Connecticut Green Party responds to Gov. Lamont's "unimaginative" budget
Lamont's budget sells out working people, democracy, and the planet;
Green Party of Connecticut says "Tax the rich, free the people, save the planet"
HARTFORD, CT – Like most working people in Connecticut, we in the Green Party of Connecticut are disappointed but not surprised by the lackluster, unimaginative, business-as-usual tone of Governor Lamont's proposed budget. Imagination is fostered by freedom, and any plan for Connecticut's future that prioritizes keeping rich people safe from paying their fair share of taxes will begin its political life bound hand and foot to the status quo.
Green Party of Connecticut
For immediate release
February 15, 2021
Executive Committee, Green Party of Connecticut, [email protected]
The Green Party's response to Governor Lamont is driven by two assumptions. First, that in a period characterized by a deadly pandemic, rampant unemployment, and the threat of large scale evictions, prioritizing new and creative solutions are the order of the day if the great majority of people living in Connecticut are to survive and prosper. Second, that Connecticut's super-wealthy should not profit from a pandemic that has laid waste to the lives of millions of working people, so increasing progressive taxes (like the income tax) and decreasing regressive taxes (like the sales tax) are a first, necessary step toward greater fairness in Connecticut's budget.
Here, then, are the Green Party of Connecticut's policy priorities for 2021:
Taxes: Connecticut's super-wealthy must pay their fair share and Connecticut's working people desperately need a break. We support not just the so-called mansion tax on residences valued at $500,000 or more, but a more progressive income tax that elevates the tax rates on the wealthy and cuts the tax rates for working people.1
Cannabis legalization: Passage of HB 6377, which appropriates state funds to develop a legal cannabis pipeline for workers previously convicted of cannabis crimes, empowers workers in the cannabis industry to unionize, creates a commission to study expungement of cannabis-related criminal records, allows local Native American tribes to open cannabis operations, authorizes UConn to grow its cannabis research programs and permits adults to grow up to six marijuana plants at home. HB 6377, promoted by CURE (Connecticut United for Reform and Equity) should be a high priority for everyone in Connecticut working for racial justice and equity and opposed to the failed war on drugs.
State Single Payer Health Care: HB 5340 – Husky4All – is a step in the right direction, though we admit that we don't understand why Democrats in Washington are not full-tilt for Medicare4All since polls show the majority among Democrats, Republicans, AND unaffiliated voters support it.
Environment: Green Party of Connecticut supports a moratorium on the construction of new fossil fuel plants in Connecticut, including the Killingly natural gas plant. We call on legislators to pass SB 718 that would enact such a moratorium, but if the legislature fails to do so, we call on Governor Lamot to take seriously his commitment to decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and use his emergency powers to declare a moratorium in the interests of public safety.
Police accountability: Last year's Police Accountability Act did not go nearly far enough in ending militaristic policing and challenging institutional racism in policing and every aspect of the criminal justice system. The Green Party of Connecticut supports the creation of municipal civilian police review boards (CPRB's) with the authority to investigate and act on complaints of police conduct in all Connecticut communities, and the use of collective bargaining to reign in police unions in the public interest.
Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings: We support SB 531, which would give tenants the right to legal counsel when they face eviction proceedings. This is only one of the steps necessary to combat the coming tidal wave of evictions following on the heels of the pandemic. We support the national Cancel the Rent campaign.
More Democracy: There are a number of bills in the legislature this session that would expand and deepen access to the ballot and the democratic process. We believe that the most important of these is HB 5884, which would establish a committee to study Ranked Choice Voting in Connecticut elections. Maine already uses RCV and has shown that giving people a meaningful choice of candidates is practice and more democratic. Green Party of Connecticut also supports bills to lower the voting age in Connecticut to 16, to allow residents to vote while still incarcerated, and to end the prison gerrymander that allows rural towns that host prisons to count the prisoner population for purposes of state aid.
We know that for any of the measures we have described above to succeed, it will take more than just votes in the legislature. The Green Party of Connecticut supports every effort, from petitions to protests and from elections to direct action, that will move these necessary measures forward.
1 And while we know it's a matter for the federal government and not Governor Lamont, we also support slashing the military budget, closing US military bases outside our borders, and bringing US troops back home. Ultimately, social change depends on committing to be a nation at peace, not engaged in a permanent and unwinnable war.