Posted on May 22, 2013 by admin
Two budget proposals, one by the legislative Democrats and one by Governor Malloy, propose we increase state spending to never-before-seen levels. The spending increases (both proposals are in the neighborhood of 10%) come as Connecticut faces a $3 billion budget deficit over the next two years; times we can least afford to increase spending.
The one thing standing in the way of the big-spending proposals is our state’s constitutional spending cap. The spending cap was put in place in 1992 as part of the compromise that went along with the state income tax. It was meant as a tool to help slow future spending given the state’s access to the new revenue windfall.
The spending cap has not stopped spending. In fact, state spending has increased 153% since the cap was put in place; growing at a much faster rate than the inflation rate and population growth. But, it is impossible to say how fast state spending would have grown over the last 20 years without this stop-gap measure in place.
Even with the spending cap in place government has become too large too fast while taxpayers and businesses foot the bill.
We think it is important for us to avoid using the spending cap as a scapegoat for our budgetary woes and, instead, look at finding efficiencies and spending reductions in state government. Most importantly, we should focus on improving the business climate to encourage job growth. Done properly, this will inject more tax revenue into our coffers by growing the base, not the rate, and obviate the need for changes to the spending cap.
Now is the time for people to reach out to their own elected officials to urge them to oppose any changes to the constitutional spending cap that will exacerbate our budget problems. The cap stands as a final firewall that is slowing government spending—albeit barely. Changes to the cap will only allow the government to speed up spending and avoid some of the difficult decisions that should be made to get our budget under control.
Take action, call your legislators and tell them to vote no on spending cap modifications.
State Representative Vincent Candelora is the Deputy House Republican Leaders in the CT General Assembly. He represents the 86th District communities of Durham, Guilford, North Branford and Wallingford. State Representative Noreen Kokoruda represents the 101st legislative district communities of Durham and Madison.