Connecticut Newsweek; 526
On this week's cover story a conventional budget in tax packages offered as state lawmakers struggled through an adjournment facing a veto by the governor who says his plan is still the best. The Newsweek review fast track. Kids and parents paying a high price to get ahead. And cartoonist Bob angle hard on Governor like yours. Last stand. I'm Bob Douglas welcome to this week's edition of Connecticut Newsweek facing a gubernatorial veto a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans has passed a no income tax budget and a tax package in the state Senate. The package was approved by a 22 to 14 margin and now moves on to the State House where a much closer vote is expected. Here's a tax and budget in brief breakdown of the coalition package the plan would raise an estimated nine hundred sixteen million dollars in additional revenue
largely on expanding the current 8 percent sales tax to more goods and services. The 8 percent sales tax would be applied to such items as car repairs newspapers and magazines non-prescription drugs clothing over $25 and many other services. The plan would hike alcohol and cigarette taxes by 25 percent. There would be a tax on mortgages with an exemption of one hundred fifty thousand dollars. There would be a 7 percent tax on gambling winnings. The plan projects one hundred ninety two million dollars in future savings from personnel cuts and the merging of various state departments and agencies. And the bottom line as far as coalition supporters are concerned there would be no income tax. The day before the crucial state Senate vote coalition leaders met nose to nose with Governor Weicker to discuss their plan to go forward with their package and let the governor decide whether to veto
or not to veto following that session. It was obvious no minds were changed and the governor repeated his intention to veto the alternative budget and tax plan. No. We agree that the discussions will probably be ongoing for some time. We agree that we disagree about certain things on how to raise revenue and I would suggest that the legislative process will continue and I think I think the big difference is that we had quite a lengthy meeting and it was a discussion. That I think put the best interests of the state first and talked about what we have to do to move the process forward. I think the governor coming from the legislature understands that. I think it's fair to say that the governor. Is not overly enthused with the plan that we have put forward. But nonetheless we indicated to
him that taking that plan forward tomorrow part of the process and that both. Legislative branch to the governor's office remain open continue to work forward on putting a budget together for the citizens of the state. I think it's important also note that the governor's most serious questions focused on the revenue stream and not on the complete package. That's important to note and we had extensive discussions about that to hear the word. That's why you know he didn't we didn't have that kind of a discussion even say it was coming. No he did not say that he did say that he felt that when our package to. Create a chronic condition for business in the state of Connecticut a number of us expressed concern about chronic conditions and his budget. It's time for working families in the state and I think that's the sticking point at this juncture where we're coming from in the legislative branch and we continue to work together in a
very constructive meeting and I think most of us were frankly surprised by that. But. I give the governor credit as we think he is going to continue to work with us I think obviously has his own point of view in his own plan. My feelings are obviously the same both. In terms of why I think the budget package that. I put out there is the best one for the state of Connecticut. And why the other one falls short. It was a good meeting Bill and I asked them several questions detail questions as to their budget. And I indicated that my concern primarily. Was the jobs issue that this kind of a budget could well put Connecticut into chronic recession. In other words without the ability to get back on our feet by how it penalizes business. Obviously there are a lot of other sections of the pledges also give me heartburn but I think what has
to happen now is that their. Budget is out there and they've got to explain it. And I also wanted to make it clear to all those that were in the room that. The lines of communication were wide open with the governor in the governor's office. And that if by some chance their plan didn't make it. I didn't want anybody to feel hung up that that didn't mean they could come in and. Talk about mine. It's still there and stays there. Now I'm sure they're still going to be changes going back and forth here but I think that the the flimsiness of what was constructed here you know in a rush at the last minute is making itself known under under the microscope. And it was always difficult Bob it was always difficult for me to compete against. I've got a plan and I'm against an income tax with no other details. That was always difficult for me to compete against. Now I have an opponent in the room
and that's in terms of their plan and my plan. And do I think quality is going to prevail. I sure do. I think that's where we're going to win. The coalition budget in tax gets mixed reviews from lawmakers with income tax proponents calling it a disaster and its supporters labeling the agreement as an historic moment in the state legislature. As far as a white veto is concerned lawmakers appear to be resigned about one but believe the legislative process must go forward whether there is a special session or not. And if there is no budget and tax agreement by June 5th adjournment day. I think that the chances of it passing are very good. Obviously you know that very early on we could set out with a Republican alternative that was received relatively well in the Democrat Senate Democratic. But there are alternatives on the table. The bipartisan coalition really worked from those two proposals so the groundwork was laid way back
