Jessica Carroll had the chance to look Gov. Dannel Malloy in the eye Monday night and speak her mind. "You speak of a shared sacrifice," said the Department of Social Services worker, "but as a state employee, as a homeowner and a middle class Connecticut resident, you're hitting me, my family, friends and neighbors three times."
Carroll was one of many local residents who faced Malloy in a town meeting held in the Norwalk Concert Hall, which was less than one half full. Malloy was there to defend his budget, as he has in 13 previous meetings, one of them in a community with a median income of $36,000. He said that his opinion could be swayed.
"I'm not saying it's perfect," he said, of his budget proposal. "That's why we have a legislative process. And I've even heard some things that could give me pause and might have me reconsider things once we know that we have a framework to work with. But that framework has to include either the concessions that we're asking for on a negotiated basis or a lot more cuts."
Malloy said that he "may have to announce another billion to billion and a half of cuts" in a couple of weeks, and fielded questions about health care, the boating industry and education, after explaining his budget.
"What does it mean to Norwalk?" he asked. "The median income in Norwalk is $75,065. Additional income tax would be approximately $500 per year, $9.62 per week, $1.37 a day. The additional sales tax for a family with an income of $75,000 would be $65 for the year, $1.26 per week or 18-cents per day."
Carroll said she is seeing more middle class people looking for help, and she doesn't think Malloy's proposals will help, as taxes are coming at them from three directions.
"With your proposal, you're ultimately destroying my way of life, my friends, the people that are now starting to walk through my doors at work," she said. "It's hard to watch, and this package is starting to destroy every middle class person. It's scary."
"I've been complaining about the lack of a progressive income tax for a number of years," Malloy said in response, adding that the tax structure would go from three brackets to eight. Then he spoke of the benefits state employees get. "If I could take state employees and give them the same coverage that congressmen and senators have, I'd save $55 million a year," he said, "....they don't have what you have and most Americans think of what Congress has as the Cadillac plan."
Carroll wasn't impressed.
"He's just giving me a line," she said. "Because every day more and more middle class people are walking through our doors."
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