Urges Governor to Sign Budget Bill into Law “as Soon as Possible”
HARTFORD – State Representative John Frey (R-111) expressed cautious optimism at the passage of the Republican budget through both chambers of the General Assembly early Saturday morning.
It was a historic day after three Democratic State Senators broke ranks and voted for a Republican budget amendment which passed the Senate earlier that afternoon by a 21-15 vote, and the House passed the same Republican budget bill afterward by a vote of 77-73 with five Democrats in favor. It now continues on its path to becoming law, although it is possible he will use the governor will use his veto power and block prevent that.
This budget closes the state’s $3.5 billion deficit without raising taxes or transferring the responsibility for teachers’ pensions to towns, preserves funding for school districts and municipalities, invests in transportation, and protects critical services like those for the intellectually disabled and the elderly. It also contains many structural changes, including consolidating government departments, reducing state employee overtime, restricting state borrowing, and implementing the constitutional spending cap.
“Connecticut just turned a page – it really cannot be overstated how unprecedented last week’s budget votes in the legislature were, or the significance this will have on the future of our state,” said Rep. Frey. “For years now, I have insisted that our state cannot continue to raise taxes and increase spending and also expect to stop the persistent deficit cycle, grow the economy, and fully fund core government services. Last week made it clear that now a majority of legislators representing both sides of the aisle came around and begun to realize that this state needs new fiscal policies that force Connecticut to live within its means in order to turn the economy around. I think families and businesses across the state can take heart in witnessing this seismic shift in Connecticut’s political landscape which should inspire hope that prosperity could be more achievable than many of us thought.”
Rep. Frey noted the legislature’s budget does not transfer the teacher pension costs onto towns, and also restores Ridgefield’s education funding back to current levels. “If this budget were to become law, towns would not have to raise property taxes on homeowners in order to cover costs imposed by the state, which would be a huge relief for our already-overtaxed residents.”
After the Republican budget passed the State Senate, Governor Malloy declared his intention to veto the budget bill passed by the General Assembly. Rep. Frey urged the governor to reconsider, citing the “draconian” effects his executive order could have on local education and other state services.
“Our Democratic colleagues courageously put the wellbeing of Connecticut before party, and that is important to acknowledge, since it means that no matter what the governor decides to do there is bipartisan support in the legislature for securing a brighter future for our state,” said Rep. Frey. “If the governor decides to veto this budget, he would be obstructing a bipartisan budget that respects the will of the people and stubbornly standing in the way of progress for Connecticut. In any case, my colleagues and I will not be deterred.”