Op Ed: State Keeps Stumbling In Veiled Attempt To Avoid Finish Line
By L. Scott Frantz
The 2017 Legislative Session has come to end, regrettably without a state budget to allow Connecticut to be seen as a fiscally stable state over the next two years.
While the state has concluded legislative sessions in the past without a budget, this news comes on the heels of a never-ending cycle of bad reports from the Nutmeg State.
As Aetna looks to imminently leave Hartford, as all three of Wall Street’s most respected credit rating agencies have downgraded Connecticut, and as the Connecticut General Assembly fails to approve a state budget, some may think it is time to leave this sinking ship. But before you think about grabbing a life raft and ditching the Titanic, there is hope for our state, and that hope was offered to Connecticut residents on the floor of the Senate on June 7.
For years, Republican lawmakers have alerted residents to the poor spending habits and fiscal irresponsibility of the majority party, and during all those years Republican lawmakers have offered an alternative budget that would set Connecticut on a fiscally sustainable course.
Without exception, Senate Republicans offered Connecticut residents a budget that would steer this state in what we’re calling “A New Direction for Connecticut.”
The proposed Senate Republican Budget:
• Closes the deficit without new taxes.
• Increases education funding and includes a new ECS formula.
• Stabilizes municipal aid and does not add new financial burdens onto towns and cities.
• Maintains tax-exempt status for hospitals to protect them from a new local hospital tax.
• Preserves core government services by restoring funding for social services and protecting funds for services and programs that benefit people most in need.
• Prioritizes transportation needs and stabilizes funding without tolls or new taxes.
• Lowers taxes for retirees and helps seniors age in place.
• Enhances funding for state parks and tourism.
• Streamlines government.
• Provides for structural changes.
I was proud to help introduce this budget on the Senate floor. This budget lays a foundation that will help restore confidence and stability in our state so that we can retain and attract the businesses that provide well-paying jobs.
Despite the serious financial crisis Connecticut faces and the steady exodus of families and businesses, the Senate was not permitted to vote on this budget. To that end it remains even more shameful that there was no vote on this proposal when the Senate Republican Budget was the only line-by-line budget offered by a General Assembly caucus. Despite this veiled attempt to avoid approving a state budget, I will continue to fight for you—the long-forgotten taxpayer.
At the end of the day, this budget is about Connecticut’s survival, this budget is about keeping our state afloat.
Learn more about what’s in our budget proposal and state employee labor savings plan on our website www.ctsenaterepublicans.com.
State Sen. L. Scott Frantz serves as the co-chairman of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and represents the communities of Greenwich, New Canaan and Stamford.