when. Having that foundation to build on not only increases the anticipation of what was going to come. But the people in both caucuses both the Republicans and the Democratic caucus is putting input all along they would say listen this is what we want we want a conventional package. We don't want this we don't want that we can't live with this what have you. Having all of that information helped to guide and construct this package. Is it perfect is any tax package perfect. Hardly. But I think the groundwork has been laid. I think that we are certainly. Ready now to go of course with it after yesterday's presentation I've been starting the process in a few of us are going around to members who have said they were opposed to an income tax to be willing to vote for a conventional alternative. And are trying to get some feedback on what really makes or breaks this conventional package and buy a larger hearing people saying we knew this was going to be pretty in are still prepared to vote for a conventional package. So I don't think it's in the dire straits that some would want. You know the package is being
made and see if you can work out some of the detail problems that exist in this as with any package. It's an abysmally ridiculous effort to avoid an income tax. Basically a couple of senators who should know better who have either very little fiscal background or are just out of their minds have taken every rejected concept from the Finance Committee over the last 25 years. Proposals that can't work don't work are cost ineffective are unconstitutional are extremely inefficient to administer and woven them together into a shroud for the economy of Connecticut. I think we all would like to do more than we can but with a deficit that's been growing and even the governor can get his is givebacks from the unions. I mean you took 50 million here
50 million then you begin to talk real money. I would like to see maybe some of the did business taxes be sunset and I have talked to some members of the business community on some other things that might be helpful to them that will not cost money from the state's viewpoint. So I would hope that we can find something that will be helpful for them. I think so. Maybe what happened is the income tax people didn't coalesce around. And so we've had the governor's plan which I think is a high rate. Then you had another plan that had a graduated rate so that scared off the people who might have been on a flat rate but know that you'll just start tinkering with the rates and after another.
So I think if you were looking at where it fell apart is that people really got overwhelmed. Variety so to speak and no real conscious policy making effort. And so I think it's gotten some of the public upset. I don't think it's a viable package. I'm very concerned at this point. Although we need to have alternatives and I think it's critically important that people want to see a conventional package see an alternative that is presented equitably. I feel very much aware that an income tax in the context of total tax reform we're not going to be able to move forward. I think that still represents a way of finding ourselves pretty much in the same position fiscally or worse next year. And it doesn't look for long range solutions to the state's fiscal problems in
terms of the prices this year and you see that the conventional package has to go through the process. The Senate and the house. She what happens then and see what the governor does it looks like that's the way it's going to go. I think it probably has enough votes to pass the House and Senate and to the to the governor who has said he will veto something that does not include an income tax. And back again I wished and hoped for a process that would not go through that people would be brave enough to be able to go to their constituents and say this is we all going to have to pay more taxes next year. This is the least painful and the best for Connecticut and stand by that. Earlier this year representatives of the business community particularly big business came out of support the governor's tax reform an income tax proposal coupled with spending caps. The passage of a conventional budget and tax package was not greeted by the business interests with great applause. Our concern obviously is the increased burden on the business community and
representing the insurance industry and we're struggling to try and keep jobs here in the state of Connecticut. And we're looking at that from the book the short term perspective of what the increased level of taxes does but also from the perspective of is this package going to solve the problem for next year. Because I think what would be a very very negative sign to the business community is we're going to come back next year and have to deal with another 400 500 600 million dollar shortfall. We're very concerned about that. So we're looking at it and right now our initial reaction is it's it's it's it's not the direction we should be going in. Unfortunate we think that the tax package that was unveiled overshadows some of the good work that was done. Spending So clearly the increases in business taxes at a time when the state is losing jobs when we are losing manufacturing jobs particularly is is very unfortunate. We need to get our economy turned around to create a more business climate if we're going to solve this budget deficit problem. And instead we see the same old thing of increasing noncompetitive business taxes to even higher levels. You anticipate a
