“That’s a disservice to the state of Connecticut” [NBC]

April 8, 2016

NBC Connecticut

The budget approved Wednesday by the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee trims more than $570 million across the board, while also shifting funds to be paid for by other accounts.

Even though the spending plan restored funding to hospitals, higher education, and social service programs, the cuts hit just about every state agency, and they’re deep.

“Believe me, the ax is falling,” said Sen. Beth Bye, (D – West Hartford), who chairs the committee. “There’s nobody that’s not hurt in this budget.”

One item that saw changes is the Special Transportation Fund, with expenditures added there, to ease the burden on other agencies.
Last year, the General Assembly approved one half of one percent to get devoted to transportation and infrastructure projects. Sen. Bye said she and the others who crafted the budget saw other ways to use those funds.

“With new revenue, the tens of billions of dollars for transportation infrastructure, we feel like the highway patrol is an important part of that. School bus transportation is part of that, too. They move people around Connecticut so I think they’re a part of that infrastructure,” she said.

The budget approved by the committee falls more than $340 million short if deficit estimates last month, but is on par with Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget that he presented in February. Bye described the move as “responsible” as the state waits for the April consensus revenue report.

Sen. Len Fasano, the top Republican in the Senate sharply disagreed.

“They didn’t do their job,” Fasano said. “That’s a disservice to the state of Connecticut. Everyone in this state knows we’re in trouble but them and until they wake up and see the reality, we’re going to be in trouble each and every time they get behind the wheel when it comes to the budget.”

Malloy’s office released a statement announcing he will present a revised budget proposal to the General Assembly next week, roughly three weeks before the legislature will adjourn.

He said about the Appropriations spending plan, “tries to do things the way they’ve always been in done” in state budgeting.