Senate and House Republicans presented a series of budget priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Republicans are calling for lawmakers to act on bipartisan calls to get the state’s fiscal house in order by focusing on the following 3 tasks:
- Implement long-term structural changes to restore sustainability and predictability to the budget.
- Implement the Republican “Prioritize Progress” transportation plan to fund and protect transportation dollars without tolls or tax increases.
- Deal with the fiscal year 2017 budget deficit during the upcoming legislative session.
“Connecticut is stuck in a fiscal fiasco and it’s time for serious changes in the way our state budgets,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “In the last month we’ve seen our deficit for this year grow yet again, we’ve seen our projected shortfall for next year jump to over $507 million, and we’ve seen the out year deficit balloon to over $4 billion. Not only is GE leaving, but people are leaving too. Income tax revenue is down, a result of domestic out-migration and limited growth of high paying jobs. If we want to restore sustainability and predictability it’s not enough to just close the immediate deficit. We have to make long-term changes to the way we budget. We have to plan ahead. We have to budget for generations, not elections.”
“It’s time for action, and Republicans have outlined specific policies that will put our state on a positive path to change,” said House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby). “Given the context of the GE decision, the most recent and worsening deficit projections, and Democrat leaders’ public assurances that they are now open to long-term structural changes, we’re taking them at their word. We hope they will now seriously consider these critical changes to the way we budget.”
Sen. Fasano and Rep. Klarides are asking Senate President Martin M. Looney and Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey to review their long-term proposals and share their own ideas for specific policy changes. They are also asking lawmakers to work on closing next year’s budget deficit.
“It is imperative that we work to close the fiscal year 2017 deficit during the upcoming legislative session,” Fasano and Klarides stated in a letter sent to Looney and Sharkey. “In working towards that goal, we also have to make significant long-term changes to the way we budget and we hope that our ideas can be the starting point.”
Republican lawmakers also released an updated “Prioritize Progress” transportation funding plan. This outlines a long term plan to significantly increase transportation funding to a maximum 30 year total of $71.3 billion, all without increasing taxes or implementing tolls. Based upon the governor’s Transportation Finance Panel’s January 15, 2016 final report, the state’s urgent and essential repair and congestion relief projects total $66 billion over 30 years. The Republican plan would therefore provide more than enough funding to meet identified needs.
The 2016 legislative session commences on February 3.