A provision in last year’s enacted state budget created the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. This Commission was given a mandate to report their findings by March 1st of this year, and they recently released their report. Four committees of the legislature will convene a joint public hearing to review their findings this week in the House Chamber — a first since I was elected. As a legislator who has worked tirelessly on state budget issues, I will be there.
The Commission found that Connecticut’s real gross state product has declined 7.9% when compared to 2007 levels. This represents a loss of almost $20 billion of economic output. The report calculates that the state’s fixed costs will steadily grow to reach 53.1% of every dollar collected by 2020. Our debt — including borrowing, unfunded pensions and health care — exceeds $85.6 billion. Once realistic discount rates are applied, this figure climbs to $100 billion. The Commission members, comprised of business and health care executives from the private sector, were alarmed when they realized how bad the state’s financial outlook is. Constituents who know me will recall I have made similar warnings for years.
I encourage you all to read this comprehensive report. Here is the link
While some incremental progress on the state budget has been made, I have been one of the few legislators continually advocating for focus on our budget crisis. I recall the day during last year’s session when the state revenue forecast dropped by $500 million. Disturbed by this news, out of frustration I took to the podium to question the priorities of the legislature. Status quo seems to be the choice of Democratic legislative leadership. I hope this report and the facts within it are perceived as an overdue wake-up call by state leaders.