Posted on June 4, 2019 by Greg MacKinnon
HARTFORD – State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) stood with his Republican colleagues to oppose the Democrat budget, which came up for debate during Monday’s House session. Legislators were given less than 24 hours to review the document before the Speaker called for a vote. The budget, approved on a party-line vote, is comprised of $865.1 million in new taxes in Fiscal Year 2020 and $921.3 million in new taxes in Fiscal Year 2021.
“The Governor had promised a new way of doing business in Hartford. I believed his promises because he was a political outsider. He sounded like he’d work to bring a softer edge to the Capitol and stimulate a culture of mutual respect. When his partisan rhetoric began, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, still hoping his promises and ‘open door policy’ would play out. But, his door was open only to those who might trade favors in return for supporting his tolls. Gone was the promise of change to the ‘business as usual’ dysfunction that has put our state in financial crisis for decades,” said Rep. Bolinsky. “There is no evidence of structural changes in this budget. Instead, he’s growing the size and cost of the nation’s second-highest tax-burdened state and, with this budget’s lack of strategic vision, propelling Connecticut to become the highest-taxed state. Sorry to say, that’s not a recipe for growing our population or attracting the business investments needed for economic prosperity. Quite the opposite.”
According to Bolinsky, the most hypocritical piece of this budget is that it literally does nothing to address our state’s transportation and infrastructure problems.
“Another broken promise, made worse by heavy fund transfers out of the Special Transportation Fund,” Bolinsky continued. “This is in direct conflict with the desires of 80% of Connecticut residents, who voted in November of 2018 to amend the state’s Constitution to include protections for transportation funding. Quickly after swearing-in, the Governor and his friends found the keys to the Constitutional Transportation Lockbox and began diverting ‘dedicated transportation dollars’ to other budgetary needs and earmarks, unrelated to transportation projects. Their solution: find enough votes for tolls in the regular 2019 legislative session. News Flash: The money to support a $2 billion a year capital infrastructure plan is already collected from us in gas taxes, gross receipts tax, motor-vehicle sales tax and more. If only we can spend it on what we were told it was for.”
Rep. Bolinsky cited that the continued misplacement of state funds makes the public distrustful of the state government and its overall ability to serve.
Rep. Bolinsky said, “What has gone on is a diversion of funding to ensure other priority projects have money, while the state’s roads and bridges continue to crumble. During today’s budget deliberation, I proudly supported several amendments that would have kept this fund intact and enable several other structural changes focusing on paying down long-term pension liabilities. These ideas were voted down by the majority party in Hartford. It’s sad, but actions speak far louder than words.”
The Republican amendments, all of which failed, included the following:
“The governor increased spending, made no attempt to find efficiencies or savings in his budget plan back in February. Now, Legislative Democrats doubled-down, moved more money away from transportation and tacked on $100 million more spending. More spending equals higher taxes, especially in a contracting state economy,’’ Rep. Bolinsky said. “This plan will further hurt our state’s financial well-being, restrict growth and, I fear, lead to more people and business leaving the state of Connecticut.’’