Senator Kelly Opposes Tax Increases, Hospital Cuts in FY14-15 State Budget

June 4, 2013

Hartford – State Senator Kevin C. Kelly (R-Stratford) 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 $557 million from other dedicated revenue sources.

“Every two years, we have an opportunity to set priorities to show our constituents where we want our state to go in the future,” said Senator Kelly. “Unfortunately, this budget is filled with broken promises and it continues to burden our families through additional taxes and borrowing.”

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.

“For the past 20 years, the spending cap has served as a powerful check and balance on uncontrolled state spending,” said Senator Kelly. “Speaking with people around our district, I heard time and time again, ‘Please don’t break the spending cap.’ Make no mistake about it, this budget exceeds the spending cap, and the state must respect this important taxpayer protection.”

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 $27.3 million from St. Vincent’s Hospital, $22.5 million from Bridgeport Hospital and $4.2 million from Griffin Hospital.

“This budget makes significant and sizeable cuts to our hospitals,” continued Senator Kelly. “I simply cannot support these devastating cuts that will reduce healthcare quality and access, eliminate good paying middle class jobs and shred the safety net that many in our communities depend upon.”

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 is intended to be used solely for transportation purposes, including the maintenance of our roads and bridges.

“Ultimately, I am disappointed with many aspects of the budget offered by the majority party,” continued Senator Kelly. “Instead of raising taxes on families and burdening future generations with more borrowing, the legislature should focus on making our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

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.