Last week Connecticut Republican Governor Jodi Rell proposed raising the state income tax by 10 percent and increasing spending beyond the state-mandated spending cap.
Rell, in her 22-year public career as a legislator, lieutenant governor and governor, was known as a fiscal conservative. She campaigned for and was elected as governor in her own right saying she all that stood between the voters and a legislature bent on spending the state into oblivion. I could have voted for Rell's opponent and gotten the same tax and spend budget proposal without the deception.
Connecticut voters should have known better. We were deceived like this once before. Lowell Weicker won election as Governor of Connecticut running as a member of "A Connecticut Party" and campaigning against an income tax. After being sworn in Weicker became an advocate of the income tax that he had campaigned against. The income tax became law.
Rell's proposed spending exceeds the state's constitutional spending cap by $521 million. Connecticut's Constitution [see, Article XXVIII, Section 18, subsection b], permits exceeding the spending cap only when "the Governor declares an emergency or the existence of extraordinary circumstances." I don't see how Rell can do that with a straight face. The state has a projected budget surplus of $600 million and a rainy day fund of $1 billion.
Governor Rell says she wants to spend the tax increase on education. That's hard to accept. Only three
states spend more money per student on public schools than Connecticut, and the state's teachers are among the highest paid in the nation. The problem obviously isn't money. Public charter schools in Connecticut spend thousands of dollars less per-pupil than surrounding traditional public schools, but produce better results than tradional public schools. The problem is the failure to hold officials responsible for their failure to achieve adequate results with taxpayer money.