State Rep. John Piscopo joined Republican lawmakers today in rejecting plans to cut town and city aid and instead proposed closing the projected budget deficit by cutting state spending by $466 million. They called for immediate action from Democrats whose budget was unbalanced as soon they passed it in September.
The Republican proposal reduces the sales tax from 6 to 5.5 percent as originally planned, which will save consumers an estimated $129 million. The plan achieves the savings to cover the deficit and provide sales tax relief by reducing spending across state government by 6.5 percent.
“Just like the families and businesses I represent, state government must reign in its appetite for spending to help spur an economic recovery,” said Rep. Piscopo. “We have presented a way to close the projected budget shortfall without cutting aid to towns and cities, which would only lead to increases in property taxes and cuts to important services on the local level.”
Republicans embraced the level of spending cuts put forth last month by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, but rejected a proposed $84 million cut in aid to cities and towns. The Governor has called the legislature into special session Dec. 15 to address the budget crisis, but Democrats have not indicated whether they will comply.
The $466 million in spending cuts include taking $28 million from the Citizens’ Election Fund and cutting most accounts in the Democratic budget approved Sept. 1 by 6.5 percent. Republicans said taxpayers should not be forced to pay for political campaigns while Connecticut families are cutting their own budgets and more than 71,000 workers have lost their jobs. They pointed out that the state’s public financing system has been ruled unconstitutional in court and must be changed.
The Republicans pointed out that as the state’s deficit grew in 2008 and 2009 Democrats repeatedly refused to cut spending in any significant way and created the gridlock over the state budget that was not passed until Labor Day, three months after the start of the fiscal year. States that passed their budgets on time found themselves in a much better fiscal position.