Letter: Republicans blameless for state budget woes

August 22, 2017

By Len Fasano

Letter as it appeared in the New London Day

To argue that Connecticut Republicans hold blame for the state not having a budget is to ignore the facts (“No one escapes blame for budget stalemate”), Aug. 17.

First, let’s be clear. Republicans have proposed multiple budgets, modified our proposals repeatedly and pushed for votes again and again over the past four months. All the while Democrats have still yet to offer a full budget that can be voted on.

Republicans worked hard to craft and revise our budgets multiple times to meet the concerns shared by all parties, but we do not have the power to call anything for a vote. That power lies solely with the Democratic leaders of our legislature who have refused to vote on not only Republican budgets but also refused to hold votes on the governor’s budget and mini-budget proposals.

Second, The Day argues that Republicans are at fault because our budgets “never had a political path to gain enactment.” Essentially, because Democratic leaders didn’t like our budgets, they were pointless in the eyes of The Day.

This is the opinion of the same editorial board that said just a few months ago that “Republicans in the Connecticut legislature have proposed a series of reasonable structural changes to balance the collective bargaining rights of state workers and the need to control long-term spending and protect the interests of taxpayers.” This newspaper said making legislative changes to pension and health care benefits, as has been done in other states, would “provide the legislature the flexibility it needs” to adjust benefits and get our budget under control.

So let’s get this right. The Republican budget makes sense for the state, but by sticking to our principles and advocating for the changes our state so desperately needs, we are to blame for Democrats dragging their feet on the budget?

We are to blame for Democrats not proposing a budget and not voting on anything because we’ve offered good ideas?

That unless we cower to the Democrats, and support what they’ve thrown out as rough concepts, including significant tax increases and deep cuts to education and municipal aid, then we are to blame?

I think the people of Connecticut see that our state needs a new direction. We were not elected to continue to perpetuate the same failed policies that have created the financial mess Connecticut faces today. Acquiescence to a failed policy is not the answer.

Len Fasano of North Haven is the Senate Republican President Pro Tempore.