Republican legislators have unveiled their new proposal for a no tax increase State budget. At 3:00pm today Governor Malloy was asked for comment on the proposal and replied he had not yet read it. That however did not deter his Senior Advisor Roy Occhiogrosso from announcing what the Governor thought of the proposal.
According to Mr. Occhiogrosso “The governor appreciates the time and effort the Republicans put into this document, and appreciates them agreeing that he can achieve $2 billion in savings with state employees. But with all due respect, this budget is not balanced, it relies on fiscal gimmicks, hurts job growth, cuts important funding in education, shreds the safety net, and fundamentally undermines clean elections in our state.” So much for bi-partisan co-operation and any consideration from the Governor, we have the word of his advisors without the Governor ever reading the proposal.
It is possible that Mr. Occhiogrosso and company do not have all the answers, after all they have controlled the legislature for an awful long time and gotten us into this financial mess. So, let’s take a look at some of the Republican proposal, maybe we can find some good ideas our Governor could include in his budget.
Here are some highlights from the Republican budget proposal:
- The Republican proposal does not include any reduction in the $500 property tax credit. (Governor’s budget calls for a reduction to $300)
- Republican proposal would cut 2,700 state-employee positions
- Establish a tax amnesty program (this has worked in the past to bring in revenue)
- Eliminate public financing of political campaigns (Extremely expensive program for taxpayers, if not eliminated could we cut it down)
- Close two seasonal state ferries across the Connecticut River (Save over $500,000 if we don’t need it in the winter maybe we can’t afford it in the summer)
- Close seven rest areas along state highways (That does not include any of the gasoline stations or convenience stores along the Merritt Parkway or Interstate 95)
- A 10% salary cuts for all legislators, commissioners, executive directors, and constitutional officers. (Is that so unreasonable?)
- Eliminate the controversial longevity pay for non-union employees (this would save $14 million per year)
- Shut down the motor vehicles office in New Britain (it is only a short distance from other offices)
- Consolidate the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women with other commissions
The proposal also relies on the $1 billion in savings and concessions from the state employee unions which is in agreement with Governor Malloy’s budget proposal. I would not call any of the above ideas “shredding the safety net” but I do find some common sense and fiscally responsible thinking.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on good ideas and ruling out ideas just because they are formulated by another political party does not serve the citizens and taxpayers of Connecticut very well. It’s a sad situation when the Governor’s Senior Advisor immediately dismisses any ideas coming forth from the Republicans in the legislature and tells us what the Governor appreciates before Mr. Malloy has even read the proposal.
Seems the only idea this capital crowd likes so far is increased spending and more taxes. Sit tight because the Democratic legislative budget proposal has yet to be made public, but unlike Mr. Occhiogrosso I am willing to believe and I hope you do too that both political parties can formulate some good ideas.