The middle class gets hit – again
By Senator Joe Markley
On August 1, our taxes went up again.
This time, it’s not the sales tax—that increased July 1. Now it’s our income tax rates which have been raised. You can thank years of overspending by both parties, and the refusal this year of the governor and the Democratic legislative majority to cut state spending.
The worst part is, this taxation squarely targets the middle class, and will hurt our families and our state’s economy.
If you are single and making more than $50,000, or married and making more than $100,000, you will see additional money withheld from your paychecks throughout the remainder of the year in order to catch up with this retroactive tax increase.
The state’s taxing agency, the Department of Revenue Services, will impose new tax brackets ranging from 3% up to 6.7% on the top tier. To find out how your family is affected by the new rates, visit the DRS website at www.ct.gov/drs.
That change is in addition to the seventy-five new or increased taxes that went into effect on July 1. The entire state is struggling, but the governor and his legislative allies believe the answer is the largest tax increase in our history, in the middle of the worst recession for eighty years. I think its lunacy, and I worked against it, helping to craft a no tax increase budget, and organizing and voting against the tax-and-spend package.
Some of this tax hike might still be avoided. According to the Office of Policy and Management, there is a projected General Fund surplus for last fiscal year. The state won’t close the books officially until the end of the month, but it appears that surplus might reach $160 million.
$14.5 million has to be deposited into the trust fund for retiree health care, but nearly $145 million would remain. I believe the governor should use some of the surplus to offset tax hikes, especially the reduction in the mortgage deduction on the state income tax (now only $300), which will hit middle-class families especially hard.
The budget must be balanced but does it have to always land on the backs of the middle class?