Woodbury Legislators Hail Republican Proposals to Address CT Budget Shortfalls

November 16, 2015

Woodbury 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. Rob Kane, Rep. Arthur O’Neill, Rep. Craig Miner, and Rep. Eric Berthel said the Republican proposals will put Connecticut back on a sustainable path.

“Our proposals protect services for the elderly, the disabled, the sick and the poor, ” Sen. Kane said. “We also protect our hospitals. At the same time, we are making both the short- and long-term fixes that Connecticut’s broken budget so desperately needs. Let’s get to work to make these changes now. These Republican proposals will stop the budget bleeding. We are pleased that our ideas are finally being heard and considered, because our ideas will put Connecticut back on the right track.”

“We need to reduce spending without hurting our most vulnerable citizens. For example keeping 91 million dollars in a fund to provide money, years from now, to a few favored municipal governments while cutting money for the developmentally disabled and health care is wrong. Our proposals do the right thing for the people of Connecticut,” Rep. O’Neill said. “I think we are all at a point where we can acknowledge that there is a need for a change to the way state budgets are developed. The proposals we have put forward are a great starting point for structural change which will provide greater budget stability without cutting from hospitals or Medicaid, or programs that help the state’s most needy,” O’Neill concluded.

“The long and short term solutions to this deficit must be sensitive to our must vulnerable. Long term the plan must include limits on borrowing and mandatory votes on labor contracts by the full legislature,” Rep. Miner said. “I am proud to have been a part of the development of our Republican proposals and hope for a more robust conversation in the coming weeks.”

“By now, it should be evident to every Connecticut resident that the budgeting approach used at the Capitol hasn’t worked—at this point, it’s simply impossible to hide that fact through the types of budget gimmicks used over the last few years,” said Berthel, a member of the Finance Committee. “These bipartisan discussions are a positive step, and I hope the proposals we described today will contribute to the kind of stable outcome that’s long overdue.”

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.