Senator Toni Boucher onboard with Republican ‘Common Sense’ Proposal: Rolls Back Spending and Shrinks Government

January 26, 2011
Senator John McKinney (R-Fairfield) and Representative Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) surrounded by Republican lawmakers at the Common Sense Proposal press conference in Hartford
Senator John McKinney (R-Fairfield) and Representative Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) surrounded by Republican lawmakers at the Common Sense Proposal press conference in Hartford

HARTFORD – Republican state legislators this week, including State Senator Toni Boucher outlined a plan to reform and down-size government while growing jobs in the economy.

“We have a $3.5 billion dollar budget deficit and we need to make the difficult decisions that will close that gap now,” said Boucher. “We can no longer keep pushing the problem off year after year. Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York is making tough decisions and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is too. Connecticut’s Governor needs to have the courage to get our fiscal house in order and this proposal is an effort to help him make the first step.”

The plan includes massive state government reorganization and downsizing, freezing state employee salaries, and needed changes to benefits and pensions to save Connecticut taxpayers billions over the next two years.

Senator Boucher has submitted additional legislation to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis: rolling back spending to 2008 levels (saving $2 billion – Office of Fiscal Analysis); reducing state employee and elected officials salaries; and suggests having a 2/3 majority vote to enact new municipal mandates.

The proposal also recommends a 5 percent reduction in the state’s workforce; recognizing that government spending has grown 149% over the last decade where Connecticut’s population growth as remained stagnant. Republicans said their proposal is a true “hold harmless” for municipalities. It will preserve municipal aid over the next two years while saving the state approximately $1 billion.

No significant spending cuts have been made over the last two budget cycles, despite the massive drop off in revenue, which has led to the projected $3.5 billion deficit.

Senate Republican Leader John McKinney of Fairfield said, “We are making a Common Sense Commitment to Connecticut taxpayers. Excessive government spending and inefficiency has exacerbated our budget problems. We need to reduce the size and scope of state government and we will work with Governor Malloy on these reforms. Make no mistake: These reforms and spending cuts are necessary.”

Read the Proposal

Short and Long-Term Savings

The comprehensive set of proposals, includes immediate savings for taxpayers, such as the 10 percent pay and perk cuts for lawmakers and elimination of longevity bonuses for state employees. The two-year pay freeze for state workers would save $502 million, according to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Republicans said the long-term restructuring of pension benefits for state employees would require them to contribute to their retirement packages and healthcare benefits would raise the age from 55 to 65 years for retirement.

Republicans point out in 2012 alone, approximately $485 of every Connecticut resident’s income tax payment will fund future state employee retirements. Our state employee retirement system also carries an $11.7 billion unfunded liability which represents about $3,325 per man, woman and child in the state. “We can no longer kick the can down the road. We must confront the seriousness of our fiscal problems now to ensure a healthier economic future for Connecticut residents.” said Senator Boucher.