Republicans’ FY13 Budget Adjustment Reduces Spending, Rolls Back Malloy Tax Hikes and Funds Critical Pension and Education Reforms

March 29, 2012

Hartford, CT – Republican lawmakers today proposed alternative budget adjustments [PDF] for FY13 that fund critical education and pension reforms within existing appropriations while providing immediate tax relief for Connecticut’s citizens. The Republican proposal spends $342.7 million less than Governor Malloy’s FY13 proposal. It fully funds caseload growth in all human services programs and contains a post-GAAP surplus of $92.4 million.

“The largest tax hike in state history was imposed on Connecticut taxpayers just six months ago and our state is now $200 million in deficit. What has been tried is still not working so we have to insist on new priorities and meaningful cuts. Our hands have been significantly tied because of the deal the governor signed with state unions, but we have to play the hand we have been dealt,’’ said House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. (R-Norwalk).

“Once again Republicans have proven there is a better way to balance a budget. In many areas, like education, public safety and pension reform, our proposals are more comprehensive than what the Governor and Democrat leaders have put forward, and yet we have found a way to deliver these reforms while simultaneously reducing spending and providing tax relief,” said Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield).

Tax relief proposed in the Republican plan includes the reinstitution of the sales tax exemptions for clothing and footwear under $50 and non-prescription drugs as well the full restoration of the $500 property tax credit. These proposals would save taxpayers more than $300 million in FY13.

With respect to public safety, the proposal modifies the controversial risk reduction credit program passed by Democrats last year to not allow time reduction for those individuals convicted of a violent crime or a crime that involved a firearm. The program applies retroactively to 2006 and allows Connecticut criminals – even those convicted of manslaughter and rape – to earn time-off of their court ordered prison sentences for “good behavior.”

The Republican budget adjustment also funds the hiring of 168 state troopers which would bring the state police force in compliance with the statutory minimum of 1,248 troopers. While the new hiring will cost the state a total of $8.9 million in FY13, it will result in a savings of $4.9 million in FY14 due to the reduction in overtime pay.

“In addition to making meaningful education and pension reforms, legislative Republicans have placed a premium on fiscal discipline and public safety in this budget proposal. Our view on these issues as outlined by the priorities we’ve established in our budget stand in stark contrast to those of majority Democrats and the governor,” said Senator McKinney.

Republicans also took aim at fraud which account for millions of dollars in state government waste every year. Adding 26 fraud prevention positions in the Department of Social Services and assigning that unit to the Division of Criminal Justice will result in millions of dollars in savings over time. An additional 12 positions would be dedicated to Medicaid fraud detection and 75 percent of the costs would be paid by the federal government.

“We know historically that fraud within these programs goes undetected and unreported,’’ Cafero said. “The food stamp debacle last year proved that the state is not managing its resources and we need greater accountability.’’

Click here for highlights of the Republican proposal.