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GOP leaders propose alternative budget that strips Democratic gimmicks, offers path to economic stability

Today Deputy House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) unveiled a balanced budget fix that reduces spending, pads the Rainy Day Fund, does not create deficits and stays within the Constitutional Spending Cap – a plan for fiscal stability that sharply contrasts Legislative Democrats’ shadowy gimmicks.

“This budget reduces long-term liabilities, increases municipal aid by $26 million and responsibly reduces spending by $55 million,” said Rep. Klarides, a veteran member of the budgeting-writing Appropriations Committee. “We’re giving the people of Connecticut an alternative to the Democrats’ insatiable growth of government and dishonest tricks like raiding off-budget accounts to fund ongoing programs – which will unequivocally lead to large-scale deficits and tax increases.”

“Our plan provides modest tax relief to residents and businesses, including elimination of the $60 million surcharge thrust on employers resulting from the defunct unemployment fund, accelerated reinstatement of the tax exemption on clothing and footwear costing less than $50 ($133 million); and accelerated restoration of the sales tax exemption on non-prescription drugs ($16.5 million).”

The non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis certified today in writing that the Republican alternative budget is the only proposal that reduces the $1.1 billion deficit projected for the next budget cycle. They state that the plans offered by Gov. Malloy and Legislative Democrats add to that structural shortfall.

“We can’t keep continuing down this unsustainable path of more spending, more gimmicks and bigger deficits, which sets us up for future tax increases. Our budget is honest, and rejects the fiscal sleight-of-hand maneuvers the Democrats use to finance their overly bloated budget, such as raiding accounts intended for road repairs, tobacco and substance abuse prevention, and clean energy investment.

“If the Democratically-controlled legislature continues to spend more than they take in, taxes will continue to escalate, further hampering employers’ ability to create jobs and invest in our state. We continue to see the backward trend of growth in government, without growth in our state economy.”

Other details of the Republican alternative budget include:

  • Increased municipal spending by $26 million
  • Phased-in exemption of all pensions from the income tax, starting at 5 percent
  • Restoration of $18 million in transportation funding intended for road and bridge repairs
  • Restoration of $9 million to the retired teachers’ healthcare plan
  • Addition of $3.1 million in new mental health services

Legislative Democrats’ budget creates $1.1 billion in deficits for the next budget cycle, delays $346 million in scheduled debt payments, relies on $207 million in raided off-budget funds – including raided gasoline tax revenue intended for road repairs, underfunds retiree healthcare by an additional $51 million and grows government with the creation of 443 brand new government positions.

Rep. Klarides added “Ours is the only honest plan out there – Legislative Democrats’ proposal is padded with sneaky accounting gimmicks, and Gov. Malloy’s plan features an election year tax rebate in a tactless attempt to assuage outrage over his record-setting tax increase two years ago.”

Rep. Klarides voted against the Democratic majority’s budget package (HB 5030) that was passed out of the Appropriations Committee on a party line vote on March 27. It now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration. The General Assembly must pass a balanced budget adjustment prior to adjournment of the 2014 Legislative Session on May 7th.

For more information on the Republican budget alternative, click here: http://cthousegop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Budget_Presentation_FINAL.pdf

CT Tax Freedom Day latest in nation again

According to the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group, Connecticut continues to have the latest “Tax Freedom Day” of any state in the nation. Tax Freedom Day is the day each year when the average citizen has made enough money to pay their combined local, state and federal tax bills.

With among the highest tax burden per capita of any state in the nation, it’s no wonder our Tax Freedom Day comes later than any other state: May 9.

http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/TaxFreedomDay_2014.pdf

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To put it in perspective, each of us will spend more on taxes in 2014 than we will on food, clothing and housing combined.

This should tell us something about the way our state government is operating. Connecticut families balance their household budgets on the basic principles of not spending more than they bring home and not borrowing more than they can afford to pay back. Shouldn’t the State of Connecticut do the same?

The state budget is perpetually in crisis, with a projected structural deficit of $1.1 billion for the next budget cycle, according to non-partisan economic analysts. Until we reign in spending, create a stable tax and regulatory landscape and stop passing legislation that fuels Connecticut’s anti-business climate, we will continue to suffer from a lagging economy and shrinking workforce.

I am closely monitoring the legislature’s budget negotiations and will continue to push for common sense economic principles.

