Klarides: The Day Got it Wrong on GOP Dealing on Budget


The Day’s editorial page allowed Republican lawmakers 11 days to come up with a $40 billion budget response to the tax and spending plan laid out by Gov. Malloy Feb. 8.

How generous.

It took the governor’s bureaucratic budget experts presumably all fall and into the winter to create a universally disliked proposal – most Democrats not living in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport don’t support it either – that shovels much the state’s looming $3.6 billion deficit onto to towns and cities and builds in concessions from state employees. Read More →

House GOP Leader Klarides Says Malloy Budget Guarantees Middle Class Tax Hikes


HARTFORD – Calling Gov. Malloy’s budget proposal “universally unpopular,’’ House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today said the plan would hit Connecticut’s middle class the hardest by shifting the tax burden to towns and cities, and workers who can least afford huge tax increases.

The budget assumes $1.4 billion in union concessions, similar to Malloy’s failed 2011 budget policy that didn’t achieve the projected savings. That led to repeated deficits, including the projected $1.7 billion hole for the next fiscal year, and $1.9 billion the year after. The proposal represents a $200 million tax hike and also shifts $400 million in teacher pension payments to municipalities. Read More →

House & Senate GOP Offer Plan to Restore Education Funding, Eliminate FY17 Budget Deficit


HARTFORD — House and Senate Republicans today unveiled a plan to reinstate nearly $20 million in education funding that was cut midyear to cities and towns throughout the state. The proposal would also eliminate the projected fiscal year 2017 budget deficit.

The proposal would allow the state to restore $18.9 million in Education Cost Sharing funding that was cut by the administration in December and also close the current budget deficit of $11.9 million as estimated by the Office of Fiscal Analysis.

“When nearly $20 million in cuts were made to our schools last December, there was outrage in many communities, and rightly so. The state pulled the rug out from under municipalities, leaving them with deep cuts and impossible decisions to make in the middle of a budget year,” said Senator Paul Formica, Co-Chair of the Appropriations Committee (R-East Lyme). “This proposal today will restore that funding that our towns were counting on. At the same time it will close the current year’s budget deficit to avoid last-minute cuts at the end of the fiscal year.”

“The state must keep the promises it has made to towns, cities and taxpayers. Towns deserve to know what they can count on from the state so they can plan for their own budgets and give local taxpayers predictability. This proposal would restore vital funding to municipalities for our children’s education needs and ensure that unpredictable state cuts are not placed on the backs of local taxpayers,” said Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-East Haddam), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee.

“The longer we wait to address a budget problem the harder it becomes. We hope these proposed changes to restore funding and close the deficit will be adopted swiftly by the legislature in a bipartisan effort to fulfill the state’s commitments to our towns, protect education funding, and eliminate the remaining state deficit,” said Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven).

“Restoring funding that municipalities are counting on is something lawmakers can and should accomplish together,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby).

Supporting Documents:
Governor Malloy’s Dec 29, 2016 letter specifying education reductions to municipalities
Proposed reductions to restore education funding
Summary of proposal savings

House & Senate Republicans Urge Legislature to Pair Pension Refinancing with Reform


HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano  today urged fellow lawmakers to reject Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s pension funding agreement and work together to assess alternative methods to address the state’s growing pension system problems.

The Republican legislators also released data obtained from two actuarial analyses that show how additional steps can rein in the state’s unfunded pension liabilities. Both reports show how pairing pension finance changes with modifications to state employee benefits could increase the solvency of the state pension plan.

Connecticut Pension Contribution Comparison

State Pension Contribution Comparison: Reinvesting $200 million of union concession savings each year reduces future additional costs to taxpayers from $11 billion to $3 billion.

“We can all agree that Governor Malloy’s pension refinancing plan does not fix the underlying drivers of the state’s pension problems. While it would make future payments predictable and flatten out a large payment 15 years into the future, it comes at a heavy cost,” said Klarides. “The governor’s proposed agreement would increase long-term pension expenses by $11 billion and defer over $1 billion in payments over the next two years – pushing off these responsibilities onto future generations. If there is a way to approach this problem differently, to incorporate benefit reforms to stabilize the system, we owe it to the people of Connecticut to explore all options before saddling them with this astronomical expense and approving a plan that could make it even more difficult to attain the structural changes we need. Today we are sharing information about just some of the other ideas that are out there, and urging lawmakers to consider the value in instead pursuing a plan that addresses the root cause of our financial challenges.”

Saving State Pensions (in millions of dollars), Comparison of Unfunded Liability Reduction: Reinvesting $200 million of union concession savings each year cuts the time to pay off unfunded liability by seven years.

“If the governor’s proposal is not about pushing off payments to plug holes in a budget, if it’s not about distracting from the need for significant state employee benefit changes, why not fully examine other ideas to strengthen our efforts?” said Fasano. “If the intention is truly to identify the best way to remedy our serious pension problems, we cannot ignore the value in looking at other options. While the governor’s plan makes payments predictable, that doesn’t mean the plan will make the system stable if benefits and costs are still unaffordable. If we continue to push burdens out into the future with no plan to reduce costs, we are simply repeating the actions that got us into this mess to begin with. We need to consider and understand all alternatives before moving forward with a plan that comes at such a huge cost to the future of our state. We lose nothing by withdrawing the current plan and considering these additional ideas during this legislative session. We don’t know if the governor’s proposal is the right solution just because it is the only option. If there is a chance to obtain benefit changes, the numbers we are sharing today show it’s in the state’s best interest to explore that before committing to the deal before us today.”

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[1] Based on 2016 Actuarial Report of State Employee Retirement System data, as analyzed by Pew Research.

Rep. Fred Camillo Testifies Before Transportation Committee on HB 5178 and HB 5773