- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) - The head of the largest business advocacy group in Connecticut criticized a package of tax and spending increases advanced by two committees of the legislature and urged businesses Friday to lobby against the proposals.

Joe Brennan, president of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, told nearly 250 business owners and representatives that the plans passed by majority Democrats this week in the Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees would damage the state’s economy by making it harder for employers to expand and hire.

“While other states are lowering business taxes, trying to lower personal income taxes, we’re proposing a massive tax increase following just four years after the largest tax increase in state history,” he said. “What kind of a message is that going to send to investors?”

The plan would raise taxes by about $1.8 billion over two years.

Brennan said social service groups and their advocates seeking more state funding will face bigger problems in the future as revenue declines due to reduced private investment in Connecticut.

Backers of the tax and spending plans say they represent a balanced and fair attempt to restore cuts proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Malloy, who promised during his re-election campaign last year to not raise taxes, was unenthusiastic about the legislative proposal. He said it asks too much of taxpayers.

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