Remarks by State Senator Toni Boucher Regarding Biennial State Budget

September 1, 2009

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) made these remarks during debate on the floor of the State Senate on August 31, 2009

Faced with overwhelming odds, the Governor has made enormous efforts to negotiate a budget that she cannot enact but must wait for the veto proof majority to approve. Some believe that the Governor has made the decision to compromise, with no sincere effort from the other side to negotiate in the same fashion.

She has put proposals on the table time and again in an effort at compromise. The other side stubbornly time and again crossed their arms and refused to budge, preferring no action in stopping huge, unsustainable spending increases. Instead, this style of negotiating is to embrace any new taxes on the table and refuse any tax reductions or any spending cuts, something that nearly every business and family has been doing for the last two years. No, their plan is to borrow all shortfalls in revenues, tax what hasn’t been taxed yet, or pass on another tax or fee increase to a public that can’t absorb it during these difficult times.

Today, the majority side once again did not comprise. They did not agree to the elimination of the estate tax, or even the delay of in school suspensions and treating 17- and 18-year olds like juveniles that will burden every town and city – whether Democratic or Republican – with increased costs that they cannot afford. Instead, they are planning to shut down prisons, spend $500 million more than last year, increase nearly every fee in Connecticut, borrow over $2 billion and drain the entire $1.4-billion Rainy Day Fund – creating a $3-billion deficit in 2012. There is a perception by the public that the Hartford style of negotiating is to accept any new taxes on the table and refuse to implement any tax reductions or any spending cuts. The General Assembly plan is to borrow all shortfalls in revenues and let runaway spending continue into the future.

Now more than ever, we need to be very careful how we proceed with new tax proposals as Connecticut’s budget and tax decisions will determine its future job prospects. We should understand who the real job creators are; many are the 26,000 targeted in this bill. The public is becoming increasingly tired of massive government spending both in Washington and in Hartford. They are starting to get it, and understand that they do not want the owners of the businesses they work for to move their jobs out of state. With that being said, faced with such lack of understanding of the underpinnings of our economy by those she must negotiate with, this Governor has done a remarkable job.

Our job is to listen to what our districts’ taxpayers are thinking. After all, they are footing the bill.

In the last month, I have asked my constituents what they think. They are showing up in the hundreds at town meetings and forums in all of my towns. Just this past weekend, nearly 800 attended a local forum. The mood of the public was immediately clear. They are angry and suspicious.

There is a perception that Connecticut has a spending problem, not a revenue problem and that without significant spending cuts, like any addiction, increasing taxes simply will enable the habit of spending at an unsustainable rate to continue.

  1. They do not want more government programs.
  2. They do not want more government spending. They want us to STOP.
  3. And, they are increasingly tired of actions that enable the unsustainable spending habits of government special interests.

  4. Increasingly, they do not like what their leaders in the General Assembly are doing.
  5. They are angrier than I have ever seen, more than during the income tax year if that is possible.