Sen. Fasano: Extend & expand Sp. Session to make bipartisan reforms

September 25, 2016

Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) has sent the attached letter to legislative leaders urging that next week’s special session be extended for 10 days so that a variety of budget reforms can be addressed in addition to the Sikorsky legislation:

September 23, 2016

Dear Legislative Leaders:

I am writing to ask that, while we come together in a bipartisan fashion to support Sikorsky, its more than 7,000 dedicated workers, its many suppliers across the state, and our state’s manufacturing sector as a whole, we also not ignore the pressing need to immediately address our state’s fiscal health.

For years, we have put hard decisions off until “the next session.”

Meanwhile, we have seen our once economically strong and fiscally sound state deteriorate into one facing a “new economic reality” and “permanent fiscal crisis” because for years the state has failed to “fix” its structural deficits.

As a result:

  • Connecticut’s job recovery is dead last among Northeast states.
  • We have the second highest tax burden in the U.S.
  • Our state debt per capita is the highest in the nation.
  • Our state and local debt combined is the fourth highest in the nation.
  • As businesses and individuals flee, we are facing a brain drain with the fourth slowest population growth overall.

We must seize the opportunity created by the governor calling us into special session next week and begin the hard work of reforming our state’s fiscal policies now.

We must send a signal to businesses large and small as well as taxpayers, our constituents, and municipal leaders that we are committed to real structural change.

To do this, I ask that the special session convened next week be expanded and extended to address the following common sense bipartisan reforms:

  • Prohibit the state from participating in the “mileage tax pilot program” and prohibit the implementation of any state mileage tax.
  • Prohibit the state from implementing rail and bus fare increases without prior legislative approval.
  • Reinstate the Transportation Strategy Board to ensure broad-based input and accountability for transportation planning and funding.
  • Require legislative approval of all state employee contracts.
  • Cap bonding allocations by the State Bond Commission and reduce proposed bond issuances in the future.
  • Implement the pension reforms contained in SB 1301, which passed the state senate in 2011, including a prohibition on new longevity payments and the elimination of longevity payments and overtime from pension calculations.
  • Require legislative action and budget adjustments if there are projected budget deficits for two consecutive months.
  • Require a two thirds vote of each chamber of the legislature in order to adopt any new unfunded municipal mandate.
  • Develop career pathways in growth industries.
  • Reduce the number of legislative committees.

Each of these ideas is mutually exclusive of the Sikorsky package. They have been proposed in the past and most have bipartisan support. They could be adopted quickly and send a strong signal that we have the political will to transform our state and create a new sustainable fiscal future.

I propose that the special session convened next week be extended for 10 days in order for all of us, in a bipartisan manner, to immediately meet and draft legislation addressing these issues.

After we pass the Sikorsky economic development package, we can then meet to pass these much needed reforms.


Len Fasano
Sen. Minority Leader