Now hear this: if Governor Dannel Malloy’s dubious budget passes as proposed it means Bridgeport will lose $17 million in revenue generated from taxes on automobiles that Malloy wants to eliminate. If Malloy’s trying to show some love to the urban voters he’ll desperately need for reelection next year this is a strange way of showing it. Malloy isn’t saying I’m eliminating taxes on autos and I’ll cover the revenue shortfall elsewhere, he’s saying I’m eliminating the tax revenue, you go figure it out. Talk about a kick in the crotch.
The state budget Malloy inherited two years ago as governor was a deficit train wreck. He shepherded through the largest tax increase in history to pay for it, promising no more gimmicks and a balanced budget. Well, the budget isn’t exactly balanced. Bewildered Bridgeport pols protest pragmatically what’s the point of giving local schools a little bit more if you’re scalping us in other areas? Malloy, facing a challenging reelection next year from a number of Republican contenders, surmises he’s got to make things happen to win over voters smacked by his tax increase. What’s Malloy’s angle here?
Maybe he thinks by eliminating the car tax voters will run into his wide-open arms. But this assumes chief elected officials, Democrat and Republican alike will not be screaming from the municipal rafters he’s simply shifting the tax burden to local taxpayers. In the coming weeks a coalition of union activists, municipal leaders and political operatives will protest the pain of Malloy’s budget, many of them folks he’ll need for reelection. It’s not like Malloy’s a Republican governor saying screw the cities, I don’t need them. He’s a Democrat and he needs the cities.
Or maybe Malloy thinks he’ll look like a hero eliminating a tax and he’ll let the legislature do his dirty work? Hey I tried, he’ll say, but they want to keep the tax. If he really means business to eliminate the car tax will he use his veto power?
Or maybe he thinks okay, my core base will be mad at me for a while but I can unleash a whole bunch of goodies their way through the state’s bonding powers toward economic development next year. That’s a dice roll, especially if the Connecticut electorate tunes him out this year.
Maybe he’s thinking the folks who are mad at me will embrace me next year because he’s better than a Republican governor. Well, a Republican governor never did to the cities what Malloy’s proposing.
Just in case you’re wondering, if Malloy’s budget goes through as proposed the tax increase for the average city taxpayer come July 1 will be upwards of $1,000 and more. Hide the whiskey bottles.
But the likelihood is the Democratic-controlled legislature will kill his budget proposal.