Wow – this editorial really says it well!

July 10, 2017

I thought you’d be interested in this editorial written by CT Hearst newspapers. Now more than ever lawmakers must roll up our sleeves, put politics aside and work together to get a budget passed that moves our state forward.


Democrats, put aside politics for sake of a budget

By Hearst Newspapers

At least we’re not New Jersey.

That state, like Connecticut, started the long Fourth of July weekend without a budget.

As a result, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie decided to shut down all the state public beaches — a punishing move not pursued, thankfully, by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.

An intrepid news photographer caught Christie and his family at the Jersey shore Sunday with plenty of room since it was closed to everyone else.

The next day, the Republican governor and the State Assembly agreed on a budget and by the Fourth the beaches reopened.

Connecticut does not need a let-them-eat-cake moment like Christie’s to get past the stalemate in Hartford, but something has to give.

Connecticut is looking at a staggering $5.1 billion deficit over the next two years and has no agreement — or even a vote — on how to close that gap.

Malloy did his job and presented his budget to the Legislature in February, which few liked as it pushed massive expenses onto local communities.

Senate Republicans developed a balanced budget by the end of April, and House Republicans crafted a version, but couldn’t get the Democrats to talk about it.

And House Democratic leadership, who hold a slim majority, last Thursday unveiled a budget outline that contains a nonstarter — raising the sales tax from 6.35 percent to 6.99 percent, with municipalities getting the option to add another 1 percent on food and beverages sold at restaurants and bars.

We object not so much to the numbers, but to the message that it is OK to keep raising taxes to balance a budget.

The business community in particular has made it painfully clear that policy change and restructuring are necessary to address the spiraling deficits, not higher taxes.

Every day that ticks by will affect services for people who need it the most, such as the homeless, mentally ill and those with developmental disabilities as spending gets reined through the executive order needed to keep the state running.

As of now, the next special session to vote on a budget is not scheduled until July 18.

Not by coincidence, perhaps, that happens to be the day before the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition is scheduled to finish voting on contract concessions negotiated by Malloy.

The tentative agreement is calculated to save $1.57 billion over the next two years through a three-year wage freeze, and higher health care costs and pension contributions in exchange for extending the benefits package another five years, through 2027.

More needs to be understood about the long-term ramifications.

Something has to give.

It’s the Democrats’ turn to blink in this staring contest.

They have offered only concepts and stubbornly ignored the Republicans’ efforts.

Put aside partisan politics and consider the Republicans’ vetted budget as a starting point for compromise.

Good ideas do not belong to just one political party.

We’d like to think Connecticut is better than New Jersey.

But New Jersey at least has a state budget now.