Senator Kane Praises Gov. Rell’s State Budget Proposal As First Step Toward Reinventing State Government

February 10, 2009

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) said Governor M. Jodi Rell’s decision to propose a two-year budget that does not cut state education funding to municipalities or raise taxes is a responsible approach to addressing our state’s economic crisis and jumpstarting the process of reinventing state government as we know it.

“As a member of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, I am looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues in a bipartisan manner to ensure that the budget we ultimately pass responsibly addresses our fiscal problems, preserves necessary government services, and paves the way to revitalize our state economy when these difficult times end. Governor Rell’s proposal is an excellent beginning to that process,” said Senator Kane.

Earlier this month, Governor Rell proposed a $38.4 billion biennial state budget that acknowledges the need for fiscal restraint by calling for no increase in spending next year and a 3.5 percent increase in the second year. Senator Kane said Governor Rell was correct to emphasize the need for state government to do more with less.

“It is not possible to resolve the state’s grim fiscal problems and keep the government running without shared sacrifice. The reality is that state government is facing a budget deficit that could grow beyond the currently projected $8.7 billion in the next two years. Meanwhile, unemployment is at 7.1 percent and businesses are continuing to close their doors. People are concerned because, as bad as things are now, they rightly fear the situation could get much worse before it gets any better. However, holding the line on spending and sparing us from tax increases while preserving state education funding for municipalities requires making changes elsewhere,” said Senator Kane.

Among other things, Governor Rell’s proposed budget calls for: seeking concessions from state employee unions; eliminating and consolidating state agencies and commissions; eliminating about 400 state jobs and not filling another 448 currently vacant positions; increasing premiums for adults on HUSKY healthcare insurance; making changes to ConnPACE; closing two courthouses; consolidating the probate court system into 36 regional districts; increasing the cost of state fees and licenses; closing Cedarcrest Hospital in Newington and relocating patients to Connecticut Valley Hospital; delaying and cancelling state bond authorizations; making necessary changes to binding arbitration; and repealing, modifying and delaying implementation of state mandates on municipalities.

Furthermore, the Governor is proposing to reassign about 70 state troopers to patrol jobs. Also, her budget proposal includes incentives for municipalities to regionalize services when feasible, along with proposals to create a new Middle College System and a Connecticut Conservation Corps.