HARTFORD- Rep. Terrie Wood (R-141) joined her House and Senate Republican colleagues today and unveiled the Republican legislative agenda for the upcoming session. The outline includes 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.
You can view the entire proposal by clicking on this link.
“The State budget and economic recovery issues go hand in hand,” Rep. Wood said. “I will work with my colleagues to promote a more efficient and streamlined state government, and to reduce the tax burden on families and businesses.”
Republicans also offered other suggestions on how to deal with the State’s fiscal crisis: rolling back spending to 2008 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. These Republican proposals preserve municipal aid over the next two years, but would still save the State $1 billion. Wood commented, “no significant spending cuts have been made over the last two budget cycles, despite the massive drop off in revenue – this in turn has led to the projected $3.5 billion structural deficit.”
“Our legislative proposals will fundamentally transform the way government functions, making it smaller and more efficient through agency consolidations and employee benefit givebacks, from payroll to pensions,’’ House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., of Norwalk said. “We also offer our other ‘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.’’
Short and Long-Term Savings:
The comprehensive 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 can no longer afford the size of government we have, and our pension and health care benefits are crushing Connecticut’s ability to provide all the services it does. We have to re-order State government now,’’ Cafero said.
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 by 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.
“Businesses create jobs, not government.” Rep. Wood said. “I’m concerned the government is spending and borrowing too much money. Cutting government spending and providing tax relief will allow business to hire new workers, and that benefits everyone.”