Opinion: Let’s make CT more affordable

Connecticut families are struggling. From gas to food to energy, the costs of basic necessities are skyrocketing and people need help.

Instead of debating who is at fault for the historic inflation, we must focus on providing relief.

Here in Connecticut, we have the power to ease the burdens on working- and middle-class families now. The question is, will Democrats join Republicans and take action?

Government is swimming in cash, meanwhile our families are in pain. We can deliver responsible tax relief and energy assistance without budget cuts, without touching our historic rainy-day fund, and still contribute nearly $5.8 billion to ease state debt.

Connecticut Senate and House Republican lawmakers are calling for a special session to deliver nearly $750 million in relief to address rising energy costs as well as cut the income tax, sales tax, and taxes that drive up the prices of food.

Our plan will increase energy assistance by more than $40 million to help more families who are being crushed by rising energy prices such as home heating oil.

Our plan will also lower the income tax rate from 5 percent to 4 percent for individuals earning less than $75,000 and joint filers earning less than $175,000 — providing the first income tax cut in more than two decades to working- and middle-class residents with up to $750 in savings per household.

Our plan cuts the sales tax and eliminates the meals tax through the end of the year to help families keep more in their wallets.

Our proposal also suspends the diesel tax ahead of the impending diesel fuel tax hike and repeals the new Democrat-approved truck tax set to take effect Jan. 1, staving off furthering inflation of the cost of goods and groceries.

Our proposal requires no budget cuts, preserves a historic $2.85 billion in additional contributions to pay down on pension debt, and maintains a record breaking $3.3 billion in the state budget reserve fund — the maximum amount allowed by law. Our plan works by directing surplus funds — the overcollection of taxes — back to Connecticut residents.

Connecticut Democrats rejected similar proposals for tax relief during the 2022 legislative session, voting against our proposal for $1.2 billion in relief and instead opting for only short-term rebates for a select few. But since that time, the pain has not stopped for Connecticut residents. Meanwhile government has grown richer.

We urge Democrats and the governor to reconsider our proposal to help struggling families. There’s still time to change their minds. There’s time to rally together, to demand relief, and to urge the Democratic majority to join with Republicans to ease the pain our families are facing.

Do you think Connecticut can do more to make our state affordable? If yes, sign our petition at AffordableConnecticut.com and join us as we rally across the state.

Inflation is here. Relief must be too.

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly represents the 21st Senate District including Monroe, Seymour, Shelton, and Stratford. House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora represents the 86th House District including North Branford, Guilford, Durham and Wallingford.

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