Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Cuts - No Layoffs - Tax the Rich

Following is the Testimony submitted to the Appropriations Committee public hearing on December 9, 2009 by Joelle Fishman, Chair of the Connecticut Communist Party USA:

Senator Harp, Representative Geragosian and members of the Appropriations Committee:
My name is Joelle Fishman. I live in New Haven, and have worked in various capacities with those who are struggling to make ends meet for many years. My testimony today is on behalf of the Connecticut Communist Party.
The Governor's proposals before you today challenge basic human decency. Connecticut, like all states, is in economic turmoil as the country suffers its worst prolonged downturn in decades. In such times, it is incumbent upon all of us to find fair, just and creative responses that are geared to helping one another.
The Governor's proposals go in the opposite direction. They are aimed exactly at the most vulnerable people of Connecticut. Children and youth, seniors, those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, cities, towns and rural areas would all be devastated by one or another of the proposed cuts, which would also result in more layoffs of state and municipal employees.
We are fortunate to have a leadership of this committee that has made constant efforts to meet these needs over many years. As a state we now face a new challenge. The Governor's proposals do not cut fat, they cut deep into the bone.
Testimony from service providers and recipients in all the specific areas of basic human needs including food security, housing, health care, education will quickly demonstrate the moral impossibility of implementing the proposed cuts.
Even on the revenue side of the budget, the Governor's proposal to increase the sales tax is aimed at moderate and low income working people.
The immediate crisis should be met by those who have contributed the least and can most afford to pay. The millionaire's tax passed in the last session was a modest step in the right direction -- it imposed a small additional burden on the top two percent, less than or comparable to surrounding states. The richest families still pay far less than middle and low income families as a proportion of their income.
To meet the current emergency, the income tax should be progressively increased on the top five percent of families in Connecticut. In addition, corporate taxes, which have almost disappeared as a source of state funding, should be restored.
I am sure that the Committee leadership has brought the devastating budget situation to the attention of our Congressional Delegation. But the need for a second round of federal funding to close the gap that all states are facing cannot be emphasized or dramatized enough.
I urge you to reject cuts on basic human needs and services. Together with those who share their stories and those who are impacted, many for the first time in their lives, you as our elected leadership can bring the message to Congress and the President most effectively for new aid to states and cities that will preserve and expand services and save and create jobs.
There is no responsible choice but to decline to carry out the Governor's proposed program. Instead, working with the entire body, pass a progressive tax on the wealthy, restore taxes on corporations, and call upon Congress and the President for aid to states and cities to provide services and create jobs.

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