Senate minority leader McKinney to hold state budget forum in Bristol Thursday [Bristol Press]

March 19, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Bristol Press

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 7:53 AM EDT
Staff Report

BRISTOL — Senate Minority Leader John McKinney will hold a state budget forum at the Bristol Public Library on Thursday.

State Sen. Jason Welch and state Rep. Whit Betts, both Bristol Republicans, will host the meeting, which is open to the public and will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The forum is the fourth stop on McKinney’s eight-town “Fiscal Responsibility Tour” to discuss Gov. Daniel Malloy’s budget proposal and to gather public input for the coming legislative debate.

“Over the next two months, there will be a vigorous debate about the direction of our state and particularly its fiscal management. I want public input to be at the center of this debate. That’s why I’m hosting this tour,” McKinney said. “The governor’s budget is the most dishonest I’ve seen in my 15 years in the legislature. There are a number of areas where his rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality of his proposal. For example, he claims $1.8 billion in cuts, but his budget actually spends $1.8 billion more over the next two years. And he promised no new taxes, but instead extended several taxes that were set to expire. Wewill spend some time on this tour separating fact from fiction.”

Welch said the governor’s proposed spending increases are unaffordable. But he also believes the governor’s budget fails to prioritize essential government functions. For example, while the budget increases spending on state employees, it would result in significant cuts to state hospitals, he said.

“In Bristol we are dealing with the potential for savage cuts to our community hospital,” said Welch. “Bristol Hospital is central to this community. The governor’s proposed budget slashes nearly $500 million to hospitals around the state. This is not only unfair, it is a threat to jobs, community and the public health.”

“This public forum is a must for all the people who want to know why the adoption of Malloy’s budget will force Bristol to increase by a significant amount our local taxes and lead to the likely elimination of medical service programs/jobs provided by Bristol Hospital,” Betts said.

The forum will include a brief presentation of the governor’s budget proposal and an update on the budget process in the General Assembly, followed by an extensive question-and-answer period.

McKinney said he expects that the budget the legislature ultimately passes will look much different from the governor’s current proposal.

“There are simply too many holes in the governor’s budget for it to gain legislative approval without significant changes. I want Connecticut residents to be heard as those changes are being considered by their elected representatives.”