Senator Chapin Opposes Increased Spending and New Taxes in FY14-15 State Budget

June 4, 2013

Hartford – State Senator Clark Chapin (R-New Milford) voted against the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 state budget on Monday, June 3rd. The $44 billion two-year state budget increases spending by 8.8 percent, raises taxes by over $315 million, borrows over $1 billion for operating expenses and cuts more than $500 million from hospitals.

“Two years ago, Connecticut families were hit with the largest tax increase in state history,” said Senator Chapin. “As if that burden wasn’t enough, this year’s budget once again expects our residents to make the tough decisions that this budget unfortunately avoids. Where this budget does reduce spending, it targets essential services. I cannot support a budget that makes devastating cuts to hospitals and reduces healthcare quality and access for families throughout our state.”

Since 1992, the state budget has been limited by a constitutional spending cap that was put in place by voters following the introduction of the state income tax. In previous administrations, the spending cap has been temporarily exceeded under emergency circumstances or to spend surplus funds. This year, the budget violates that process by exceeding the cap without a three-fifths vote of the legislature or the Governor’s declaration of an emergency.

“Twenty years ago, the people of Connecticut voted to add taxpayer protections to the state constitution,” said Senator Chapin. “Today, this budget ignores those protections intended to limit state spending, and we have a responsibility to uphold and respect the wishes of the general public.”

In addition to the spending increase, the budget also includes new tax increases, including the gas tax, the electric generation tax, the corporate tax surcharge and the insurance premiums tax. These taxes stand to raise an additional $315.9 million from families and businesses over the next two years.

Even with increases in spending and taxation, the budget still cuts over $500 million from hospitals around our state, including $26.8 million from Danbury Hospital, $6 million from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, $3 million from New Milford Hospital and $2.5 million from Sharon Hospital.

The budget also relies upon over $1 billion in borrowing for operating expenses and raids $557.9 million from dedicated accounts and one-time sources. For example, over $109 million will be transferred from the Special Transportation Fund. This fund was intended to be used solely for transportation purposes, including the maintenance of our roads and bridges.

“During these challenging economic times, the legislature should not be raising taxes on families, cutting essential health services or burdening our children with additional borrowing,” continued Senator Chapin.

The 111-page bill passed by a vote of 19-17 in the State Senate after seven hours of debate. The budget now moves to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.