special session do you think the job will be done by Germany. I think that's a jump ball right now. I think. Soon we will know whether this conventional tax package has life. I think the major battle will be in the House of Representatives. Right now everyone is looking at it for the first time in trying to evaluate it. I think in the next few days we're going to know whether this has a viable future or not. Right now if you made me make a guess I'd say we're leading toward. Not having a package by the end of the session. Were you surprised that there were no incentives no business tax cuts in that package. Yes because most of the candidates for public office in the last election talked about the importance of encouraging and creating a better business tax climate in the state of Connecticut. So the middle class will have jobs to look forward to and a future in which to invest. Clearly this tax package goes in the opposite direction earlier this year the
other business interests came out in support for tax reform endorsed at least in some measure of Governor Walker's close knit contacts coupled with some spending curbs constitutional and statutory possible requirements. What do you do now do you get behind the tax form governor Weicker proposal. What's the strategy now. Ideally we'd like to see some of the things coming out of the coalition package on spending together with the constitutional limitations on the growth of spending and then look at a tax package which quite frankly I believe has to include an income tax. If we're going to create a better tax climate which people are going to have the jobs that they're going to need. In recent days the state Republican and Democratic Party chairman have been working behind the scenes at the state capitol in support of the bipartisan conventional budget and tax package. They've been working on their respective members in the Democratic and Republican caucuses to get behind a legislative effort to scuttle the governor's income tax package. For now the alliance appears to be holding as
both party leaders agree to work against an income tax measure. I think the that both houses are going to pass a conventional tax package and send to the governor for signature. And what role are you playing over here these days. Well I'm an observer of the great legislative process at work and occasionally some of the representatives afford me the privilege of discussing some of the great issues of our day with them. What about the split within the House caucus Democratic split. You have the moderates and the conservatives who from day one have been opposed to so-called tax reform an income tax then you have your friends on the progressive side who have sided with the governor why corporate tax reform. And it impact. Your level of concern to the damage that that does to the Democratic caucus here in the house and to the party of Margaret. Well let's make one thing very clear the party at large the Democratic Party is not in favor of an income tax has never taken a position in favor of an income tax it's not a Democratic position. There are people in the Democratic caucus who feel very strongly that we should have a new income tax. And
there are people in the Democratic caucus who feel that we should have a conventional tax plan and no income tax. But I think that everyone who's a Democrat is united behind spending cuts and spending reform in the future that is the one piece of glue that unites all Democrats. There is an argument an ideological argument if you will about the method of taxation. And that takes place in the Republican Party too and it also takes place in every gas station in dry cleaning establishment and home in the state right now. It's an issue that concerns people and people are trying to address a very serious problem in a responsible way. Mr. Chairman the conventional packages been launched is it going to land. All we have going to add it will get a majority in both the Senate and House. Then what do you think is going to happen you think the governor will veto. Don't really care. He will do whatever it is he does he said he will veto but then again he said he wasn't born in contacts and reverses position there. This guy gives on being like a bouncing ball is everywhere at the same time. The Those looking at the package the conventional package of it. It's a tough package you
have business interests and suggested how much tax money in the package. RUBIN Well they haven't looked at the full package this look at the tax side of the economic recovery fund which is a key element of that all party partners in this package were more intent on putting in to allow for conversion from defense oriented industries to conventional to provide some additional benefits for current businesses that may be in economic hard times there are several things put in there to to cushion the blow to those businesses that are on the on the edge. What are you telling your Republican colleagues and friends here who might be reluctant to vote for the package when it comes up either in the Senate or the house. Well telling them a couple of things One is that you're going to have a choice between this or an income tax. Or be here the rest of summer so that you've got a choice to make. Try to point out the positive things which I think are the
long term structural changes that there are really four elements of the package and certainly spending side as one so the tax size of the other economic recovery fund is as part of that. But also there's a long term structural changes consolidation departments constitutional spending caps a whole slew of other items in there that are meant to control the very growth of government in the future. Very size of budgets in the future. This isn't passed now it doesn't without Republican fingerprints on it. I think it's fair to say that you can't have a coalition if you have more than one partner and obviously is a coalition of packaging and asthma has more than one Barrs Republicans Democrats folks who would not only because it would be liberal and some conservatives and putting the budget battle aside the State House of Representatives this week voted for a bill that would make it easier to impose the death penalty. That measure now goes to the state Senate.
