Eliminates Budgetary Gimmicks, Stays under Spending Cap, Won’t Add to Deficit
HARTFORD – HARTFORD -State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123), Tony Hwang (R-134) & Lawrence Miller (R-122), along with Republican lawmakers today unveiled their alternative budget fix that eliminates the budget gimmicks, stays within the constitutional spending cap, cuts government bureaucracy but provides towns and cities with $41 million in promised funding slashed by Gov. Malloy.
To make the plan work, the Republicans relied on cuts to state spending and judicious, targeted use of the excess revenue brought in this year as a result of last year’s borrowing and a number of one-time and unreliable revenues.
“This state is seemingly always experiencing a budget crisis, and it is because the budgets that get passed are not honest and are built on gimmicks, hidden spending, and the continual raiding of off-budget accounts,” Rep. Rutigliano said. “If the Democrats’ budget passes, spending will rise, government will grow, and our deficits in the coming years will be massive. It was absolutely necessary for us as Republicans to present Connecticut with an honest and responsible alternative.”
According to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), out of the three proposed budgets (GOP, Gov. Malloy and Appropriations Committee), the Republican budget is the ONLY budget which does not increase Connecticut’s deficit forecast in future years.
Hwang said, “This is a ‘Common Sense’ budget that reflect the decision-making process similar to our resident households albeit not perfect, it is a step forward. We can no longer continue as government as usual and impose an unreasonable financial burden on our over-taxed residents. We need to balance fiscal accountability with social responsibility. I am particularly focused on pension tax relief for our senior population. Our job is far from complete; moving forward, we need to re-establish a culture of honesty and transparency in Hartford.”
Hwang was especially happy with the additional Critical Program funding of $3.1 million in the Republican Balanced Budget Plan to fund the Governor’s Mental Health Initiative, which has been a chief priority for him the last two years.
“The Democrats’ budget creates 400 new state employee positions, and adds millions in new spending including $827.4 million in one-time gimmicks,” said Rep. Miller. “Our approach takes a more responsible approach while offering meaningful tax relief to those who need it most.”
The alternative plan would eliminate election-year accounting gimmicks, and would also cancel the rollout of the lottery game Keno in bars and restaurants, which was inserted into the budget last year to fill as a desperate move to fill a revenue gap.
“This budget is not perfect, but it is an honest one, and would help to put the state on sound footing. This proposal cuts government spending, while preserving and increasing vital aid to towns and holding the Governor to his promise of restoring the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account,” Rutigliano added.
In addition to removing the use of off-budget accounts, recognizing all liabilities, and eliminating “carry forwards” and “intercepts” of funds, the Republicans’ budget plan would, among other things:
– Restore $9 million in funding to the retired teachers’ health care plan
– Use $196 million in excess revenue to pay off Economic Recovery Notes, which have been delayed repeatedly by Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats
– Restore the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $50
– Eliminate the $60 million business surcharge used to pay for interest on money borrowed for unemployment insurance
– Phase in the elimination of the income tax on all retiree pensions
– Increase funding for mental health initiatives
– Fully fund the teachers’ retirement fund