The current fiscal year ends tomorrow, and Connecticut still does not have a budget. I am disappointed that we were not called in to the House Chambers today.
It is incredibly frustrating that our proposals have been so offhandedly rejected by the majority party, especially considering that for the first time in modern history they failed to produce a budget until this afternoon. Their statement that was released with the budget calls it a “revised” plan, but make no mistake, this is misleading given that they had no previous budget to revise. This fact is unprecedented and speaks loudly to their overall failure to fulfill the basic requirement of state government leadership.
Missing the deadline, and the increasing the chances for a prolonged budget debate, results in huge problems for our towns and cities who count on state revenue to help run local government. Those most at-risk and in-need of social services will undoubtedly be affected.
House Republicans have produced three balanced budgets without increasing taxes. We have determined how Connecticut can hold municipalities harmless, restore education funding, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and help Connecticut move through this fiscal crisis. Our most recent plan accomplishes the following provisions:
• Phases in exemptions/reductions on taxes on Social Security and pension income, and the estate gift tax
• Places a hard cap on bond issuance at $1.3 billion per year
• Maintains current Education Cost Sharing disbursements to towns, and adds an additional $20 million for education spending
• Implements a state government hiring freeze
• Increases our focus on fraud prevention and recovery
Our vision for the state is to control spending, impose structural changes that result in significant savings to guard against future deficits, and get a handle on exploding pension and healthcare costs. These are all core elements of our budget proposals, which I was ready to vote on today. Our budget deserves to be called. We do Connecticut residents no favors by circumventing the tough decisions like this. Rest assured I will do what I can to make sure that these important decisions are acknowledged and our critical work is done. We, House Republicans, have been doing our jobs, have a full budget and are ready to lead.
Connecticut will be run temporarily on a Continuing Resolution, which continues providing funding at a rate based on the previous year’s budget, until July 18th – when we have been called into a special session to vote on the new budget, as the majority party is not ready today, tomorrow, and apparently does not anticipate being ready, to vote on their budget for approximately 20 days. It is unfortunate that they do not feel as confident in their plan as we do in ours.
It is the darkest before dawn. The new era of leadership with a bold vision and ready to make the tough decisions is around the corner.
For more information and documents on our latest and past budgets, please visit www.cthousegop.ct.gov/budget. I will do my best to keep you updated.
Rep. Srinivasan represents the 31st district of Glastonbury.