After months of delay, the majority in the Connecticut legislature has patched together a response to the state’s fiscal problems, using one-time revenues, wiping out the entire Rainy Day Fund and borrowing $2 billion.
Together with new taxes and fee increases, this two-year budget is only a stop-gap measure to be followed by a continuing fiscal crisis in the years ahead, and more tax increases.
Rep. T. R. Rowe, R-Trumbull, said the legislature has missed an opportunity to bring under control the spiraling state spending and ballooning state debt that will be burden future generations. He said the state cannot continue to raise taxes and spending without jeopardizing the jobs and futures of our children and grandchildren.
Rep. Rowe said, “All these tax- spend-and-borrow policies add up to mortgaging our future, and are unsustainable.
“What we are seeing in Hartford is a denial of the real problems facing Connecticut and a lack of leadership to address them. The state has seen almost no new net job growth since 1989. Record numbers of businesses are closing, and the state is seeing negligible population growth. We need to do more than pay lip-service to the crisis we are experiencing. We need some dramatic long-term solutions.
“Unless Connecticut begins to adopt policies that attract people, jobs and businesses back to the state, our faith in a better tomorrow may be in jeopardy.”
Rowe said, “In these tight economic times, I supported efforts to slow the growth of state spending and live within available revenues. This is what people have been doing at home and at work, and state government must do it as well.”
Rowe voted for budget proposals that held spending generally to 2007 levels, rather than allowing year after year increases that outstrip revenues.
“Common sense and fiscal responsibility require state government to limit its size and scope. If not, we will be back again next year and the following years, grappling with the same problems,” Rowe concluded.
Some highlights of the recently adopted budget package are:
- Borrowing $950 million to pay for a spending gap in the last year’s state budget
- Taking on another $1.3 billion in new debt for the next two years
- Adding about $1 billion in taxes that almost surely will slow the economic recovery
- Increasing already high state fees by $100 million for various licenses and permits
- Using $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money to balance the budget, which will not be available for future budgets
- Making few efforts to eliminate overlapping and inefficient state spending