Malloy and Democrats’ budget is poorly constructed

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

We oppose an approximately $19 billion state budget agreement between Gov. Dannel Malloy and majority Democrat lawmakers that is fraught with unexplained revenues and one-time gimmicks to achieve fictional fiscal balance.

This budget agreement was crafted after consensus revenues between the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) showed a precipitous drop in anticipated state tax revenue by approximately $460 million. This forced Democrats to abandon plans to send a $55 rebate check to each taxpayer just before the November election.

To help buoy the deflating revenue estimates, the majority party resorted to relying on a last-minute revelation of $75 million in “miscellaneous revenue.” When pressed as to where this newfound windfall was expected to come from, Democrat leadership said they expected to collect the funds from delinquent taxpayers.

Finding $75 million at the last minute by hoping the success of the tax amnesty program will be repeated is a great thing to wish for, but it’s not how government should be run. We cannot support a budget based on assumptions.

The Democrats’ budget also relies on raiding of critical off-budget accounts, including $20.5 million from road and bridge repair funding, $10 million from the tobacco and substance abuse prevention fund and $19.2 million from the Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority.

This budget fails to address the systemic issues which have plagued the financial integrity of Connecticut. We should reduce spending, not fill budget shortfalls through artful accounting and one-time revenue generators. We owe it to our fellow citizens and our children to stop passing budgets we cannot afford. This budget not only continues down the path of fiscal incompetency but further erodes the ability of Connecticut to attract jobs and grow.

The majority party’s budget claims $20 million in unspecified hiring reductions, uses $30 million of one-time surplus, reduces funding to the Transportation Fund which pays for road and bridge upkeep and moves $5.8 million in expenditures to bonding. This budget was also made to appear balanced by moving numerous items outside of the General Fund.

Legislators have a responsibility to make decisions that will protect the people of Connecticut today, tomorrow and for years to come. This budget will cause significant future deficits and reflects the poor planning and wishful thinking that has damaged our state’s fiscal health. To restore economic stability we need to be honest and realistic about spending.

 

L. Scott Frantz
Livvy Floren
Stephen Walko
Fred Camillo

The authors are Greenwich’s legislative delegation to Hartford.

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