The Republican candidate for the state Senate seat representing parts of Stamford and Darien opposes Gov. Dan Malloy’s proposed tax increases. But Stamford businessman Bob Kolenberg finds common ground with the governor regarding concessions from state employees.

“[A]t a time when families are struggling to pay their mortgages and buy groceries and businesses are having trouble keeping their doors open, why would Governor Malloy propose a budget that includes the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Connecticut?” Kolenberg said in a statement. He released the statement

this week as details of Malloy’s fiscal plan emerged. Kolenberg, vice chairman of the Stamford Board of Finance, is running for the District 27 Senate seat formerly held by Andrew McDonald. McDonald resigned to serve as Malloy’s general counsel. A special election will take place Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Kolenberg’s opponents are state Rep. Carlo Leone, D-148, and Green Party write-in candidate Rolf Maurer.

Malloy’s budget proposal includes tax increases totaling $1.5 billion. He would raise Connecticut’s 6 percent sales tax to a minimum 6.25 percent. Malloy also would restructure the state’s income tax rate from three levels to eight. In addition, hotel and gas tax rates would rise and new taxes would be imposed on services such as yoga and haircuts, among other changes.

Malloy also called for about $2 billion in union concessions. That’s one aspect of the governor’s proposal with which Kolenberg agrees.

“To his credit -- and I hope he succeeds -- he’s seeking $2 billion in concessions from state employees,” stated the candidate. He added, however, “but if we don’t reach that goal, I bet that taxes will continue to rise.”

The Green Party’s Maurer said he disagrees with Malloy’s premise that the government cannot be sustained as it presently exists because of limited revenue. In a statement, Maurer repeated one of the major issues for which he is campaigning, creation of a state public bank in Connecticut similar to what has been undertaken by North Dakota.

“[I]t is an engine for economic health, low unemployment and autonomy because it nurtures almost exclusively the interests and enterprises of those that live and work in the state,” Maurer said in a statement.

“Does this solve our problems overnight? Of course not,” he said, “but it does put us in the right direction, and is certainly more productive than raising taxes, targeting state employees, or reshuffling Hartford bureaucracy when it comes to matters of higher education, energy, or environmental protection.”  

Comment on Malloy’s budget was sought from Leone, but he was unavailable.

Do you live in the 27th District? If so, will the governor's budget proposal affect your vote? How? Leave a comment below.