Connecticut does have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

May 9, 2012

There is a better way.

Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) released the following statement today re: HB 5557 MAKING ADJUSTMENTS TO STATE EXPENDITURES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2013.

“On Tuesday the Senate took up the majority budget adjustments and they also proposed to fix a more than $200 million dollar deficit that took many by surprise given that the administration had just enacted the largest retroactive tax increase that many are still feeling the sting of.

“I was proud to be a part of the minority budget adjustments that would move the state in the right direction. A direction that takes us away from headlines that proclaim Connecticut is the worst state for business, retirees and for taxpayers. And the last in the country to have a tax freedom day of May the 5th.

“The last thing the public wants to hear is that Connecticut government is continuing to spend more each year. The rate of growth in this biennium has will grow to 7.2% . While our neighboring state such as New York reduced its rate of growth during this tumultuous time in our country’s economy.

“Although the alternative republican budget reduces spending from that proposed by the majority, it still funds the following:

  • education reform
  • extends the cap on the gasoline gross receipts tax
  • reinstates the sales tax exemptions on clothing, footwear and over the counter drugs
  • and pays for a transfer to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

“It also recommends a 10% reduction in pay for Commissioners, Constitutional Officers, Executive Directors, and Legislators and eliminates bonuses for non-union employees.

“Importantly for our over taxed rail commuters this alternative budget removes the 4% rail tax increase set to begin on January 2013 and does not raid the special transportation fund to pay for general operating expenses.

“Our residents have suffered mightily in the last year. They saw their home values decline, and saw their salaries decline. And have lost their jobs. While the government jobs have increased and the state’s spending has gone on unabated.

“The state of Connecticut will increase spending 7% more over the two year budget cycle at a time when we are in a recession.

“The majority party recommendations on the budget adjustments do not help the residents of our state. After the largest tax increase in state history and retro-active to boot – state government could not pay its expenses.

“The majority party is now recommending some questionable solutions that come at a time when the public is very suspicious of more taxes ahead.

“The recommended budget adjustments made by the majority include:

  • Borrowing from other accounts ($70 million from the Special Transportation Fund, and $4 million from the Banking Fund) to pay for general operating expenses
  • Little to no cushion ($500,000 surplus)
  • In FY 2013 we will end up in deficit and are assured a $327.3 million deficit in FY 2014

“It is often the response of the minority side to oppose budget and tax policies of the majority that do not align with its values. However, in this state the minority party has provided alternative budgets in the last six years that were detailed and vetted by Office of Fiscal Analysis as balanced and implementable with out further tax increases and corresponding decreases in spending. This alternative budget reflects a value that you should not spend more than you make.

“Bipartisan cooperation has produced excellent results when the majority party is open to and considers the suggestions of the other side. This was clearly seen in the Governor’s bipartisan jobs legislation and recent successful education reform.

“It is my hope that some of the detailed suggestions put forth in this alternative budget proposal will also provide some useful ideas and inspire the administration as they navigate the next two years that will surely be as challenging as the year we have just experienced.”