lawmakers have their share of wealthy constituents – their districts meet in the town of Darien – and, at election time, would characterize themselves as fiscal conservatives.
But this evening McDonald voted “yes” on his party’s deficit mitigation plan and “no” for a proposal delaying by two years a new law applying the so-called “death tax” to estates worth $3.5 million, up from the current $2 million threshold.
Duff, on the other hand, opposed the deficit mitigation plan but voted for holding off on the changes to the estate tax.
“The original (Democratic) budget was premised on a package of revenues and adjustments for millionaires,” McDonald said, referring to the estate tax change and an accompanying increase in income taxes. “This was an important component of the overall package. It was important to my constituents then and remains important today. One of the worst things you can do in tax policy is having large changes on a monthly basis.”
McDonald said although the deficit mitigation plan is not perfect he could live with it, particularly because it restored some additional educational aid to Stamford that Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell recommended eliminating. This blog post from June outlined the details of that school aid – or, what critics would argue, the bribe to ensure McDonald’s support of the Democrats’ income tax hike.
Duff said he voted against the deficit mitigation plan because it did not go far enough in cutting spending.
He said he considers the reversal of the changes to the estate tax a necessary sacrifice during tough times.
“We’re all making sacrifices,” Duff said. “Delaying this seemed to be the most reasonable (proposal).”