CT Republican Budget Plan Offers a “Pathway to Sustainability” – Local Lawmakers Share Praise

April 26, 2016

Local Lawmakers: CT Republican Budget Plan Offers a “Pathway to Sustainability”

Restores Funding for Social Services, Education & Hospitals; Provides Municipal Mandate Relief


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Hartford – Local Litchfield County and greater Torrington area lawmakers, including Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8), Senator Clark Chapin (R-30), Senator Henri Martin (R-31), Representative Jay Case (R-63), Representative John Piscopo (R-76), and Representative Bill Simanski (R-62), joined Republican lawmakers on Monday to propose a budget that closes the state’s projected $935.7 million deficit. The Republican budget proposal restores funding to core social services, protects local town education funding, and implements long-term structural changes to the state budget. The “Pathway to Sustainability” proposal includes savings that roll out over the next five years, mitigating future projected budget shortfalls.

“Connecticut is an incredible state. But sadly, we are stuck in a cycle of massive tax increases followed by enormous budget deficits. Clearly, the state’s tax and spend policies have inhibited growth and prosperity in our state. This budget proposal aims to change direction, and put our state on a trajectory towards sustainability and predictability without new taxes. This budget requires the state to live within its means and use taxpayer dollars more wisely. It also includes significant, long-term changes to the way we budget including reducing debt, reducing burdens on municipalities and taxpayers, and identifying efficiencies in government. We also have an obligation to support programs that help those most in need live as full a life as possible. That’s why this budget also restores funding for core social services, education and mental health care, to ensure the most vulnerable are protected. Finally, this budget rolls out significant changes to balance our budget over the next five years. This is a long-term approach to budgeting that will help us build a brighter future for our state,” said Sen. Witkos.

“This budget lays out a path to long term fiscal stability while still preserving core services,” said Sen. Chapin. “It is my hope that the majority party recognizes that this is the best way forward.”

Sen. Martin said, “This plan protects our most vulnerable residents, restores funding for local education, and provides mandate relief for towns. Our Republican proposal is a positive step toward stabilizing Connecticut’s finances, and we do not raise taxes or fees on Harwinton residents and businesses.”

“The preservation of social services protects the most vulnerable in our society,” explained Rep. Case. “Our providers deserve more consistent funding projections in order for them to administer programs to best of their ability. This budget provides the assurance to those in the safety net that direct services will continue.”

“We need to get serious about the way we manage our finances and budget in this state,” Rep. Piscopo said. “This is a concrete plan which responds to the fiscal crisis Connecticut is facing with a positive, long-term strategy that stops the downward spiral and sets us back on a path that is sustainable. It offers the predictability that our businesses, our towns and cities, and our residents are looking for without making painful cuts to our safety net and services relied on by our most vulnerable citizens.”

“With the Pathway to Sustainability, we have taken a leadership role to show Connecticut there is an alternative. It not only solves the current budget deficit but also sets up our state for success in the future,” said Rep. Simanski.

The Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates that if the current budget practices continue, the state will rack up huge deficits over the next 5 years ranging from nearly $1 billion to over $3 billion annually.

This plan includes a line by line budget to mitigate the fiscal year 2017 deficit, as well as long term structural changes. Together, these policy changes roll out into future years to mitigate ballooning deficits on the horizon. Following 2017, this budget proposal is projected to produce annual surpluses, with a cumulative total of over $1 billion.

The proposed Republican budget would restore funding to core social services Democrats have proposed cutting this year, while also making needed cuts and implementing new policies that generate long-term savings. This includes the following:

  • Protects funding for social services. In order to preserve the safety net of services for the disabled, those with mental health needs, children, the elderly and those in poverty, this proposal eliminates new proposed budget cuts to direct services.
  • Restoration of support for hospitals and Medicaid reimbursements.
  • Restores education funding for towns and increases statutory grants to municipalities. Also preserves funding at 100% for car tax capping and implements a robust municipal mandate relief package. Maintains funding throughout the next 5 years.
  • Administrative reductions. To enable the state to protect funding for core services, this budget cuts specific, non-service accounts by 12% for a total savings of $157.5 million.
  • Legislative givebacks including legislative salary reductions and elimination of unsolicited mail.
  • Modifications to debt service and a cap on state bonding.
  • Funds transportation development with “Prioritize Progress” – a no tolls/ no tax increases plan.
  • Implements long-term structural changes to the state budget including mandatory voting by the legislature on labor contracts, overtime accountability protocols, as well as caps on spending and bonding, and many more, detailed in the attached document.
  • Prices out savings from changes to unionized state employee health and pension benefits, to offer an alternative to layoffs should unions come to the negotiation table.

For budget details, visit:

http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/2016/04/pathway-sustainability/

Pathway to Sustainability Summary

Pathway to Sustainability

PowerPoint