Danbury Republican Legislators Ready to Take Lead on State Budget

April 28, 2017

Offer “No Tax Increase” Budget Proposal

 HARTFORD State Representatives Michael Ferguson (R-138), John Frey (R-111) Rich Smith (R-108), Will Duff (R-2), and Steve Harding (R-107) have joined State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24) and legislative Republicans in supporting an alternative budget proposal called “Confident Connecticut” that would balance the state’s budget without increasing the tax burden on Connecticut residents.  The budget proposal, unveiled by Senate and House Republicans on Thursday, is an alternative to the controversial proposal that the governor advocated in February and could be approved by the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee with three votes from Democrats.

“After the Democrats failed to produce a budget this year, the Republicans stepped up and produced a budget that checks all of the boxes for addressing the root cause of Connecticut’s fiscal catastrophe that has taken such a severe toll on families and businesses in Connecticut,” said Rep. Smith.  “Most importantly for taxpayers, the plan balances the budget without increasing their tax burden, which is what I pledged to the voters who elected me and who currently have the heaviest tax burden in the country.  Unlike the governor’s ‘pass the buck’ budget that would explode property taxes, we maintain the property tax credit and restore critical municipal aid for cities and towns.  Confident Connecticut simultaneously addresses our bloated bureaucracy so that we can get spending back under control.  I am very excited to support a budget that at long last includes a constitutional spending cap and requires legislative approval of union contracts.”

The Republican budget plan differs from the governor’s in several key areas, including the restoration of municipal aid funding to towns like New Fairfield, specific concessions from state employees’ unions, and established a constitutional spending cap.  It also spends $313 million less than the governor’s budget.

“This budget would truly restore confidence in Connecticut at a time when our state finds itself in a historically dismal fiscal crisis.  Best of all, taxpayers finally get relief from the constant tax hikes the state has imposed almost annually,” said Rep. Ferguson.  “The governor’s plan balances the budget on the backs of property taxpayers and hospitals.  Another alternative we’ve heard is to put the burden on commuters and border town residents by imposing tolls.  This plan spares these already financially strained and overtaxed groups and asks for specific concessions from state employees’ unions.  This proposal advocating for taxpayers must be the starting point for our budget negotiations.”

“It is time for state legislators to lead and Republicans are up to the herculean budget challenge,” said Rep. Will Duff. “Everyone I talk to, in all four towns I represent, whether at a coffee shop or a gas station, asks me to work at making Connecticut more affordable, which is why I am thrilled that my proposal to end the state tax on pensions and Social Security is part of this budget plan.”

“It is necessary that our state mitigate this deficit without raising taxes on an already overburdened population and provide the proper funding to our local schools which was previously stripped in the governor’s proposal,” Rep. Harding said. “This budget does that and is a positive first step. I look forward to further advocating for our district throughout the budget process.”

“We must restore confidence in the state’s ability to govern responsibly and that means producing a budget where we live within our means,” said Sen. McLachlan. “This budget does this and provides a blueprint for navigating Connecticut out of the cycle of deficits, job losses, and population decline. It does so without tax increases or pushing the burden onto municipalities and hospitals.”

The Republican budget plan is the only proposal put forth by the legislature so far, with the only current alternative being the governor’s proposal that he announced in February.  Legislative Democrats withdrew their proposed budget earlier this week after failing to secure enough votes to approve it and declined to hold a hearing on Thursday for the Republican alternative.

Rep. Rich Smith represents the 108th Assembly district communities of Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Sherman.

 Rep. Michael Ferguson represents the 138th Assembly district communities of Danbury, New Fairfield, and Ridgefield.

 Rep. Will Duff represents the 2nd Assembly district communities of Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, and Redding.

 Rep. Stephen Harding represents the 107th Assembly district communities of Brookfield, Bethel, and Danbury.

 Sen. Michael McLachlan represents the 24th Senate district communities of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman.

A Confident Connecticut Budget Detail

A Confident Connecticut Municipal Runs

Budget Summary