Sen. McLachlan Criticizes Majority for Delaying Constitutional Spending Cap

March 5, 2010

Testifies before the Appropriations Committee on bill that would implement the constitutional spending cap

Hartford, CT – State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24) today testified before the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee in support of SB-3, An Act Redefining Terms Concerning the Spending Cap. If passed into law, the bill will define terms necessary to implement Connecticut’s Constitutional spending cap.

On November 3rd, 1992 Connecticut voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution creating a constitutional spending cap. However, the amendment requires the legislature to define three key terms: increase in personal income tax, increase in inflation, and general budget expenditure. Without defining these terms, the Constitutional spending cap is ineffective and the legislature is only bound to a statutory spending cap that can be and has been ignored. A statutory spending cap does not have the binding power or effectiveness of a fully implemented constitutional amendment. Statutory language can be changed by a simple majority vote of the General Assembly, and often is.

“For eighteen years, the legislature has been idle on this issue as they continued to spend without any accountability,” said Sen. McLachlan. “The irresponsible government spending this cap was designed to prevent has spiraled out of control and played a major role in putting us where we are today. Year after year we propose language that will implement the cap and year after year the majority party refuses to take action. It is long past time for the legislature to finally take action and listen to the voice of the people.

“The people of this state have spoken,” added Sen. McLachlan. “They made it clear eighteen years ago they wanted the legislature bound by a constitutional spending cap, but their vote has been ignored. I am unfortunately not very optimistic that the majority will take action on SB-3 and fully implement Connecticut’s constitutional spending cap, but I will continue to fight toward that end. The voters exercised their democracy and they should not be ignored any longer.”