HARTFORD- State Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, R-Naugatuck, today joined with House and Senate Republican legislators in unveiling a proposed 2009-2011 alternative state budget that would retain existing state funding for Naugatuck without raising taxes. The budget package presented by House and Senate Republicans would preserve vital state programs and services at 2007 levels, and greatly reduce government costs through cuts, agency mergers, retirements and salary and benefit concessions. Rep. Rebimbas serves as a member of the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee.
The proposal would also retain the $500 property tax credit for families earning as little as $46,000 that would be eliminated under the budget package approved by the Legislature’s Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees, through largely party-line votes, on April 2. Rep. Rebimbas voted against the spending provisions in that plan, which would require $3.3 billion in new taxes — the largest tax hike in state history.
Republicans today pledged to work with Democrats and Gov. M. Jodi Rell to produce a two-year budget Connecticut can afford and not drive more jobs out of state through tax increases. Gov. Rell’s February budget proposal also had no tax increases, but state revenues have continued to deteriorate and the plan unveiled today accounts for the revenue drop projected by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA).
Additional highlights of the Republican alternative budget are:
• Early retirement to save more than $285 million;
• State worker concessions for salary, health care and pension benefits that save $662 million;
• Folding 23 agencies into six and implementing a hiring freeze to reduce overhead costs. Two more agencies would be merged into the General Fund;
• Overhauling the higher education bureaucracy that duplicates services and drives up tuition for families struggling to pay for college;
• Using the Rainy Day Fund for what it was intended – fiscal distress;
• Imposing $900 million in hard cuts;
• Engaging private companies that can perform duties such as state park maintenance
“This budget is not perfect but it demonstrates that there are many areas we can cut before ever having to raise taxes on residents or eliminate services on our most vulnerable or needy,” said Rep. Rebimbas. “The fears proposed by the Democrat budget two weeks ago: That without raising taxes, we would be forced to close our universities, release prisoners and cut funding to towns is just not true.”
“I will be the first to say that this budget is not pretty and it incorporates many hard cuts,” added Rep Rebimbas. “However, with its introduction, I look forward to working with my Democrat colleagues and Governor Rell to see a responsible budget passed into law. The days ahead will be challenging but I encourage everyone again to contact their elected officials and let them know how they feel about the budget and how it would impact them personally.”