HARTFORD – With time running out on the legislative session, House Republicans today offered a no-tax increase budget that erases the state budget deficit without borrowing $1.3 billion for operating expenses as the plan agreed to between Gov. Rell and Democrats does.
Republicans said the state should get out of the business of running state-owned airports Bradley International and Brainard Field, and create a quasi-public airport authority that would bring in an estimated $800 million this year.
“We have to re-order how the state of Connecticut does business, our fiscal crisis demands it. This is a bold step forward that will reduce the size and scope of government because we cannot afford to continue in the direction we are headed,’’ House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., said.
“The budget the Democrats insisted on does nothing to address the nearly $4 billion structural hole we will confront in just a few months,’’ Cafero said.
Republicans revised the budget they presented April 15 that has no tax increases by committing additional income tax revenue to reduce the borrowing in the Democratic budget by nearly $500 million. The sale of the two airports would eliminate the Democratic proposal to borrow at least $996 million for current operating expenses.
“There is no ‘securitization’ in our budget and no additional taxes after the Democrats raises taxes by at least $1.2 billion last September,’’ Cafero said.
He added, “We believe we have a better way out of this fiscal mess that is only made worse by the legislature’s refusal to deal with the structural holes that have been created,’’ Cafero said.
Republicans rolled back spending levels to 2009 – just a year ago – and proposed numerous agency consolidations and concessions from state employees.
The Republicans said their budget would result in smaller state government through a series of steps:
• Early retirement to reduce the state workforce by at least 1,000 workers;
• Consolidation of leased state buildings that are currently operating at less than capacity. Those buildings would house fewer workers after the early retirements that state workers are clamoring for and the state would not renew leases once the terms end;
• Consolidation of state agencies would continue the process of downsizing state government;
• Privatization of state operations such as maintenance of state properties, parks and forests.
In addition, the budget proposes reducing the size of the state’s prison population by 500 inmates. Under current law the Department of Corrections can contract with other states to have prisoners incarcerated outside of Connecticut. The proposal and would save an estimated $2 million, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis
Republicans planned to offer the budget as an amendment to the Democratic budget.