Newtown Legislators Hail Republican Proposals to Address CT Budget Shortfalls

November 16, 2015

Newtown legislators today hailed Republican proposals to close the state’s current budget deficit and make long-term structural changes to help Connecticut avoid future shortfalls.

These proposals were shared with Democrat leaders and Governor Dannel P. Malloy in bipartisan budget negotiations Nov. 12 and with the public at a Nov. 13 press conference in Hartford.

Sen. Tony Hwang, Rep. J.P. Sredzinski, Rep. Dan Carter and Rep. Mitch Bolinsky said the Republican proposals will put Connecticut back on a sustainable path.

“Connecticut’s current budget and one party governing is not working, therefore we need to chart a new policy course,” Sen. Hwang said. “A bipartisan and honest application of shared leadership and shared sacrifice ideas can help fix the state’s broken budget and put Connecticut back on a sustainable path. I am encouraged that we are finally working for and listening to the people that we represent. I am anxious to go back to work.”

Rep. Sredzinski said, “Although it is unfortunate Republicans were ignored during the regular budget development, there is hope that our ideas and our vision will be included as we move forward, together as a state. Democrats and Republicans should be working collaboratively for all our citizens, including those in Newtown and Monroe.”

“Our government is currently spending 22.4% more than what the budget passed mere months ago reflects on paper,” said Rep. Carter. “This is a gargantuan problem to which the Republican caucus has proposed a viable solution. Our leaders have determined that we can save an imperative $539.6 million over fiscal years 2016 and 2017 by – for example – enacting the Republicans’ Prioritize Progress transportation initiative, offering a Retirement Incentive Program with three years of credit, reducing Citizen’s Election Program grants by 20%, and transitioning new state employees to a Defined Contribution/Defined Benefit Plan similar to Rhode Island. These are the initiatives we need to rescue Connecticut from the brink of collapse both in the short and long terms.”

“I am very pleased that all parties are finally at the budget table and that preliminary discussions have been cordial,” Rep. Bolinsky said. “It’s certainly time to work together to address the severe financial issues that are bringing our great state to a breaking point. If these negotiations are to work, the Governor and his budget-writers must finally recognize that we must stick to realistic measures of our spending and tax policy. Connecticut has never had a revenue problem. We simply spend and waste far too much. To succeed, we all must agree to spend less and work to achieve the real economic growth necessary to return us to prosperity. We can no longer rely on over-regulation and over-taxation of our state’s taxpayers, businesses and job creators.”

The Republican proposals include modifications totaling over $370 million in Fiscal Year 2016, enough to close the current year’s projected deficit while also restoring cuts made to social services by the governor’s September rescissions.

None of the immediate proposed solutions require labor concessions.

The proposals also include tax changes to improve Connecticut’s business environment, including eliminating Unitary Combined Reporting.

The long-term Republican budget proposals include lowering state debt by limiting the amount Connecticut can borrow, identifying and addressing inefficiencies in state government, protecting transportation funding, better managing the state’s pension system, and modest labor modifications.