Iceberg, right ahead.

January 4, 2016

(Please read my op-ed in the Sunday Republican-American below and listen to my discussion today with Brad Davis of the Talk of Connecticut. Please contact me at Rob.Kane@cga.ct.gov or call me at 800 842-1421 and let me know what you think. Thank you!)

Iceberg, right ahead

Sunday Republican-American Op-Ed

by Sen. Rob Kane

“You can see a fiscal iceberg off the starboard bow.”

That’s how a state Capitol reporter described Connecticut’s budget.

I’m no sailing expert, but I know exactly what that nautical-themed warning means: We are in big trouble.

The Democratic majorities in the legislature and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have been running Connecticut’s finances for five years.

Do you feel any better off than you did five years ago?

Your taxes have been increased by record amounts.

Twice.

Did those increases provide long-term solutions to Connecticut’s fiscal problems?

No, unfortunately.

We face a $355 million budget deficit in 2017, and that number could rise significantly.

The Democrats’ call for more tax increases will rise as well.

How about 2018 and 2019?

That deficit number balloons into the billions — $3.6 billion is the estimate.

Do any of you believe you won’t be asked to pay more in taxes to fix that looming problem?

Under Democratic control, this is our reality.

Connecticut’s “permanent fiscal crisis,” as Gov. Malloy’s budget director, Benjamin Barnes, described it, will remain.

Republicans will continue to press for fiscal restraint if we have any hope of avoiding that fiscal iceberg. Structural changes must be made to shrink state spending in a responsible way. We must go line by line and prioritize, just as families and businesses do with their budgets.

If we have the courage to make those structural changes now, we can send a positive message to taxpayers and job creators that Connecticut finally has gotten serious about how your money gets spent.

An enforceable cap on state spending and borrowing would be a great start toward achieving the predictable, stable climate that leads to job growth and opportunity. So would state labor concessions and pension reforms.

Republicans will press for that common-sense approach this year.

After all, the fiscal iceberg is visible, and our ship of state is heading for it.

So strap on your life vests and hold on tight, taxpayers.

Contact your elected officials frequently in 2016 and demand that they steer Connecticut clear of catastrophe.

They can see the approaching iceberg, too.

*Sen. Kane, a Watertown Republican, represents the 32nd Senate District. He is Senate ranking member of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, which oversees state spending.