“It is crystal clear…”

July 18, 2017

(The attached Waterbury Republican-American editorial concludes thatIt is crystal clear Republicans offer better vehicles for reaching Gov. Malloy’s goal of avoiding or minimizing tax increases while making structural changes to the budget.”  Please share this with taxpayers, send me your comments at [email protected] and review the Senate Republicans’ line-by-line plan atwww.NewDirectionCT.com. I urge taxpayers to keep the pressure on House Democrats at 860 240-8500 and Senate Democrats at 860 240-8600. Urge them to “allow a debate and a vote on the Senate Republican budget.” Thank you!)

2017-19 state budget: GOP spending plan advances

(Waterbury Republican-American Editorial)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy faces a moment of truth.

Connecticut’s legislative Republicans have proposed 2017-19 budgets that constitute breaks from the status quo.

What Gov. Malloy does will say a lot about what kind of state he wants to leave to future generations.

Connecticut faces an approximately $5.1 billion deficit in the biennium that began July 1.

Capitol policymakers were unable to agree on a budget before June 30. Gov. Malloy will unilaterally control the state’s finances via executive order until one is in place.

July 11, House Republicans unveiled their proposal, an appealing option.

“The House GOP plan seeks to limit state borrowing to $1.3 billion per year, a major drop from the $2.2 billion the state borrowed in 2015. It also calls for eliminating hospital property taxes,” Hearst Connecticut Media Group reported. “Republicans would also eliminate the cap on motor vehicle tax rates, reduce the state workforce, offer communities some mandate relief (and) preserve municipal aid.”

It doesn’t rely on a sales-tax increase – as House Democrats’ plan does – legalization of recreational marijuana use or “sweeps” from special funds.

Best of all, the House GOP budget would secure $2 billion in personnel savings via statutory reforms.

Gov. Malloy and many legislative Democrats favor the “concessions” deal the governor negotiated with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.

We addressed the formidable flaws of this deal in detail in previous editorials. Assuming it is ratified by the rank-and-file state workforce, it should be rejected by the legislature. “It’s just not working,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said of state government’s modus operandi.

Senate Republicans have presented a similar – although not identical – plan.

It seems more likely than not that one or the other, or both, Republican budgets will be voted on.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, has acknowledged Rep. Klarides is entitled to introduce an amendment bringing her caucus’ budget for a vote.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, likely will face a backlash in his evenly divided chamber if he doesn’t allow a vote.

Indeed, there is a decent chance one of the GOP budgets, or a fused package, will clear the legislature and head to Gov. Malloy’s desk.

Assuming the Senate Republican caucus is united – and there is no reason to believe it isn’t – only one Democrat will have to defect for a GOP budget to pass the upper chamber.

At least three Democrats, including Sen. Joan V. Hartley of the 15th District, have conservative fiscal instincts.

Meanwhile, in the House, “Democrats have a seven-vote majority, and that means they cannot lose more than three of their 79 caucus members on any vote,” according to a July 12 Republican-American story.

This and other news reports noted several moderate Democrats, Rep. Liz Linehan of Cheshire among them, are potential “swing” votes on the budget issue.

It is crystal clear Republicans offer better vehicles for reaching Gov. Malloy’s goal of avoiding or minimizing tax increases while making structural changes to the budget.

Hopefully, the governor will grasp this if a GOP budget clears the legislature.