Advocates for Connecticut’s poor are raising concerns about Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plan to reduce a tax credit for low-income wage-earners, change the way health care is delivered to some Medicaid recipients and eliminate an education and outreach program for lead poisoning, among other proposals.
Instead of cutting programs, the advocates say the governor should close loopholes and raise taxes on the wealthiest citizens.
“The tax code is full of special breaks and loopholes for corporations and the wealthy that our residents can’t afford,” Tom Swan of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group said. “The average taxpayers make up the difference, enduring property tax hikes, attacks on their services and more.”
Swan and other members of the Better Choices for Connecticut coalition say raising income taxes on the top 1 percent of the state’s residents would generate $400 million in new revenue. The group also calls for the closing of corporate loopholes and increasing the sales tax on luxury purchases.
Malloy’s budget calls for reducing the earned-income tax credit, which gave the working poor an average of $600 in their pockets, a recent study found.
“Now is not the time to be raising taxes on our lowest-income working families, and that’s what a reduction in the EITC means,’’ said Jim Horan, executive director of the Connecticut Association for Human Services. “The number of working families and children in poverty is growing faster in CT than most other states. We realize that the state’s budget is tight, but we need to invest in policies and programs that work to keep children on the right track and prevent future costs.”
Anti-poverty advocates praised some aspects of the governor’s budget, including plans to give private human service providers a 1 percent cost of living increase.
Malloy’s plan to allocate $136 million in new capital funding for affordable housing also won kudos. “From homeless veterans to families at risk to young workers to the elderly, his proposals will lift up those who most need a hand,’’ said Howard G. Rifkin, executive director of the Partnership for Strong Communities.
And health and human services providers hailed Malloy’s plan to establish a pool of bond money to fund capital projects, so non-profit agencies can use their limited funds to serve people in need.
“It’s time to raise critically-needed revenues by ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share and closing the large loopholes Connecticut has given to corporations,” McNichol said. “Instead of addressing these revenue issues, the budget proposes to eliminate health care coverage for low-income parents. To meet our challenges, we must fundamentally and fairly changethe way we tax people and corporations, not limit health care coverage for families.”