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Legislator Fires Back at State Spending Plan

The budget battle ignited in Hartford on Thursday as Weston's state Rep. John Shaban , R-135th District, pounded Gov. Dannel Malloy 's proposed spending plan .

"I am disappointed that the governor's proposed budget tries to remedy years of reckless spending by increasing the tax burden on the same people who are now suffering as a result of this government imposed problem," said Shaban, who represents Easton, Weston and Redding. Malloy's plan involves increasing the state gas tax to 28 cents per gallon, eliminating incentives and raising income taxes in all brackets.

The governor said the new revenue would balance an irregular taxation system. "We tax Pilates studios, but we don't tax yoga studios," Malloy said in his Wednesday address to the General Assembly. "Forgive me, but can anyone tell me why? ... Is it because the yoga people have a better lobbyist? It's ridiculous."

The budget also proposes $2 billion in savings and concessions from state employees over the next two years. Shaban considers this plan insufficient. "While I applaud the governor's willingness to ask state unions for concessions," Shaban said, "I was hoping to see real reductions in our 45,000-plus government wor kforce and true consolidations. The elimination of a mere 150 people is, unfortunately, not near good enough."

Weston's First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said new taxes were always on the table and said the governor's proposal seems fair. "I am incredibly happy that [Malloy] is proposing level funding to municipalities," Weinstein said in an email. "Although only 1 percent of our town budget, this will allow us to maintain our outstanding school district and maintain our roads."

Shaban, however, is not convinced that Malloy's plan will hold water. "We need to balance our state finances by getting the spending side of the balance sheet in order," he said, "not by imposing more taxes on the few folks left in Connecticut who can actually help regrow [sic] our economy."

Tell us your thoughts on Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed budget.

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