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

June 4, 2013

Hartford – State Senator L. Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich) 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, cuts over $500 million from hospitals and raids more than $109 million from the Special Transportation Fund.

“Once again, the legislature had an opportunity to change our state for the better,” said Senator Frantz. “Instead of increasing taxes and making painful cuts to our hospitals, we should be focused on lowering the burden on Connecticut businesses and putting our residents back to work. Unfortunately, we will only continue down this path of future budget deficits until we make the tough decisions necessary to repair our state’s long-term fiscal health.”

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.

“More than 20 years ago, the spending cap was put in place to protect taxpayers from uncontrolled spending,” said Senator Frantz. “In fact, Connecticut voters valued the spending cap so much that they added this important check and balance to the state constitution at the ballot box. In today’s vote, the budget relies on a series of gimmicks to comply with spending cap requirements. However, if it were accurately calculated, the budget would exceed the cap by nearly $155 million.”

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.

Other than spending and taxation, the budget also cuts over $500 million from hospitals around our state, including $30.9 million from Stamford Hospital and $6.1 million from Greenwich 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.

“With nearly 10 percent of our state’s bridges deemed structurally deficient by the Federal Highway Administration, our state should not be raiding the Special Transportation Fund for any other use than transportation infrastructure improvement,” said Senator Frantz. “Along with this poor public policy choice, I simply could not support the majority party budget that increases spending, raises taxes and continues borrowing for operating expenses. Unfortunately, this budget continues to pass the burden on to future generations who will have to make the tough decisions that this budget avoids today.”

House Bill 6704, An Act Concerning Expenditures and Revenue for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2015 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.