Updated: 10:15 p.m.
At a campaign stop in Greenwich Tuesday night, Gov. Dannel Malloy dismissed criticism from a libertarian think tank that his leadership scores an "F," primarily because of the "orgy" of tax hikes he's imposed during his two years in office.
"They're an extension of the Republican Party," Malloy said of the Cato Institute which issued its rating earlier on Tuesday.
Malloy defended the $1.8 billion tax hike he was able to push through the Legislature saying it helped pay down the $3.6 billion deficit he inherited from his Republican predecessor M. Jodi Rell. "They didn't point out that my predecessor, a Republican, didn't mind spending every dollar in the rainy day fund," Malloy said during a rally for Greenwich Democrat John Blankley who is seeking to unseat six-term Republican state Rep. Livvy Floren (R-149). The rally, which drew a little more than 100 party faithful, was at Blankley's backcountry Greenwich home.
For Malloy's complete reaction, please view video.
An “orgy” of tax hikes under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s watch is the reason the first-term governor scored an “F” in a report by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, whom Malloy often exchanges barbs with through the media, received a B.
New England’s leadership received mixed marks. Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage, who hopes to phase out the state’s income tax, was among four Republican governors who received an A.
Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee both received a D. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick scored a B.
The Cato Institute wrote:
Dan Malloy of Connecticut signed into law a huge $1.8 billion tax increase, which increased the top individual income tax rate from 6.5 to 6.7 percent, the top corporate tax rate from 8.25 to 9.0 percent, and the sales tax rate from 6.0 to 6.35 percent. The governor also increased hotel taxes, luxury goods taxes, online sales taxes, alcohol taxes, and the state death tax. After this tax hike orgy, Malloy had the gumption to claim that some small tax credits he approved were a “far reaching” and “rigorous initiative to grow jobs.”
Connecticut's unemployment rate increased in the past two months and hit 9 percent in September. In the past, Malloy said the economic recovery has been difficult yet progress is being made, while also questioning the recent numbers.
“We haven’t seen an increase in the initial number of people filing for unemployment benefits -- in July, average weekly filings were 4,802 and in August they were 4,779. In fact, claims are down from this time last year. And tax withholdings are up 3.6 percent after adjustment,” Malloy said. “Those two trends are the opposite of what you would expect to see if the state was losing jobs at the rate suggested in this report."