Connecticut GOP Offers Alternative Budget, Targets State Overtime [NBC] NBC CT

April 24, 2015


Connecticut Republicans backed up their criticism of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s handling of the state budget Friday with a proposal of their own.

House and Senate GOP leaders released what they called the “Blueprint for Prosperity” during a press conference. The new proposal comes just two days before Democrats are expected to adopt their version of the state’s two-year spending plan.

“We’re putting forth a new idea,” said top GOP State Sen. Len Fasano, a Republican from North Haven. “One that’s just not rooted in a two year budget, but in a six-, eight-, 12-year budget.”

Republicans proposed balancing the budget with spending reductions mainly targeted at organized labor and state employees.

They propose cutting overtime pay for state workers by more than $200 million and eventually capping the figure altogether over the next two years.

Republicans contend that when the governor negotiated with unions for concessions four years ago, more than $250 million in committed spending cuts were never realized. They argue that now is the best time to make those happen.

“We are not asking state union employees to give up anything more than what was promised several years ago by the governor,” Fasano said of the proposal.

In a statement, Larry Dorman with AFSCME Council 4 said in a statement that state employees have sacrificed enough during negotiations.

“Without our most recent changes in wages, pension and health care, Connecticut’s budget deficit would be far worse,” Dorman said.

Dorman continued saying that Republicans need to redirect who should make up the deficit.

“Instead of blaming dedicated public servants, it’s time to ask Connecticut’s largest corporations and wealthiest citizens like Tom Foley to help prevent devastating cuts by making a fair contribution to the state budget,” he said.

In addition to the labor cuts, Republicans put back in the budget hundreds of millions in spending for the Department of Developmental Services and Social Services. The governor came under fire for the spending cuts at some of the state’s most vulnerable populations.

One high-ranking GOP source went so far as to say, “This is exactly what the governor wanted to do so he’s not the one on the hook for tax hikes.”

“We in our caucus believe that the people that are most needy, the people that most need our help, that are the most vulnerable, those are the ones that need to be beneficiaries of these budgets,” State Rep. Themis Klarides said.

Democrats announced late Friday that their version of the budget will be discussed and voted on during a committee meeting Monday morning.

A high-ranking Democrat said, “That’s the real starting point for all budget negotiations. We’ll work with the governor’s office and go from there.”

The top Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly applauded the GOP for their efforts without praising the details of the budget document.

“We are pleased that the Republicans have endorsed so many Democratic proposals and look forward to their support as the budget process moves into its final phase,” State Sen. Martin Looney and Sen. Bob Duff said in a joint statement.

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey said in a statement, “Republicans deserve credit for sharing their ideas instead of simply sniping from the sidelines. Some of the minority’s proposed adjustments will be incorporated in the full Appropriations Committee budget, so I would expect a bipartisan vote as well.”