A campaign spokesman for Mark Boughton says he’s not waffling over his plans to phase out the state income tax and blames a misprint in a digital graphic for confusion over the centerpiece of Boughton’s bid for governor.
“Nothing has changed,” Patrick O’Neil told The Courant Friday. “He’s not walking anything back.”
The graphic was disseminated by the longtime Danbury mayor’s campaign Thursday, leading several rivals to pounce on Boughton, who is the GOP’s endorsed candidate in the five-way primary. It highlighted plans to “reduce state income tax,” but made no mention of a repeal, which Boughton has proposed over 10 years.
“This is just sort of a symptom of something that is going to be an issue for the party if Boughton becomes the nominee, and that’s sort of his history of trying to be on both sides of every issue,” said Jonathan Conradi, a senior adviser to Tim Herbst, who finished second to Boughton for the endorsement at the GOP’s May convention.
Boughton and businessman Bob Stefanowski are both selling Republican primary voters on plans to eliminate the state income tax, which was signed into law by Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1991 when he was governor.
Critics say that their math doesn’t add up and that the state income tax accounts for 55 percent of all tax revenues in Connecticut. Among them is David Stemerman, who closed his Greenwich hedge fund to run for governor.
“Most career politicians abandon their campaign promises after they’re elected,” Stemerman spokesman Albert Eisenberg said. “We applaud Mayor Boughton for his honesty, abandoning the central promise of his campaign right before the election instead. We have long pointed out that this is a phony campaign promise by politicians who will say anything to get elected and particularly from someone like Mark Boughton who actually raised taxes 10 times as mayor.”
Stefanowski also tried to seize on the development.
“I am the only candidate in this race who will eliminate the state income tax,” Stefanowski said. “I’ve been consistent on this from day one, unlike any of my opponents. It’s clear that this race is about taxes, and as we head into Tuesday, I am the only candidate that Republicans can trust to eliminate the state income tax, bring jobs back to Connecticut, and reverse the damage Dan Malloy has done over the last eight years.”
The primary is Tuesday.
“Does it stand to reason that at this point three days before the primary that [Boughton] would change something that is a fundamental part of the campaign that he has said over and over and over again?” O’Neil said.
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