Senator Kane Advocates Prompt Legislative Action On State Budget Crisis

October 8, 2008

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) said the General Assembly should act as soon as possible to address the state government’s budget deficit, and applauded Governor M. Jodi Rell’s decision to use her authority to immediately cut spending.

“Right now, we expect to fall approximately $300 million short of the $17.073 billion the General Assembly originally budgeted for this fiscal year. Worse, both the Governor’s budget office and the legislature’s nonpartisan budget office fear the deficit will grow to more than $2 billion over the next two fiscal years. The Governor is doing what she can on her own to minimize the damage, but the legislature has to step in and help. As other Republicans have said, we should not put off doing something about this until the next legislative session in January,” said Senator Kane.

Senator Kane noted that Governor Rell has already used her authority to make $181 million in budget cuts, and to order a hiring freeze and a travel ban. Also, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and House Minority Lawrence Cafero recently hosted an informational forum to give legislators and the public the chance to hear from the state’s government budget experts about the scope of the fiscal problems.

“State government can learn a lot from families and small businesses when it comes to making do with less money. Whatever the reason for their financial problems, they usually realize that the only responsible way to deal with an unwelcome downturn in finances is to cut spending. State government has to do the same,” said Senator Kane.

Senator Kane said that responsibly resolving the state’s budget crisis will require the General Assembly to make difficult decisions.

“I believe that the legislature and the Governor can work together to identify ways to cut spending that, while painful, would not threaten public safety or necessary government programs and services. The two things we should not do are raid the state’s $1.4 billion Rainy Day Fund or raise taxes. First, there is not enough in the Rainy Day Fund to cover the projected $2 billion deficit, and spending our savings does nothing to address our need to reform the state’s spending habits. Secondly, neither our citizens nor our businesses can afford higher taxes – and it would be unconscionable to demand that they pay more money to fill state government coffers because the people they elect refuse to make tough choices with respect to state spending,” said Senator Kane.

Senator Kane said he is interested in hearing how his constituents believe the General Assembly should address the state’s budget deficit, and urged them to contact him as legislative office in Hartford by calling 1-800-842-1421, or via e-mail to [email protected].