Parties take different approaches to balancing budget

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(Host) Differences in philosophy have emerged as lawmakers work to piece together the budget for fiscal year 2010. 

The Senate tax bill that won preliminary approval yesterday differs from the bill that passed the House. The House’s bill would rely primarily on an income tax surcharge to generate revenue.

Lawmakers are looking to raise about $25 million in new revenue to balance the budget. And Republican and Democratic lawmakers are taking different approaches to that effort. Some say less revenue would be needed from taxes if more spending were cut. 

Republican representative Pat McDonald of Berlin voted against the House budget.  She says both the House and Senate rely too heavily on taxes.

(McDonald) "I don’t think that’s the first thing you do, and I’m not naïve enough to look at the revenue shortfall and revenue projections that we have over the next couple of years and say that taxes shouldn’t be raised, because I think even some in the administration are saying at some point we may need to look at that, but you first have to do everything you can to prevent raising taxes." 

(Host) Democratic representative Janet Ancel is vice chair of the House Ways and Means committee.  She says the committee didn’t start out with the idea of raising taxes, but in order to save state programs such as pharmacy assistance, they had to.

(Ancel) "We spent a lot of time in the Ways and Means committee looking for ways to raise revenue without going to a broad based tax, like the income tax or the sales tax, and we managed to raise about $9 million.  The remaining $16.6 million we went to the income tax to raise.  And the reason we looked at the income tax is it reflects ability to pay in a sort of immediate and real way."

(Host) Some of those differences will be worked out when a conference committee is appointed to find a consensus.

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