Klarides and Fellow Republicans Reveal ‘Common Sense’ Legislative Agenda
Proposal Rolls Back Spending, Freezes State Workers’ Pay, Shrinks Government
HARTFORD – Deputy Republican Leader Themis Klarides of Woodbridge, Orange and Derby stood with fellow Republicans today, January 25th to reveal the priorities of the Republican legislative agenda. The outline includes massive state government reorganization and downsizing, freezing state employee salaries and other across-the-board spending cuts to save Connecticut taxpayers billions over the next two years. The state faces a projected $7 billion deficit for the next two years.
“We, the Republican caucus, have a plan. Year after year the majority party decided to push hard decisions down the road, and we now face a daunting $7 billion deficit for the next two years. The legislature must start today to cut spending and find ways to create government efficiencies. Our plan does just that, but we must start today. Inaction is not an option,” said Klarides after the news conference.
Republicans also offered other suggestions on how to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis: rolling back spending to previous levels to save as much as $1.6 billion; a 5 percent reduction in the state’s workforce for $250 million in cuts; and state employee givebacks worth nearly $1.75 billion. Republicans said that their proposals preserve municipal aid over the next two years still saves the state $1 billion. Despite the massive drop off in revenue, no significant spending cuts were made over the last two budget cycles, which caused this year’s large deficit.
Short and Long-Term Savings
The set of proposals include immediate savings for taxpayers, such as the 10 percent pay and perk cuts for lawmakers to realize $3.7 million and elimination of longevity bonuses for state employees to save $30 million annually. The two-year pay freeze for state workers would save $337 million, according to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Republicans said the long-term restructuring of pension benefits for state employees would require them to contribute more to their retirement packages and would raise the age of when workers could retire.
“We offer our ‘Common Sense’ ideas of re-ordered priorities to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis that for too long has been ignored at the taxpayers’ expense,’’ said Klarides.
Other features of the Republican plan:
• Merging 43 agencies into 11, including combining all Legislative Management agencies into one entity
• Reducing the number of managers using private industry standards to determine the proper ratio to rank and file workers
• Limiting bonding to 10 percent of state budget. Connecticut borrowed $1.6 billion to pay for operating expenses in the last two years
• Eliminate the 10 percent corporate surcharge and the business entity tax
• Provide tax credits to companies that hire off unemployment rolls
Follow this link to download a copy of the proposal.