Rep. Frey: Sales tax proposal is 'maddening'

State Representative John Frey (R-111) reiterated his stance on state taxation today, maintaining that a sales tax increase is “still a tax increase” and he remains opposed to any attempts to raise taxes on Connecticut residents as a means to balance the state budget.

Although no date has been set, majority legislative leadership has indicated a preference to vote on their budget during the week of Sept. 11. House Democrats recently released a budget document that would raise the sales tax to 6.85% while reducing municipal and education aid.  They also proposed to increase taxes by $50 million on motor vehicle fees, as well as taxes and fees on home heating oil, cigarettes, and prescription drugs, among other items. At the same time, Governor Malloy is still supporting his proposal to shift to municipalities the responsibility for one-third of the cost of the state’s annual contributions to the teachers’ pension fund.

Rep. Frey and fellow House Republicans have been on record since January stating their adamant opposition to any kind of tax increase for Connecticut residents. He and his colleagues have also continued to stand firm against the governor’s proposal to shift responsibility for the teachers’ pension contributions to the towns, because it would lead to dramatic property tax increases.

“The argument we have been hearing from legislative Democrats is that we have ‘no choice’ other than to raise the sales tax and other fees on Connecticut residents.  For me as well as most people in Ridgefield and the rest of the state, this logic is completely maddening,” said Rep. Frey. “This argument just doesn’t resonate after the majority party procrastinated, complicated, and obstructed the entire budget process all year long, refusing to even debate the detailed budget proposal put forward by House and Senate Republicans. This argument really fails when you consider the fact that this desperate cash-grab will not even go to funding our local schools or services for the needy, but instead go to just paying the bills for our unfunded pension obligations.”

Rep. Frey urged against raising any kind of tax, noting the effect a sales tax hike up to 7% could have on both Connecticut’s businesses and consumers.

“All of the taxes included in the House Democratic budget proposal like the tax on home heating oil crush middle class families and only make business prospects worse in Connecticut,” said Rep. Frey. “It can’t be repeated enough how we have already had two record tax increases in the past six years that failed to turn things around. We need to be fostering a business climate where consumers patronize Connecticut businesses, not adding taxes and fees that make it even more expensive for residents. Taxpayers here are already overtaxed as it is, and so I want to reiterate that I will not be supporting any budget that makes it more expensive for middle-class families and harms businesses. This is not the right approach.”