Next a common complaint when looking at today's society is are we moving too fast. The American dream of trying to have it all is taking its toll on parents and their children. In a new Sepi TV documentary called fast track the focus is on the baby boom generation and the pressure to achieving get more than the last generation Fastrack will be aired on Tuesday May 28 at 9:00 p.m.. It's a thought provoking look at a part of today's society. And here's a preview. We start at the older ages. We see children who are unhappy. We see children who are over programmed. What you tap into and discuss with them you don't seem happy or what is going on. A reason for comfort for the Georgian will say I'm I've got lessons I've a program and I'm under pressure to do well at school. And my father has an expectation of me and for me that I don't think that I can live up to. Fat is not tolerated and
children understand that. I think a lot of pressure in this town is to not only be so wonderful academically but to be an American can be all around you know the jock the brain you know and we have a lot of kids like that. When I address groups of fast track parents I see that they are looking for a target like a Harvard sticker on the back of the car. A Yale sticker a graduation from one of the nation's more prestigious prep schools as a return on their investment became aware of her last year when she was. In the summer between junior and senior year and I began reading teacher comments and talking to the dean. About this particular student who was taking incredible course all honors and AP courses every chance she get. Sometimes she got a C sometimes a C minus sometimes she was more successful and had a B B plus. And you know I'd say you know what's driving a student and they said you know well I think that you know there's pressure from home there's pressure in herself. She's just saying I've got to go to these
particular name schools. I have to do everything I can to get into the best college I can get to best meaning some. External. Definition of what a best college is out there. In the middle of the senior year the pressure really got too much for her and she ended up doing something that. She never dreamed she would do she cheated on a test and was suspended from school. Well you know you can imagine that. The sense of absolute devastation when respect and love are yoked when one is when love is contingent upon attaining respectability you create a damaged child when the I love you because you've got the eight. And I love you less because you got to be and I don't love you at all. If you bring home C's is the message conveyed to a child. The child is going to be damaged categorically. Parents get stressed out of the job and they become. I think they take it out on
their kids and it just drains everything and so and he like the one in charge. Her whole. High school career and her parents like it went off the wall and like when they were there was a car that was available to be given to her and you know wouldn't give it to her and so I think parents like the parents have to learn how to deal with their own stress in that way since the kids and the parents are stressed all the stress starts to bounce off each other. You know there's a lot of you know families which means both parents are working which means the kids don't see a lot of their parents because of the stress. They won't take the time to actually stay and talk to them about their problems or school or anything that's bothering them. They're too caught up in in their own world in their material possession so that if if that I don't know maybe when they're younger they didn't have everything because you know that they wanted to they think if they provide all the
material things for their child and that will make their child happy. But I think that the kid would rather just have like you know time to talk or something. It is not uncommon for talk about sailing lessons golf lessons and tennis lessons which are appropriate in spending their summers at a country club. And that perhaps would be the paradigm of the fast track. Existence. To learn those social skills that are life. And those are skills that I often would like to have myself. For having not having that luxury. It bothers me a bit. Because the question that I raise is does that represent what we are asking our children to aspire to. Because they're being given so much. That life holds no fascination for me. I really believe that's why they are either troubled or unhappy and if not now I don't know what kind of adults are going to be. I don't I don't know kind of parents are going to lose responsibility because they can
just cover it up with money or they depend on it to make friends. Whatever works up to buying bigger things. Sometimes it's really interesting things happen buying your friend a car that's happened. I mean it wasn't a new car but it was a used car and I just bought it for their friend without any parents knowing. While they were not returning I mean it was handled real well by the parents but it just sort of blew my mind that some somebody my age would have enough money to go in by their friend a car. It seemed strange to me that I could think of one youngster who is a very attractive young man. He's a model. He's that attractive. He's that good looking and has always been told that not only is he perfect and good looking and wonderful and he's in the competitive business of. Being chosen for any number of ads. And he was rejected from the soccer team. He was cut. And he tried to kill himself.
That he was that fragile and was functioning just that much on the edge of everyone saying you're great you're terrific and something the coach says you don't hack it on this hot soccer team. And he tried to kill himself and he was in the intensive care unit for a couple of days and is getting a lot of help now. And when I talk to the parents about it my comment to them was lighten up. Finally cartoonist Bob a hard time governor a little white girl is taking a stand for an income tax. For the first time in modern history we have a governor independent of any major political party. That's why things are getting a bit rough for Lowell Weicker. Last week he lost his battle against the people and Indians and Ledyard. Many House Democrats and Republicans didn't like the kind of lobbying that the governor's office was doing against the Indians. They felt it was too heavy
- Connecticut Newsweek
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- Host Bob Douglas introduces the episode's features. A cover story focuses on bipartisan state lawmakers passing a no-income tax budget and tax package in the Connecticut State Senate amidst an impending veto from Governor Lowell P. Weicker Jr. The second segment previews a documentary produced by Connecticut Public Television entitled, "Fast Track," which examines parenting and the pressures of students to excel in school. The episode concludes with cartoonist Bob Engelhart on Governor Weicker's "last stand" for an income tax.
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- Chicago: “Connecticut Newsweek; 526,” 1991-05-24, Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 22, 2020, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_398-77sn0b3x.
- MLA: “Connecticut Newsweek; 526.” 1991-05-24. Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 22, 2020. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_398-77sn0b3x>.
- APA: Connecticut Newsweek; 526. Boston, MA: Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_398-77sn0b3x