WILTON — Yesterday, General Assembly members of the Finance and Appropriations Committees heard budget forecast presentations from the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and the Office of Policy and Management, the governor’s budget office. After attending the meeting, State Senator Toni Boucher made the following statement:
“Governor Malloy’s own budget office made it very clear today that the administration’s policies have done nothing to reverse Connecticut’s downward economic spiral. Despite the historic tax increase of two years ago and this year’s record gas tax hike, our state’s economy, is the only one that shrank in 2012. As the rest of the country enjoys a robust rebound, a growing job market and higher housing prices, Connecticut is mired in high taxes, job losses and debt. Both reports we heard project huge impending deficits, and neither foresees any prospects for a solid recovery.
“The Malloy administration continues to insist that Connecticut has a revenue problem, but the real problem is spending, not revenues. The state continues to spend more than it takes in, because the administration and the legislative majority have not taken spending reductions seriously as a policy alternative. Taxing more is not the answer, as the record income, sales, and gas taxes already in place have brought in less revenue than forecasted. Taxpayers don’t have the means to pay for the escalating fringe benefits, debt service, and other costs that are bursting the budget at the seams. The state is carrying long-term debt obligations that are less than 50% funded, and taxpayers are seeing 25-30% of what they pay to the state applied to state employee pensions and healthcare costs.
“The governor had a chance to avoid this fiscal mess when he took office by reducing spending and negotiating contractual changes with the state employee unions that would have not only improved the state’s financial equilibrium but also have made their own retirement conditions more secure. Why would he turn down such an opportunity? Once again, he put special interests before the public’s interest. It’s nothing more than pandering. And it just might bankrupt the state.”