by WorldTribune Staff, February 24, 2019
In his budget proposal announced last week, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont called for tolls for all cars and trucks on the state’s highways, expanded sales taxes on dozens of new items, and a $15 minimum wage.
None of the newly-installed Democratic governor’s proposals involved cutting spending.
According to Truth in Accounting, Connecticut is considered a “sinkhole state” – it doesn’t have enough assets to cover its debt. In September, the state ranked 49th in the nation for fiscal health, with only New Jersey ranking below it.
“Because Connecticut doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills, it has a $69.8 billion financial hole,” said the citizen’s financial watchdog group. “To fill it, each Connecticut taxpayer would have to send $53,400 to the state.”
Connecticut has projected budget deficits of $1.5 billion and $2.2 billion in the next two years, according to the Hartford Courant, which reported that Lamont’s budget “is built largely around new revenue and limited growth. He called for spending increases of 1.7 percent in the first year and 3.4 percent in the second year.”
In a state whose residents are already among the highest taxed in the nation, Lamont’s proposal includes sales tax increases on everything from vehicle trade-ins to sugary drinks, barber shops and salons and digital downloads.
Many in the state were particularly angered over proposed new tolls on vehicles. Connecticut eliminated tolling booths completely in 1989.
Lamont proposed installing 53 electronic overhead toll gantries across what is the third smallest state in the United States – for all cars and trucks. During his campaign, Lamont had said tolls would be limited to large trucks.
“He took one of his most fundamental campaign promises – that he wasn’t going to put up tolls on cars – and he lied to the taxpayers and he lied to the voters,” former Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski said in an interview on WTIC NewsTalk 1080. “And then when he changed his mind – rather than coming forward and talking to people – he dumped it on a Saturday morning editorial on a three-day weekend.”
During a recent anti-toll rally in Enfield, a woman who lives in Massachusetts and owns a business in Windsor, Connecticut said that “I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be taxed to drive to work to earn the money to pay my income tax. To me that’s absolutely un-American,” NBC CT reported.