Senator McKinney Votes for 2010 Deficit Mitigation Plan, Calls for Immediate Action on 2011 Budget Deficit

April 14, 2010

Hartford, CT – State Senator John McKinney (R-Fairfield) today voted in favor of, H.B. 5545, legislation proposed by Governor M. Jodi Rell to close the $371 million fiscal year 2010 budget deficit without tax increases, but warned that the General Assembly must get back to work immediately to address the $725 million deficit projected for fiscal year 2011.

“We are pleased to have finally passed a deficit mitigation plan that balances this year’s budget without raising taxes on families and businesses already struggling to make ends meet. My only regret is that it didn’t happen sooner. We knew about this budget deficit six months ago and should have dealt with it then,” said Senator McKinney, noting that the State Comptroller warned that the new budget was $400 million in deficit before the legislature passed the bills implementing it in October.

“The Democratic leaders’ procrastination in addressing our fiscal crisis has not come without cost,” he said. “Connecticut has lost more than 100,000 jobs and thousands of businesses since the recession began. During that time, Republicans have proposed three balanced budgets and several mitigation plans – all of which would have closed the deficit by reducing wasteful spending and reinventing the way government works. Our proposals were repeatedly rejected until today.”

H.B. 5545, which passed the Senate 36-0, passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 147-1. It now heads to Governor Rell’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law. The plan balances the FY10 deficit through spending cuts, fund transfers and additional federal revenue. An earlier deficit mitigation plan proposed by Democrats, opposed by Senator McKinney and vetoed by Governor Rell, would have increased the estate tax and created new taxes on hospitals and patients. H.B. 5545 avoided those tax increases, but Democrats have threatened to revisit those proposals to balance the FY11 deficit.

Despite balancing this year’s budget, the legislature faces an even bigger deficit in FY11. The legislative session adjourns May 5th and Senator McKinney said it would be a terrible mistake to leave the problem to next year’s legislature.

“We need to get back to work immediately and Republicans will again be at the forefront of efforts to balance the budget without tax increases,” said Senator McKinney. “I hope Democratic leaders have learned over the past two years – the longer we wait to address our fiscal problems, the bigger they get and the more limited our options for dealing with them become.”