To Gov. Ned Lamont,

Call to Action is a group of citizens from several towns in the Hartford region who organized in early 2017 to identify joint action that we could take to effectively move Connecticut beyond partisan tribalism toward reasoned civil discourse for important issues in our state. Over the past two years we have participated in voter registration, canvased for candidates, marched for fair immigration reform, lobbied for sensible gun control and environmental regulation, supported the State Elections and Enforcement Commission and been involved in get-out the vote efforts.

We are writing in support of your 2019-2020 biennial budget proposal. We believe that your budget proposal is a solid effort to fund essential services in Connecticut while providing an effective approach to resolving the state’s legacy fixed-cost issues while slowing the growth of government. We might have preferred lower taxes and more reductions in costs, but we recognize that your proposal is a holistic effort to balance the budget, fund necessary services, reduce the reliance on debt and restructure the legacy pension and healthcare obligations. Therefore, we are supporting your proposal as a whole.

Linda Sage, Richard and MaryEllen Thibodeau, Sharon Kelley, Robert Pearce, Richard Mansfield, Beth Owen, Leo and Karen Harrington, Priya Morganstern, Aaron and Tracy Frankel, Bernie and Sandra Forand, Richard Sugarman, Jackie Johnson, Karen Kellerman and Ian and Linda Rickard.

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  1. More people should stand up and express their support for a holistic budget. More support is also needed for tolls. Lee Erdmann

    1. I support a state that lives within its means and in reality.
      I support a state that does not kick the can down the road and let future generations deal with current problems.
      I support a state that isn’t one of the highest taxed, most expensive in the union.
      I support a state where my property taxes would not have doubled in 20 years yet the home value has only increased 20%.
      I support a state that does not continuously tell its citizens ‘one more shared sacrifice’ will solve all our problems.
      And I support a state where its leaders are honest, keep campaign promises, not riddled with conflicts of interest and is filled with citizens who are not afraid to rise up against failed leadership when they see it.

  2. I’m not aware of any Professional Economist who supports Gov. Lamont’s main policy thrust – higher CT taxes – for re-energizing CT’s decade long stagnant economy. Nor am I aware of any post-War State in long economic disarray that has rejuvenated itself primarily through raising taxes. Nor am I aware of any major firm CEO or CFO in CT who advocates such a policy. That the Legislature appears supporting taxes as the primary means of resolving the billion dollar State Deficit is frankly astonishing. And bodes poorly for CT’s economic/fiscal future.

  3. No reduction in the amount of the budget
    More new taxes
    No breaks for seniors
    More sacrifices being asked on an already overtaxed population
    No thanks Governor Lamont

  4. Why not appeal to what’s taught in freshman economics courses throughout the US and propose reducing the CT Budget to close out the billion dollar Deficit rather than proposing new and higher taxes. There’s no empirical evidence anywhere that any State facing major Budget deficits has jump started a long stagnant economy through tax hikes without reducing its Budget. Without getting the “big picture” correct discussions on how to allocate spending aren’t likely to be resolved.

      1. Best I’m aware of there are no restrictions on reducing the over all CT public Union budget outlay. Even with no layoff contract provisions management can still offer generous severance to encourage staff reductions. Nor are there requirements that the inevitable retirements or resignations must be replaced with new hires. These comments also apply to the 169 towns and cities. With the additional complication of arbitration restrictions when negotiating new contracts.

        As to which areas to secure head count reductions that’s for our well paid State administrators and our elected officials to negotiate. The basic argument is that State officials are not precluded from reducing the public Union budget by previous labor Union contracts. And that for a State facing a decade long stagnant economy reducing the State budget rather than raising new taxes to meet a serious budget deficit is the preferred policy.

        It’s important to recognize that CT’s public Unions by themselves are not solely responsible for CT’s high (relative to our means) public labor Union budget. Labor contracts take 2 parties. We expect Union officers to bargain effectively in their members interest. And we expect our elected officials to do similarly in the public interest. Our repeated billion dollar CT Budget deficits suggest to many (but not all) that our elected officials going back decades have not properly represented the “public Interest”.

        So far our new Governor has not announced any major plans to reduce the CT public Union budget in order to properly fund the billion dollar State budget deficit. But seems to favor new tax proposals. While that preference may reflect the political realities the preferred course of action from a strictly economics perspective is to reduce outlays.

      2. Perhaps, CT Mirror could do some “investigative journalism” and identify areas of waste, and dubious programs that the state could cut from.

  5. It’s long been puzzling why it took CT residents and elected officials just about a decade before we had substantial public discussion about the linkages between CT’s lackluster economy, employment levels, the public Union budget, unfunded pension liabilities, major tax hikes, high levels of bond debt and so on. The lost income from CT’s failure to keep up with the national growth rates over the past decade by itself would have paid for many major programs. But that’s water under bridge.

    Come the next national recession/contraction CT is almost certainly likely to experience a contraction in our both our economy and tax collections. Putting additional pressure on the State budget. Given past major State tax hikes and additional tax hikes currently under discussion the pressure to reduce the State Budget is likely to substantially accelerate. We will then find out just how difficult it really is to reduce the public Union component of our State budget.

    And if it proves out what many of us suspect that CT’s economy and troubled State finances are not well positioned for further economic growth then we may well enter a second decade of stagnant growth/employment. The time to make some serious progress on resolving our CT budget issues is prior to the onset of the next Recession.

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