Hartford Courant Letter: Democrats Are The Holdups

August 17, 2017

Letter to the Editor as it appeared in the Hartford Courant

The Hartford Courant wants a lot of things in the state budget, and rightly so. Recent editorials call for a new fair education fundingformula, a budget that does not raise taxes, and to move more services to nonprofit providers who can provide higher quality care at a lower cost.

But the paper also wanted lawmakers to approve a labor deal that makes all those things nearly impossible. Now that the deal is approved, it’s no shock that Connecticut is further from a budget that meets the above goals. While Democrats said rejecting the concessions deal would have led to chaos, clearly the opposite was true. Approving the deal has increased our challenges significantly.

Republicans have proposed multiple budgets that could have been voted on that achieved all this paper asked for. We’ve updated our proposals and compromised. But not once did The Courant ever give Republicans credit for solving the problem, even though I have consistently provided updates. Instead the paper’s editorials have argued that lawmakers should hold our noses and accept the Democrats’ incomplete ideas, failing to hold them accountable. All the while, Democrats are still working on a first draft of their ideal budget. Incredibly, they approved a labor deal before they knew if they could actually balance a budget under the deal’s provisions. All the while dismissing our proposals and not allowing a vote on any of the existing balanced proposals.

And while the legislature has been stuck with Democrat leaders unwilling to act, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is still pushing for his budget, which would decimate education funding in districts across our state and guarantee dramatic property tax increases. If his budget passed, it’s true our schools would know how much state aid they would get next year. But most would be facing certain cuts that would, without a doubt, create more chaos throughout our schools and guarantee hardship for our children. That’s not fair or right.

Republicans are hopeful that the increased pressure from towns and schools will finally motivate Democrats to offer a budget and negotiate in sincerity with all sides. But if we want action, that pressure needs to be rightly placed on those who have held up the process and not on those who have been stepping up to offer solutions.

State Sen. Len Fasano, North Haven

The writer is Senate Republican president pro tempore.