Can Gov. Malloy’s crashed budget car be repaired?

March 4, 2015

(The following op-ed by Sen. Kane appeared in the March 4, 2015 Waterbury Republican-American)

What a difference a week makes.

“We must balance our budget by living within our means and living within our spending cap.”

That’s what Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said during his budget address Feb. 18.

A week later, Gov. Malloy said to WFSB-TV: “The law says we have to present a balanced budget. It doesn’t say we have to present a budget that stays within the (spending) cap.”

Excuse me?

Let’s hit the rewind button.

In 1992, shortly after the state income tax was adopted, Connecticut voters also approved a constitutional amendment that forbids the state from spending more than Connecticut residents can afford. This is called the state spending cap. It is one of the very few checks we have on the runaway government spending of your tax dollars that takes place year after year at the Capitol.

Fast forward to 2015.

Less than 24 hours after Gov. Malloy unveiled his proposed budget, I had identified nearly $350 million worth of fiscal fibs in his plan.

I brought these findings to the governor’s budget chief and essentially was told, “There’s nothing to see here, Sen. Kane, move along.”

A few days after that, the governor’s office admitted to making a $54 million mistake in the budget.

Hey, everyone makes mistakes, but in this case, the mistake-maker is the governor of Connecticut, and the result is a violation of the constitution.

But even still, Gov. Malloy says there’s no cause for alarm. He says he won’t submit a revised 2016 budget. He says he did his job and his work is done.

That’s like saying, “Sorry, Dad, I crashed the car. Here are the keys. It’s in the garage.”

So, taxpayers, where do we find ourselves?

Because of the governor’s refusal to cut wasteful spending and submit a legal budget, we find ourselves facing more taxes, fees, surcharges, revenue enhancements and tolls.

We are holding the keys to Gov. Malloy’s totaled budget car, and we are the ones who will have to pay to fix it.

*Sen. Kane, of Watertown, represents the 32nd senatorial district. He is the ranking Senate Republican on the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, which oversees government spending.