Boucher Statement re: Secretary Barnes Letter on Govt. Shutdown

September 25, 2013

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), a member of the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee released the following statement today re: Secretary of Office of Policy and Management, Ben Barnes letter to agency heads concerning the potential for a government shutdown.

“As soon as this administration’s policies don’t work they blame others. The usual suspects: previous administrations, Washington politics, etc. How can other states who have encountered the very same issues at the national level including threats of possible shut downs show growth while Connecticut’s economy is shrinking?

“One of the biggest problems facing our state is our underfunded pension liability. We are at risk for insolvency if this this is not addressed immediately. We can’t keep offering such generous benefits to new hires without risking the rest of our state employee’s pensions. We have the second most ‘threatened’ pension plan in the nation, according to State Budget Solutions, a non-profit organization advocating state budget reform.

“It is time to accept that the largest tax increase in state history has failed. Governor Malloy’s tax increase is not enough to meet obligations or his rate of state spending.

“For the administration to suggest to agency heads that, ‘ that the United States Congress, particularly the House, may take reckless actions in the coming weeks that will undermine the improvement that we have seen, and threaten our fiscal condition in the months to come,’ is inaccurate and can only inflame the partisanship our constituents have come to loath so much.

“Even Sharon Langer, a senior policy fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of low-income children who benefit from federally financed programs like Medicaid, told reporters today that in the event of a federal shutdown, programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare “would continue” and “the money would still be there” for some time.

“The alarm bell by the administration in Hartford appears to be overstated to divert attention away from the real culprit, runaway spending. This has stymied private job growth and hurt Connecticut’s competiveness, not Washington.”

(Secretary Barnes letter attached)