The “Band-Aid Approach” to Spending Your Money

December 10, 2015

As your state senator, I strive every day to make our state a better place for taxpayers, jobs and future generations.

Like you, I am fed up with all-too-frequent tax hikes and the ever-growing cost of living in Connecticut which is driving out jobs and families.

We have got to put Connecticut on strong, solid fiscal ground if we are to have any hope of ending what the governor’s budget director has labeled Connecticut’s “permanent fiscal crisis.”

Reaching that goal requires Democrats and Republicans to work together to craft structural, systemic changes to our state budget.

I recently travelled to Hartford for a special session of the state legislature. The goal of the session was to fix our broken state budget – a budget that Republicans and I voted against just six months ago after being excluded from negotiations.

A large part of our mission was to restore funding that the governor cut for Griffin Hospital, Milford Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. These cuts targeted vulnerable individuals and families across our region, negatively impacted good-paying middle class jobs and put basic health care at risk. Unfortunately, this funding was not fully restored. In fact, only about 39 % of the governor’s budget cuts to hospitals were restored.

I was also disappointed to see that the “Band-Aid Approach” to spending your money continues unabated in Hartford.

  • The latest budget “fix” achieves no long-term savings that will help address the $3.6 billion out-year budget deficit. That’s $3.6 “billion” with a “B”.
  • 40 % of the budget deficit plan diverts your taxpayer dollars from specialized funds and one-time sources. That’s a budget gimmick, not long-term solution.
  • Transportation upgrades are supposed to be funded by the state’s Special Transportation Fund, yet this budget bill raids that fund by $35 million to balance the books this year.
  • The bill raids money from our public colleges, biomedical research, and a state school bus seat belt installation fund in order to balance the state budget.
  • No changes were made to the process for approving state employee contracts. It should be mandatory for the legislature to approve these contracts.
  • No reforms were made to our toothless, meaningless Constitutional State Spending Cap. We need a clearly defined, enforceable spending cap in order to rein in government spending.
  • No bond cap was established on the amount of money our state borrows. The state credit card gets maxed out every year. Our debt burden will only continue to grow without this cap.
  • No reforms to state employee overtime abuse were made.

Needless to say, I again voted “No”.

Connecticut needs fundamental changes to our perpetually broken budget in order get us back on a sustainable path. The status quo will not bring about a brighter tomorrow, and we need to be honest about that fact.

As we head into 2016, I hope taxpayers will send a message to the majority in Hartford that lurching from crisis to crisis and hoping for the best is not a strategy. Rather, it is a recipe for disaster which is hurting our state and our families.

I’ll be pushing for those systemic reforms in the way your money is spent, and I look forward to hearing from you on this issue.

Sick of the status quo? Contact me at [email protected] or at 800 842 1421.

*Sen. Kelly represents Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford. On the web: .