Danger Ahead – Recent News Headlines Declare Half of Connecticut Citizens Want Out!

May 1, 2014

In case you missed it here are several excerpts from some of the leading news outlets in our region.

Fred Carstensen, an economist at UConn, “Connecticut is a state that is struggling — a real laggard on job growth; lots of problems with the K-12 system in our larger cities; lousy transportation infrastructure; little sense that it is a state moving forward. (Hartford Courant)

Post-election deficit $1.4 billion and tax receipts plunge. A report from the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis shows that falling tax revenue has opened up a $300 million hole in the next state budget. OFA also projects a $1.4 billion deficit in the budget following the November election. (CT Mirror)

Surplus Collapses; State Projected Taxes Down $461.5 Million Since January: Surplus projections down from more than $500 million to a razor thin margin of $43 million. (Hartford Courant)

Gallup: Half of state residents want to leave (NH Register): Higher taxes, cost of living forcing them to rethink living in Connecticut.

Connecticut has the highest state-local tax burden in the nation. In fiscal 2011, the “Taxpayer Burden” ranged from a low of minus-$34,100 (a surplus, in Alaska) to a high of $50,900 (in Connecticut). (Governing Magazine)

“I’m not going to comment on the details of the budget for next year since I don’t know them. We were caught off guard.”- Ben Barnes, Secretary of OPM the Governor’s Budget Chief. (Capitol Watch, Hartford Courant Blog)

What will it take for the majority party to wake up and stop denying the truth – Connecticut is burning?

Republicans may have been shut out of the budget process, but that did not stop them from stepping up to the plate and proposing some adjustments to the governor’s failed budget.

Several media reports suggest Keno or tolls are inevitable, but the belt tightening that should have happened can and must happen now. House and Senate Republicans made changes to the governor’s and democrat’s budget proposals. The proposed budget adjustments released today account for the massive loss of revenue announced earlier this week.

Republicans did this by instituting cost cutting measures such as a travel ban and a hard hiring freeze. Republican leaders said their aim was to undo Democratic budget “techniques” such as sweeping off-line accounts, including transportation and energy, and eliminating Keno as a revenue source.

Proposed Republican Adjustments to the Governor’s and Democrat’s Budget Plan:

  • a hard hiring freeze to save $5.6 million in the next year
  • a ban on travel to save $2.3 million
  • a $5.2 million reduction to the legislature’s budget
  • $21 million will go to towns and cities in the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account
  • $18.4 million is re-dedicated for the Special Transportation Fund
  • $6 million will go back into the Tobacco and Health Trust
  • $19.6 million will be returned to the Clean Energy Fund.

These Republicans adjustments to the democratic budget will not add to the projected $1 billion plus deficit projected for next year.

Let’s get Connecticut’s financial house in order. Take out the financial fire extinguisher and put this fire out.