Posted on November 10, 2020
HARTFORD – Today Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), incoming House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) and Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) wrote to Governor Ned Lamont to ask that the Governor immediately call a meeting of all state legislative leaders to begin addressing state budget issues.
[Read the letter here]
Their letter comes on the same day new state consensus revenue projections were released and House Democrat leaders made statements calling for increased borrowing and suggesting that action on the budget cannot occur until April.
“Today we heard House Democrats say that nothing regarding the budget can be decided until April 2021,” Kelly, Candelora and Formica wrote to Governor Lamont. “At the same time, they called for increasing borrowing, ignoring your promised ‘debt diet.’ It is important to invest in our state, but putting more expenses on the state’s credit card, and therefore on the backs of our children, has not been a successful strategy for our state in the past. Especially as we are already pushing up against our debt limit, this proposal is concerning. We need to meet to address the budget and also to discuss the reality of how close we are to the bonding limit already. Because the Finance Committee has yet to adopt updated revenue estimates in over a year, well before the pandemic, the state is ignoring what we know to be the reality of the current situation and putting us dangerously close to the bond limit. This must be discussed.
“The problem with waiting until April to take any action on the state budget is that it allows problems to worsen to the point where we will be left with few choices when it comes to balancing the budget. We have seen that play out before. Not doing anything, and instead counting on the rainy day fund or borrowing to fill budget holes creates a self-fulfilling prophesy that we will have no other options or tools available to us to stop the pain and keep our state finances afloat,” they wrote.
The Republican lawmakers emphasized the importance of addressing budget shortfalls to ensure funding is available for core needs, the most vulnerable and relief for working and middle class families.
“We must face the pandemic head on and that includes prioritizing funding for core needs such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, protection for seniors, education, job creation, and basic safety net supports. To best ensure that funding is properly prioritized for these needs, we cannot put off addressing our budget issues and shortfalls,” they wrote.