State Journal: Repealers and Repairers; Due Bill

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Just when Connecticut lawmakers thought they had closed the state's budget gap by adopting a personal-income tax, they are having to revisit the issue after some 40,000 angry protesters rallied against the new levy this month.

Members of the crowd hanged in effigy Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., whose adamant insistence on a tax finally carried the day after a bitter battle in the legislature this summer.

The Governor at one point waded into the throng, only to be spat upon. Nevertheless, he pledged to wield his veto power if a coalition of legislators who are circulating a petition to force a special session is successful in passing a bill te repeal the tax.

Launching its own drive to "repair" the tax, meanwhile, is a separate group of lawmakers led by Representative Miles S. Rapepert. That group hopes to change the flat-tax formula of 4.5 percent, which was first withheld from paychecks Oct. 1, to relieve some of the burden on middle-income groups.

The repairers are willing to wait until 1992 to address their concerns, though, unless there is a special session.

Mr. Rapepert, a steadfast income-tax proponent, was also trapped in the mob and had to be escorted out by police. While he did not fool he was in grave danger, he said, "It was possible that someone might have thrown a punch."

Other pro-tax lawmakers have reported threats of bodily harm.

While Tennessee lawmakers appear ready to wait until next year to come up with a courtordered school-fmance remedy, the lawyers who teok the state to court are arguing that at least one bill has come due: their own.

Lawyers representing 77 poor school districts, which this summer won a ruling in state chancery court in suppert of their challenge to the state's method of funding schools, have filed a motion with the court seeking up to $800,000 in fees and expenses from the state.

The motion asks either for the full cost for the lawyers and their expenses, or a lesser amount for the time the legal team spent proving charges the state had denied.

"We were required to undertake discovery, preparation for trial, and present proof at trial that would not have been necessary had the state defendants admitted the facts later proven at trial," said the motion filed by a Memphis-based law.

The bill seeks $682,421.85 for 5,886.95 hours of work by lawyers, $46,752.69 for expert witnesses, $22,806.69 for court documents, and $13,344.60 in copying fees.

The state plans to appeal the finance case to the state supreme court.--A.D. & L.H.

Vol. 11, Issue 07, Page 15

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