Republicans Pare Budget Adjustment with Spending Cuts, No Gimmicks

May 1, 2014

Travel Ban, Hard Hiring Freeze in Response to Revenue Loss

HARTFORD – House and Senate Republicans adjusted their proposed budget adjustments today [PDF] to account for the massive loss of revenue announced Wednesday by paring programs and instituting cost cutting measures such as a travel ban and a hard hiring freeze. The proposal still eliminates gimmicks contained in the governor’s and Democrats’ proposals.

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.

“As Republicans, we wanted to eliminate the gimmicks that have been used to balance budgets. We had an obligation, in light of the massive loss of revenue we just learned of, to make these adjustments,’’ House Republican Leader Larry Cafero said at an afternoon press conference. “We look forward to working with Democrats to get the job done.’’

Senate Republican Leader John McKinney said, “Governor Malloy’s budget has come apart at the seams sending everyone back to the drawing board with just one week remaining in the legislative session. Today, Republicans are again offering a workable solution to balance the FY2015 budget and to begin the process of solving the crisis that Governor Malloy and the Democrats created.”

Republicans proposed a hard hiring freeze to save $5.6 million in the next year, as well as a ban on travel and a $5 million reduction to the legislature’s budget. Republicans said their budget will not add to the projected $1 billion plus deficit projected for next year.

Cafero said eliminating Keno gambling was a priority. “There has been consistent, overwhelming opposition to Keno by Republicans. We now wait for the Democratic response,’’ Cafero said.

Some of the proposals the Republicans put forth in their budget plan two weeks ago had to be scrapped because of the expected loss of $282 million in revenue.

Despite the revenue loss, Republicans were still able to restore funding for critical programs by cutting other areas of the overall budget, including debt service and fringe benefits totaling nearly $50 million.

The Republicans contrasted with the current Democratic budget in a variety of ways:

  • $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.