Rep. Klarides keynotes young lawyers legislative breakfast

On March 26th, State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) served as keynote speaker at the Connecticut Bar Association’s 2014 Annual Legislative Breakfast for Young Lawyers. The annual event draws dozens of lawyers for a chance to meet state legislators and discuss legal and legislative issues facing Connecticut. Rep. Klarides, who is a practicing attorney, spoke at the Capitol Complex about proposed legislation in the Judiciary Committee and recent judicial appointments.

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Bill Chapman, Government Relations Administrator for the CT Bar Association; State Rep. Themis Klarides; and Kimberly A. Knox, CT Bar Association President.

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Rep. Klarides speaks to the Young Lawyers Section of the Connecticut Bar Association at their annual Legislative Breakfast on March 26th.

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Attorney Michael Goldfarb, Director of Government Relations for the Young Lawyers Section; State Rep. Themis Klarides; and Attorney Chris R. Nelson, Chair of the Young Lawyers Section.

 

Rep. Klarides celebrates Greek Independence Day

On March 25th State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) attended the 20th Annual Greek Independence Day celebration at the State Capitol, which featured speeches by Greek community leaders, folk dance, student poetry readings and traditional cuisine. The celebration commemorated Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, and was sponsored by the Hellenic Student Association Paideia of the University of Connecticut.

(L to R) Rev. Fr. Ignatios Achlioptas of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) and Rev. Fr. Charles Simones of the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Chapel gather at the State Capitol in celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25th.

(L to R) Rev. Fr. Ignatios Achlioptas of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) and Rev. Fr. Charles Simones of the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Chapel gather at the State Capitol in celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25th.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) and George J. Scarveles attend Greek Day at the State Capitol in Hartford.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) and George J. Scarveles attend Greek Independence Day at the State Capitol in Hartford.

 

Rep. Klarides, Gov. Malloy tour Numet in Orange

On October 2, State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy toured Orange manufacturer Numet to learn more about the company’s hiring and expansion made possible in part by the Insurance Reinvestment Fund (IRF). The fund is a public-private partnership that incentivizes insurance companies to invest in Connecticut small businesses, giving them the assistance needed to create jobs and grow within the community. The tour was coordinated through Advantage Capital Partners, a national firm that seeks to invest in entrepreneurial small businesses and has worked with Numet to help them expand.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) tours Orange Manufacturer Numet on October 2 to learn more about how the company will be hiring more employees – a decision made possible, in part, by the state’s Insurance Reinvestment Fund.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) tours Orange Manufacturer Numet on October 2 to learn more about how the company will be hiring more employees – a decision made possible, in part, by the state’s Insurance Reinvestment Fund.

(L to R) State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114), Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-14), Numet President Andrew Gale and State Rep. James Maroney (D-119) toured Orange manufacturer Numet on Oct. 2 to learn about their planned expansion.

(L to R) State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114), Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-14), Numet President Andrew Gale and State Rep. James Maroney (D-119) toured Orange manufacturer Numet on Oct. 2 to learn about their planned expansion.

Klarides honors “Valley Women Making a Difference”

Today State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) participated in the thirteenth annual Valley Women Making a Difference Luncheon at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby, where she joined more than 200 people in recognizing local women who have made positive contributions to the community. Rep. Klarides and Sen. Joseph Crisco presented the following eight women with legislative citations in honor of their accomplishments and contributions to the Naugatuck Valley: Celeste Beattie, Susan DeLeon, Linda Gorel, Maureen Helgren, Joan McTaggart Kayser, Barbara O’Neil, Michelle Pagliaro-Haywood and Donna Skurat.

Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit Griffin Hospital’s Valley Breast Care Fund which helps provide uninsured women with mammograms and diagnostic testing for breast cancer. Contributions to the fund can be sent to Hewitt Breast Wellness Center at Griffin Hospital, c/o M. Vallillo, 350 Seymour Avenue, Derby, CT 06418.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) presents Joan McTaggart Kayser with a legislative citation in honor of her contributions to the Valley community.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) presents Joan McTaggart Kayser with a legislative citation in honor of her contributions to the Valley community.

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State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) – far right – and State Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-Woodbridge) – second from right – congratulate the “2013 Valley Women Making a Difference” honorees at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby.

Klarides: new laws effective October 1

To keep you informed about new legislation affecting our state, I would like to bring your attention to the list of soon-to-be state laws and regulations taking effect this Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

Some of the measures include new penalties for failing to report child abuse, the implementation of labels for genetically engineered food, increasing the safety of workers in work zones and addressing the medical needs of children.

Below is a link to the Public Acts with the sections that will take effect, along with links to summaries for each Act:

http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/Content/AEArchives/ActsEffective1013.asp

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