“What in the world is going on at the State Capitol?”

May 6, 2016

“What in the world is going on at the State Capitol?”
By Sen. Michael McLachlan

“Business as usual.”

That’s what I tell greater Danbury taxpayers when asked, “What in the world is going on at the State Capitol?”

And by “business as usual,” I mean the following:

  • No transparency.
  • No predictability.
  • No progress.

May 4 marked the final day of the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

The midnight deadline came and went. The Democrats who control the House and Senate had not voted on the state budget.

So Connecticut is in limbo. Our schools, local governments, businesses, non-profit groups and families are all left in the dark.

The blaring headline on the front of one newspaper reads, “BUDGET FAILURE”.

Blunt, yes, but absolutely true. The ship of state, rudderless, is heading for the rocks.

Where do we stand?

The majority party passed the two largest tax hikes in state history over the past five years. It hasn’t worked. Connecticut’s credit card has been maxed out to the point where we are borrowing to pay off current expenses. Gigantic deficits grow by the day. Yet another Democrat-backed post-election tax hike is all but certain.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Our Republican alternative budget proposal calls for long-term structural budget changes. We protect services for our most vulnerable residents while not raising taxes. Our reforms restore the governor’s cuts for schools while curbing wasteful government borrowing and spending in a thoughtful way.

Our documents welcome sunlight. They were vetted and widely acclaimed by Connecticut news editorial boards for their sound, sensible, sustainable ideas. In the end, Republicans once again were shut out of the budget negotiations between the governor and Democrat leaders.

Deja vous – business as usual.

We are now in extra innings. The May 12 “Special Session” will take up the Democrats’ plan and the infamous “budget implementer” bill which is always full of not-so-pleasant surprises. While I have still not seen the fine print, I do know this about the Democrats’ plan:

  • It cuts local education funding and town aid, balancing the state’s problems on the backs of property taxpayers and students.
  • It cuts hospital funding, impacting health care access for those who most need health services.
  • It cuts mental health funding and substance abuse grants.
  • It contains “fuzzy” math by basically telling the governor to “go and find” tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.

If you agree with me that these are the wrong choices for Connecticut, here’s how you can help me send that message:

I urge you to contact House Democrats (860-240-8500), Senate Democrats (860-240-8600) and the governor (860-566-4840) to express your opinion today. Tell them you are tired of “business as usual” and make sure they know that Connecticut is watching closely.

You may also contact me at 860-240-0068, email me at Michael.McLachlan@cga.ct.gov and review our budget alternative at www.SenatorMcLachlan.com . I welcome your comments and will not stop fighting for our state’s best long-term interests.

*Sen. McLachlan represents Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield and Sherman.