Area Legislators Meet with Litchfield County Realtors

February 3, 2016

Torrington – State Representatives John Piscopo (R-76) and State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) attended the Litchfield County Board of Realtors Legislative Night held last week at the Torrington Elks Lodge. During the event, area legislators gave an update to board members and guests regarding the state’s political climate and fielded questions and comments from the group.

“I’m optimistic that Republicans were invited to into budget negotiations to deal with the deficit. However, the difficulty comes in getting the majority party to accept that real and meaningful structural changes in the budget are necessary if we ever hope to get out of the downward spiral we find ourselves in. We offered specific reforms for the short and long term solutions such as spending cuts to pension and health reforms, which have yet to be taken up by the majority party. I continue to hear from my constituents and they are tired of their taxes being raised in order to cover these continued deficits. They expect action,” said Rep. Piscopo.

The legislature was called into a special session to deal with the $350 million budget shortfall in December of last year by the governor. The democratic controlled legislature passed a mitigation package to immediately reduce appropriations for state programs and transferred money from special funds and accounts, including $35 million from the Special Transportation Fund, to the General Fund to address the projected deficit for FY ’16.

“Connecticut is clearly ready for change. Despite efforts in December to close the budget hole, we find our state in the same position yet again with growing deficits for this year and next. We can’t keep living in a cycle of tax increases followed by state deficits. This year’s priority for all lawmakers is to get our state budget under control. Republicans are also proposing long-term structural changes to the way our state budgets. It’s not enough to just fix the budget for a year. We have to make changes that will put our state on a better path for future years and future generations. People need a state government that’s reliable. Financial stability is key to getting there,” said Sen. Witkos.

Despite mitigation efforts, the legislature’s non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) announced last week that the budget is again out of balance for FY16. According to OFA, The new projection of $72.2 million is attributed to lower-than-expected revenues.

The 2016 legislative session will convene on Wednesday, February 3rd. The state budget is expected to be a topic of considerable and ongoing debate.