From: The Huntington Herald, September 2, 2009
In the context of the ongoing budget debate at the State Capitol, I cannot help but offer an old cliché as advice to my colleagues:
“Don’t eat your seed corn.”
The meaning is simple: even in times of hunger, it is better to plant a crop that will provide a steady stream of food than to eat the seeds now and have nothing left in the future.
Legislators in Hartford would be wise to apply this common-sense to how the state manages its finances and confronts the recession.
The future of Connecticut’s economy is dependent upon job growth and our state’s ability to attract new employers and encourage others to expand. This will secure not only the financial health of workers and families, but will result in more revenues to the state and help avert future budget holes.
The budget that is passed by the Legislature this year will do much to determine our state’s short and long term prospects for job growth. That is why I have joined in putting a budget plan on the table that does not raise taxes in order to protect Connecticut jobs, make it easier for employers to expand their payrolls, and keep tax revenues here in the State of Connecticut.
I have advocated that we plant, not eat, our seed corn.
In engineering economic success, there is no substitute for generating good jobs for all hard-working families. If we are to get unemployment under control we must improve Connecticut’s business climate. As a state, we are widely regarded by non-partisan observers as one of the worst places in America to do business because tax rates are oppressive and regulations severe. As a result, 26,000 employers that once provided income and financial security for hard working men and women have shut their doors in the last two years. We lost $3.2 billion in revenue- over one third of our two year deficit- from 2006 to 2007 because individuals and families migrated to lower tax states.
The no-tax-increase budget my Republican colleagues and I have drafted makes difficult choices to address the state’s deficit. We roll back funding for many state programs to 2007 levels, and eliminate or consolidate various departments across state government. This is not unlike what each and every family in Shelton has had to do during these difficult economic times. These cuts ensure not only that we avoid increasing taxes on job creators in the near term, but that our structural deficit is reduced and does not necessitate a tax increase down the road. All the while, we maintain funding for critical social services like HUSKY, ConnPace, Home Care for the Elderly, and municipal aid for education.
I am encouraged that the Governor has proposed some of our ideas to Legislative Democrats in her compromise budget. Her insistence on spending cuts will save taxpayers money far beyond this fiscal year, though I do believe we can do more than she has proposed. Additionally, while I am disappointed that a business tax increase is still included in her plan, I am relieved that she has recognized the need to spare small and medium-sized businesses – the true engine of our economy.
Most importantly, the Governor’s proposal to reduce the sales tax embraces my belief that job creation is the number one priority in this recession. Businesses account for fifty percent of sales tax revenues to the State of Connecticut, and cutting this levy will save these employers money and in turn create an estimated 8,000 new jobs.
Nobody said crafting a budget would be easy, and the no-tax-increase budget I have proposed makes tough choices. But the Republican budget also recognizes one simple fact: while we might all be hungry now, if we eat our economic seed corn we’ll starve to death later.
Jason Perillo is a State Representative serving Shelton in the Connecticut House of Representatives. He can be reached at 1-800-842-1423 or Jason.Perillo@housgop.ct.gov.