Kissel Votes “No” on Deficit Mitigation Plan

February 26, 2009

Says plans to cut the deficit will not deliver
Senator John A. Kissel (R- Enfield), shortly before 2 a.m. this morning, cast his vote in opposition to the newest deficit mitigation plan saying that it was a good start but just did not go far enough. “I applaud the bi-partisan effort to not raise taxes this year, but for all its good intentions, I cannot in good conscience stand behind a plan that promises $1.2 billion in savings but avoids taking measures that will actually deliver.”

The plan to balance the budget purports to save $1.2 billion, but many of the cost saving measures are vague at best. The $220 million line-item for sweeps from off-budget accounts neglects to account for the fact that millions have already been swept from those accounts and many of the remaining accounts are untouchable. The bill also lacks any implementation language for a state employee retirement incentive program which the majority party claims will save $22 million. Also troubling is the $58 million in cuts that are assumed and not accounted for, such as union concessions and revenue from expansion of the bottle bill effective April 1st.

“I wanted to vote for this bill, but as I examined it closer, over 25% of the purported ‘cuts’ look good on paper but don’t detail the first dollar of savings, let alone hundreds of millions,” said Sen. Kissel. “We can’t simply rely on a promise to find future savings. At this rate we’ll squander over half of the savings we have in our Rainy Day Fund by July. The people I represent are honest, hard working people, and they deserve more than what this plan offers. I’ve heard time and time again that Connecticut is going in the wrong direction and even when we are facing the worst economic crisis in decades, the majority party will not make the hard choices needed to get us back on the right track.”

Late night amendments offered by Sen. Kissel and his Republican colleagues included mandatory furlough days for all state employees, legislator salary cuts and implementation language for the retirement incentive program, all of which were defeated along party lines on the floor of the Senate.