New union ad targets top GOP leaders in budget battle
Jul. 20, 2017
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A state employee union has taken aim at two top Republican lawmakers in a new TV ad that urges the General Assembly to impose higher taxes on Connecticut's wealthy citizens and corporations.
The 30-second spot , dubbed "Connecticut: The Movie," was paid for by SEIU 1199, New England. It began airing statewide Thursday morning and comes days after state employee union leaders announced that rank-and-file members had approved a labor concession package that's expected to save $1.5 billion over two years to help cover a projected two-year, $5 billion state budget deficit.
The ad accuses House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, of Derby, and Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, of North Haven, of "siding with corporate lobbyists to protect billionaires and corporations." Both leaders have said they oppose higher taxes and believe their respective budgets would garner greater labor savings than the concessions package, which is currently awaiting legislative approval.
"The working class people of this state are waiting for someone to stand up and ask the same of billionaires and corporations that they do of everyone else," said Jennifer Schneider, a union spokeswoman.
Fasano called the ad an attempt by the union "to deflect from the truth," noting how Democrats who support the concessions package are the ones who have proposed a sales tax increase and cuts to social services that will hurt the middle class and working poor.
It remains unclear when the General Assembly will ratify the labor savings agreement or pass a new two-year state budget that Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sign into law. Asked Thursday if he's sympathetic to the union's message of higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, he said, "not particularly, no."
"I'm just happy they're attacking somebody other than me," he joked.
Fasano on Thursday called on legislative Democrats to work with the GOP on a final budget deal, saying "hesitation is devastation when it comes to the state budget." Malloy is currently running state government using his limited executive and spending authority.