Emergency Certified State Budget- CT, A Land of Broken Promises

June 3, 2013

Majority Party in House and Senate Break Promise to Public

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) released the following statement today re: her no vote on Emergency Certified House Bill 6704; An Act Concerning Expenditures and Revenue for the Biennium June 30, 2015 (the state budget). After thanking the chairs of the Budget Committee for their many hours of work crafting a budget proposal Senator Boucher made the following remarks on the floor of the senate.

“I rise in opposition to this budget. Two years ago, the minority party, spent months in developing, vetting and balancing an alternative budget which it presented to the new administration and the majority party that maintains a 2 to 1 majority in the House and Senate.

“This budget would have reduced the high, unsustainable structural costs embedded in the state wage, benefits and pension system and added substantial consolidations, fraud protections and additional use of nonprofits for service delivery of programs and put our state on sound financial footing. ”

“Unfortunately, that alternative budget, which did not include tax increases, was dismissed out of hand. The budget subsequently adopted by the majority party did not produce enough revenues needed for their 8% spending increase. Instead, even after the highest retroactive tax increase in history, their budget produced deficits. Now, they are calling for – through the press – a minority party budget proposal. One can only assume this was done as a political stunt.

“The minority party was not invited in the room to negotiate the budget using compromise and in a bi-partisan and credible fashion – as is the norm for serious issues.

“The Governor and the majority controlling the House and Senate have broken their promise to the public for the following reasons:

  • They said no new taxes, but there is. There are more than $300 million in new taxes. Specifically there is an increase in the gas tax from 7% to 8.1% on July 1, 2013.
  • They said the budget is under the spending cap, it is not. 80% of the public voted for spending cap provisions in the Constitution. This budget changes what is considered under the cap. The ethical thing to do is go back to the public for approval to change the rules instead of going around the public’s back. This budget should be accompanied with a declaration of an emergency with a 3/5ths majority vote of both chambers.
  • They said the budget is compliant under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). It is not.
  • They said they would not use gimmicks. Yet they spend more than 8.8% more and borrow for operating expenses.
  • This budget also raids $100 million from the Special Transportation Fund (STF), raids the Banking Fund, raids the Tobacco Fund, raids the Probate Court Fund, raids the Connecticut Energy Fund.

“Many of us on the Transportation committee and in the legislature just passed a bill to stop the raiding of the STF. Transportation dollars should be used for transportation purposes. Sadly, this proposal will not affect the budget until 2015.”

“Connecticut is a land of broken promises. The income tax, spending cap, real estate tax, corporation tax, energy tax were all temporary taxes that were to have been sun-setted and removed from the books. No wonder some here refuse to vote for any new temporary tax, no matter how compelling the argument, no wonder the public does not trust its state government. This budget proposal enacted by the majority party is a disappointment and builds on Connecticut’s reputation as a business and taxpayer unfriendly state.”

The vote in the senate was 19 in favor, 17 against. The budget now goes to the Governor for his signature.

Senator Boucher is ranking member of the Transportation, Education and Higher Education Committees and also a member of the Legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

Boucher represents the 26th Senate District, including the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.