Floren: Bonding bill asks for too much borrowing

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Having served as ranking member on the Bonding Sub-Committee for seven years and being challenged to create a bonding bill agreeable to the majority — this year’s task was one of the most difficult I have ever faced.

Although my colleagues and I worked tirelessly on this package, the final product is something I cannot support. The debt burden presented in this legislation is just too high a price to pay.

I believe that borrowing to cover operating costs is counterproductive. If the bonding package does get passed, the state will be borrowing far beyond its means. Not only will this increase the amount of debt, but it will prolong the payback period to the next two generations. If we can’t pay this money back, with interest, then we should not borrow it.

In an effort to get back on a balanced fiscal track, the state has a goal of repaying the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) deficit, currently estimated at $1.2 billion, over a 15-year period, resulting in an annual payment of $80 million. But instead of being disciplined and simply budgeting $80 million a year to pay back a debt to ourselves, the Democrats propose to borrow money and pay $27 million more in interest charges each year.

Taxpayers are being asked to unnecessarily pay $186 million over the next 13 years. This is the equivalent of paying off one credit card by charging on another one.

There is much about the bond bill I find admirable. It takes care of deferred maintenance of state-owned properties and other real assets and funds education from preschool through college with emphasis on technical training and community colleges. It also provides for affordable housing; continues a commitment to open space preservation and protection of the environment; repairs and improves our infrastructure; and modernizes technology by upgrading programs across agencies.

The money invested will increase efficiency and enhance cost-effectiveness and cost savings. All of this accomplished while staying under the bond cap.

However, I cannot agree to this magnitude of additional borrowing to cover operating costs.


Livvy Floren

 The author is the state representative from Connecticut’s 149th District.

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