Republicans Lay Out Budget Fix, Restore Funding to Hospitals & Maintain Core Government Services

March 15, 2016

Hartford – Senate and House Republicans are proposing a plan to close the 2016 budget deficit and restore funding to Connecticut hospitals.

“We have to maintain the core functions of government. We have to protect those most in need and ensure that our safety net remains intact. People must come before politics, which is why Republicans are taking the lead to put our state on a better path,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “We are facing the byproduct of failed Democrat fiscal policies, not a new economic reality. Republicans have been predicting this fiscal crisis for over six years and offering our ideas to address the problems time and time again. The Democrats got our state into this mess, but it is Republicans who will lead us out,” he said.

“Democrat lawmakers and Governor Malloy have failed to lead our state and have driven us into the ground,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby). “It’s extremely challenging to fix a budget with only a few months left in the year, which is why Republicans asked Democrats to work together at the start of the year to address our imminent deficit. By now, most money has already been spent. This deficit mitigation package enables us to make the most of remaining state funding with targeted cuts, cuts to the legislature, and preservation of the most vital state services.”

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The Republican proposal would close the state’s $220 million current year deficit as estimated by the governor’s office and state comptroller. The proposed mitigation package would restore all $140 million in promised funding to hospitals, of which the state’s share totals $31.6 million. This funding is partial reimbursement for hospitals’ Medicaid expenses and the care they provide to those most in need.

The Republican plan does not include the governor’s proposed 3 percent across the board cut to private providers. Republicans are also proposing an alternative to potential layoffs as proposed by the governor through a two day furlough for targeted state employees and benefit changes in future years. The Republican plan also includes 15 percent cuts to the remaining funds in various state accounts and targeted reductions.

Also in the plan are multiple cuts to the state legislature including a 10 percent pay cut for lawmakers, the elimination of remaining legislator franking privileges, the reduction of legislative caucus budgets by $100,000 each, and a reduction of legislative expenditures.

The plan accepts the governor’s proposed forgoing of managerial raises in the executive and judicial branches and elimination of a revenue transfer moving funds from this year to next year’s budget.

Republicans are also proposing a list of long-term structural changes to implement savings in future years. These long-term changes include capping state bonding to reduce future debt, mandatory approval of labor contracts by the General Assembly, changes to state employee health and pension benefits, implementation of an enforceable state spending cap, the creation of an office of overtime accountability and multiple other changes.

“In January, we asked the Democrats to get together to fix the budget early because the longer they waited to fix the problem, the larger the problem would grow. Democrats’ refusal to act early has resulted in the devastating position Connecticut is in currently,” said Fasano.

“There’s a pattern here. Every time the Democrats put out a budget we’re driven further into financial trouble. Then, when a problem unsurprisingly appears, they come to Republicans asking for help to clean up their mess. We give ideas, they ignore them, and then they pass another budget that drives us further into the ground. It’s a cycle that is failing our state. It’s a cycle that must be broken. We urge Democrats to hear us now. We need change,” said Klarides.

Attached: Republican deficit mitigation proposal (spreadsheet) and long-term change proposals.

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