Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to discuss the status of our state and the current budget crisis with many leaders and officials in our local community. It pains me to hear the drastic impact Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed cuts would make to some of the most fundamental aspects of our towns, particularly in the schools. Unfortunately, without a budget, the governor has the authority to continue making these unacceptable and arbitrary cuts. This is exactly why I have been demanding that the Speaker of the House call us into session for a budget vote.
I want to make structural changes to the way our government runs this state, because it’s our prized community at home that’s suffering. The way our businesses and schools are being treated is not acceptable. This is not the reality that our taxpayers deserve; I won’t accept another deficit in six months, and I wouldn’t expect you to accept one either.
Last week, the governor’s office announced and the legislature approved cuts totaling $78 million. Even though I believe this is only a Band-Aid to a structural problem our state government faces, it is a better way to resolve our deficit woes without going after our hard-working taxpayers once again. This deficit mitigation plan only addresses this fiscal year’s current gap. What has to be addressed before the conclusion of this session is the $900 million deficit we are facing in the year ahead.
As a caucus, my fellow Republican legislators knew that the budget could not remain sustainable for long. That’s why we fought keenly through the night to achieve a better financial plan back in June. When our attempts to amend the unbalanced budget failed that night, we had no choice but to vote against it if we wanted something better for Connecticut.
When the budget implementer bill was presented to the House chamber during the special session on June 29, we had mere hours to read it over and realize that despite some changes made for the better, this budget didn’t do nearly enough to steer Connecticut in the right direction. Much discussion has been focused on corporations and the unconscionable unitary tax placed upon them, but make no mistake; this budget does not discriminate in regards to its negative impact upon both businesses and residents.
Senate Democrats are proposing to create a new level of government that would absorb a portion of local taxes to be allocated to other cities or towns. The bill would take money away from the towns that have it, and give it to the towns that need it based on their population numbers and property values. Instead, we should be reevaluating the government’s spending problem, which has been ignored for years.