Fasano & Klarides Respond to Governor’s Call for Bipartisan Budget Talks

October 19, 2015

Hartford – Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) released the following statement today in response to the Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s call for bipartisan budget talks.

“Connecticut has a long way to go to fix the financial mess Democrats single handedly created in our state. As Republicans have constantly shown over the past year, we stand ready and willing to work collaboratively with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to do what is best for the people of Connecticut. But lawmakers should not be forced to negotiate in the margins of a budget that is entirely void of sound fiscal policies.

“The reason why we are facing shortfalls today is because this budget was broken from the start. It is not Wall Street that is causing our financial problems, it’s the fact that the state budget was built on false assumptions and was in deficit as soon as it was enacted. That’s why we have to take on a holistic approach in a special session to completely rethink the budget in both the short and long term. We need structural changes, tax reform, a constitutional transportation lock box among other real changes to affect a more positive economic picture for Connecticut’s future. We also cannot confidently address these issues until the governor and Democrats recognize the true size and scope of the budget problem, which we believe to be a deficit well over $400 million. Anything less would be counterproductive and only lead to the need to adjust again a few months from now. Budgeting is all about priorities. Serving the poor, elderly and other vulnerable populations while protecting state taxpayers are our priorities. Our decisions will not occur in a vacuum.

“We cannot forget that we are where we are because Democrats and the governor refused to see the warning signs and repeatedly denied the truth about the severity of Connecticut’s budget issues. There could have been an easier fix if the Democrats simply had conversations with Republicans a year ago. For the past year, Republicans have asked month after month to be included in budget talks. We warned Democrats that the state’s financial problems were worsening. We explained that without significant change our state would continue facing perpetual budget shortfalls. Yet our warnings were ignored, our ideas dismissed, and our offer to help completely rejected. The end result was a one-sided Democrat budget that has completely failed our state.

“We thank the governor for calling for bipartisan conversations. We are sure that if the majority party and governor are committed to real change and forward thinking to bring prosperity to Connecticut, then collectively we can achieve that goal.”