Republican Budget Plan Makes Long-Term Structural Changes Without Tax Hikes

April 26, 2016

HARTFORD – State Reps. Melissa Ziobron, Christie Carpino, Gayle Mulligan and Sen. Art Linares today praised the alternative state budget put forth by legislative Republicans for its structural reforms, its support for local education funding and its lack of any tax or fee hikes.

House and Senate Republicans presented a comprehensive plan,vetted by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) titledPathway to Sustainability that closes the $935.7 million 2017 budget deficit without raising taxes, no cuts to towns and cities or local education, without using the Rainy Day Fund and sets Connecticut on a five-year path toward fiscal stability.

“For the third time I’ve worked with legislative Republicans to put forth a comprehensive proposal that addresses the state’s budget deficit, and this time we’ve gone a step further and created a five year plan to tackle our ballooning budget woes,”said ranking member of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee Rep. Ziobron who represents East Haddam, East Hampton and part of Colchester. “This budget proposal is an effective long-term vision, which will make Connecticut successful once again and bring us out of the current continuous fiscal crisis we’ve seen year over year.”
“This budget funds core services of government such as the education cost sharing formula for both Cromwell and Portland public schools. The administration of social services is also preserved without reducing monies allocated to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction, as well as providing a 1% COLA increase to private provides,” stated Rep. Carpino who represents Cromwell and Portland. “One of our biggest area employers, Middlesex Hospital, will also receive reimbursement funding ensuring the greatest quality of health care will continue to be delivered.”
“Year after year, Republicans have called on the Democratic leadership and the Governor to end their tax and spend policies, which have single handily chased businesses and Connecticut residents out of the state,” added Rep. Gayle Mulligan (R-55). “If the Democrat leaders aren’t willing to lead then it is time from them to step aside and let the Republicans fix the mess they created,” Rep. Mulligan Andover, Bolton, Hebron, and Marlborough said.

Sen. Linares who represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook said, “Our plan restores the local education cuts that were made by the governor and by majority Democrats in the Appropriations Committee. We feel strongly that the state budget should not be balanced on the backs of students. In addition, our plan does not raise taxes or fees while emphasizing long overdue structural budget changes. We feel our plan helps put our state on a sound, predictable, and stable budget path.”

OFA estimates that if the current budget practices continue, the state will rack up huge deficits over the next 5 years ranging from nearly $1 billion to over $3 billion annually.

The proposed Republican budget would restore funding to core social services Democrats have proposed cutting this year, while also making needed cuts and implementing new policies that generate long-term savings. This budget proposal is projected to produce annual surpluses, with a cumulative total of over $1 billion.

This includes the following:

  • Protects funding for social services
  • Restoration of support for hospitals and Medicaidreimbursements
  • Restores education funding for towns and increases statutory grants to municipalities.
  • Administrative reductions. To enable the state to protect funding for core services, this budget cuts specific, non-service accounts by 12% for a total savings of $157.5million
  • Legislative givebacks including legislative salary reductions and elimination of unsolicited mail
  • Modifications to debt service and a cap on state bonding
  • Funds transportation development with “Prioritize Progress” – a no tolls/no tax increases plan
  • Implements long-term structural changes to the state budget including mandatory voting by the legislature on labor contracts, overtime accountability protocols, as well as caps on spending and bonding, just to name a few
  • Prices out savings from changes to unionized state employee health and pension benefits, to offer an alternative to layoffs should unions come to the negotiation table
  • The Long-Term Five Year Plan does the following:
  • Results in more than $1 billion in surplus by 2021
  • Reduces state spending by $3 billion a year
  • Creates a Long-Term Fiscal planning group
  • Funds ECS at 2017 levels a $7.6 million increase from 2016
  • Provides funds for distressed town and cities
  • Relief from Minimum Budget Requirement that allows towns to reduce education funding equal to the education cuts
  • Provides middle class tax relief by increasing the Property Tax Credit
  • Enacts a workable Constitutional Spending cap and Lock Box

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