The Capitol Beat: March 15, 2019

The Progressive Caucus of the state Legislature unveiled its alternative budget proposal today, downplaying the Governor’s proposed “sin taxes” and sales tax increases on household goods and services and instead pushing for a higher marginal income tax on high earners and a tax on capital gains.

Members said initial estimates indicate their proposals would offset those included in the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget. In addition, the caucus is calling for:

—Increasing the minimum wage to $15

—Instituting a paid family medical leave program.

—No repeal of gift tax.

—Cracking down on tax avoidance and hiring more DRS auditors.

—Legalizing use of recreational marijuana.

—Expungement of convictions for drug-related crimes.

—Address food deserts is urban areas.

—Restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit.

—Fully Funding the Care4Kids

—Restoring $147 million in Energy Efficiency funds and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funding that was swept in 2019.

—Increasing slots in higher education institutions for Advanced Manufacturing.

—Investing in Green Energy.

—Using some of the $2 billion Rainy Day Fund to pay off debt.

The caucus said they are seeking tax fairness for low- and moderate-income workers and for a seat at the negotiating table, which the Governor reportedly told one member of the Progressive Caucus they would have.

Note: The press conference coincided with a public hearing on the Governor’s revenue and capital spending proposals in the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

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