Budget Adjustments Prioritize Transportation, Education, Paying Off Liabilities
HARTFORD – Norwalk’s GOP delegation of State Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143), Fred Wilms (R-142) and Terrie Wood (R-141) joined their Republican colleagues in rolling out a budget adjustment proposal for Fiscal Year 2019 ahead of a meeting of the Appropriations Committee.
The proposal aims to eliminate Connecticut’s $200 million budget deficit without raising taxes while maintaining funding for transportation, Education Cost Sharing grants, core social services, and tax breaks for seniors, retirees, and working families. More dollars are also dedicated to repaying the state’s unfunded liabilities, including the State Employees’ Retirement Fund, the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, and the Teachers’ Healthcare Fund.
The representatives will continue to advocate for further structural changes to state government and reduce funds that had been allocated to bailing out the city of Hartford.
“It is not appropriate ever for the state to make promises it can’t keep by undertaking things it can’t afford and neglecting the debts it owes and the services essential to its residents,” said Rep. Lavielle. “Our budget does not use one-time funds to close operating deficits for this year or next. It does not include new programs that we cannot afford. By simply revising our existing biennial budget, it makes the necessary adjustments to preserve funding for essential social programs, mass transit, education, and municipal aid, and then uses the one-time revenues in the budget reserve only to reduce the unfunded liabilities that are keeping the state from moving forward. This is the way to enhance predictability and stability, the keys to ensuring that the state keeps its promises now and for the long term.”
“Unfortunately, our state is running out of options to control costs and pay down unfunded liabilities without drastically cutting services,” said Rep. Wood. “Income tax receipts were better than expected, but my concern is that the good news could encourage some of my colleagues in the legislature to go on a spending spree. We cannot let this happen. Any additional revenue has to be used to ensure Connecticut’s fiscal sustainability for the long-term while protecting local education and making necessary investments in transportation.”
“Once again, we have produced a budget that is balanced, without tax increases, contains no financial gimmicks plus protects our social safety net,” said Rep. Wilms. “Furthermore, the one time revenues from overseas tax repatriations are being placed into our unfunded retirement plans.”
Reps. Lavielle, Wilms, and Wood emphasized the prioritization of transportation funding in the budget adjustment proposal by fully funding the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and preventing rail fare increases not already in statute from being implemented in 2018 or 2019. It protects funding for local transit districts for the entirety of the budget cycle without calling for any new taxes or tolls. In the proposal, funding is eliminated from the planned expansion of CT FastTrak to UConn and used to enhance existing infrastructure.
Lawmakers have until the 2018 legislative session adjourns on May 9 to complete and pass a budget plan.
State Representative Gail Lavielle represents the 143rd district, which includes parts of Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton. She is Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee and the Transportation Committee.
State Representative Fred Wilms represents the 142nd General Assembly district communities of Norwalk and New Canaan. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Planning and Development Committee, and the Transportation Committee.
State Rep. Terrie Wood represents the 141st General Assembly district which includes Darien and part of Norwalk. She is Ranking Member on the legislature’s Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee, and serves on the Human Services and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees.