Report by Paula Antolini
April 28, 2017 6:52AM EDT
Bethel Legislators Offer No-Tax-Increase Budget
HARTFORD- State Representatives Will Duff (R-2) and Stephen Harding (R-107) along with State Senators Toni Boucher (R-26) and Michael McLachlan (R-24) stood arm and arm with their House and Senate Republican colleagues and put forward a balanced, no tax increase budget which sets the Connecticut on a new fiscal course.
With Connecticut on the brink of fiscal disaster and facing a $3 billion budget deficit which seems to grow by the day, the Bethel lawmakers presented the only balanced budget plan which does not raise taxes before the General Assembly to date.
Unlike the governor’s budget which raised taxes by $200 million and the legislative democrat plan which would raise taxes by over $400 million, the Republican plan DOES NOT raise taxes.
The Republican budget spends $500 million LESS than the Democrats’ budget and $313 million less than the governor’s budget.
“Republican have drafted a well though-out no tax increase budget with numbers vetted by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis,” Sen. Boucher said. “Cuts were necessary and not everyone is going to like them, but action is necessary to stop the flow of jobs and people who are leaving Connecticut every day. Most importantly, our budget alternative proposal increases education funding and restores money for core services without shifting financial burdens onto towns, hospitals or nonprofits. This provides a blueprint to revive the state’s economy and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put the plan in place to bring more certainty and confidence in the state of CT.
“We must restore confidence in the state’s ability to govern responsibly and that means producing a budget where we live within our means,” Sen. McLachlan said. “This budget does this and provides a blueprint for navigating Connecticut out of the cycle of deficits, job losses, and population decline. It does so without tax increases or pushing the burden onto municipalities and hospitals.”
“It is time for state legislators to lead and Republicans are up to the herculean budget challenge,” said Rep. Will Duff. “Everyone I talk to, in all four towns I represent, whether at a coffee shop or a gas station, asks me to work at making Connecticut more affordable, which is why I am thrilled that my proposal to end the state tax on pensions and Social Security is part of this budget plan.”
“It is necessary that our state mitigate tis deficit without raising taxes on an already overburdened population and provide the proper funding to our local schools which was previously stripped in the governor’s proposal,” Rep. Harding said. “This budget does that and is a positive first step. I look forward to further advocating for our district throughout the budget process.”
Other Budget Highlights include:
• Consolidations of state agencies
• Eliminates funding for UConn branch of FastTrack bus service
• Eliminates taxpayer funded campaigns
• Mandatory Approval of labor contracts by the General Assembly
• Requires $700 million in union concessions
• Cancels bonding $250 million for the XL Center
• Enact a constitutional Transportation Lockbox
• Phases out the income tax on pensions and annuity income
• Exempts social security from income tax for middle income seniors
According to the latest report by the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the state budget is projected to run a $1.7 billion in deficit in 2017-18, and $1.9 billion in the red in 2018-19, according to Governor Malloy, for a combined biennial shortfall of $3.6 billion.
If the April income tax estimates hold, the deficit forecast would rise to $2 billion in 2017-18 and $2.2 billion in 2018-19 which would represent a potential gap of 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively.