NEWTOWN, Conn. – Calling it a “Band-Aid” fix to Connecticut’s chronic budget problems, Newtown's Republican legislators state Sen. Tony Hwang and Reps. Mitch Bolinsky, J.P. Sredzinski, and Dan Carter voted against a budget mitigation package to address the $350 million deficit during a Special Session.
On Dec. 8, the legislature put forward and approved a plan to cut projected deficits of $254 million in the current fiscal year and $552 million next year. The Newtown legislators said the plan did little to reassure Connecticut residents that the state will not be in deficit before the end of the fiscal year.
Although the proposal made changes to many of the business tax increases, including restoring some funding to hospitals, it also raided $35 million from the transportation fund and provided no acknowledgement of the structural changes needed to address the deficits Connecticut faces next year ($358 million in July) and in 2018-19 ($3.5 billion).
“I was encouraged by the bipartisan process in which Republicans, who have long been shut out of budget discussions, were invited into the negotiation room to share our ideas and solutions," Hwang said. "As a result, this bill contained many positive changes on corporate and personal tax relief. However, the bill was ultimately weighed down with Band-Aid fixes and budget gimmicks. This bill lacked long-term structural solutions to our budget problems. It simply kicks the can down the road, delaying and avoiding critical decisions. Connecticut is in a fiscal crisis, and that demands bold, courageous leadership. We can do better, and we need to do better.”
Sredzinski agreed, saying, "The citizens of Connecticut deserve better than a 'patch and fix' mentality from their state government. ... It fails to address our long-term needs and that is why I couldn’t vote in favor of the bill.”
Bolinsky said the state needs to solve its long-standing fiscal crisis. "True, it plugged today’s $350-million hole – but tomorrow, we go back into the red," he said. "That’s crazy and screams out for changes to how we budget in Connecticut.”
Carter also blasted the plan. “It boggles my mind that the majority is continues to kick the can down the road by rejecting sound proposals that would help our state manage the budget crisis. To adopt a few proposals that attempt to mitigate the damage they are causing, especially to those who need quality mental health services, and pass it off as a responsible plan is unacceptable.”
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