The following is a press release from state Rep. Themis Klarides, state Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, and state Sen. George Logan:
House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, State Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, and Senator George Logan (yesterday) announced the final approval of a bipartisan budget that averts Gov. Malloy’s devastating education cuts to cities and towns and installs structural municipal mandate reform that will provide long-term relief sought by local leaders and the taxpayers they serve.
House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said, “This is a day of hope for the people of Connecticut. The budget we have put in place includes historic spending constraints that will hedge against future deficits. While this budget is not perfect, it reflects the core Republican components of spending restraints, less borrowing so that we can finally start living within our means.”
Klarides said the state will be able to close the massive deficit with less than a 1 percent increase in taxes and fees. The bulk of the tax hikes are on cigarette sales and the hospital taxes that will be refunded by the federal government once the state completes its application to the Federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).
Rep. Klarides-Ditria added, “It has been 117 days without a state budget in place, and over a month since the governor’s reckless executive order went into place. Our communities would have been devastated if the governor continued to control the state finances. As a freshman State Representative, I was proud to see Democrats and Republicans work together to craft a budget that makes real structural changes. We still need to make more spending and tax reforms, but this budget moves us in that direction.”
Sen. George S. Logan said, “This bipartisan budget provides predictable municipal aid so that Ansonia and Derby know what they can count on from the state. This plan averts the deep cuts contained in the governor’s executive order. It does not shift teacher pension costs onto towns and cities. We cap state spending and borrowing. We do not increase the sales tax or income tax. We do not put a tax on cell phones. We protect funding for individuals with disabilities. We protect funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment to fight the opioid epidemic. We protect services for seniors, including the CT Home Care Program, Meals on Wheels and non ADA dial a ride. It is an honor to represent Ansonia and Derby, and we will always work tirelessly to protect taxpayers.”
The budget features a variety of spending constraints:
• Finally, implements an effective cap on state spending
• An annual bonding cap of $1.9 billion in borrowing, a half billion less than what Connecticut put on its credit card last year;
• A revenue cap that prevents the state from spending all the money it expects to take in annually. Somehow we always seem to fall short of revenue projections;
• A volatility cap that will automatically send any excess revenue to the Budget Reserve Fund.
In addition, the budget also blocked tax increases on income, sales, and hotels and new taxes on cell phones, secondary homes, and restaurants. The approved budget also prevented the teacher pension shift to municipalities and will phase-in exemptions of taxes on Social Security, pensions, and estates.
The budget passed the House 126-23, after several hours of debate, a margin that would overturn another veto by the governor. For more information on the bipartisan budget, visit cthousegop.com/budget.
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