You are undoubtedly hearing lots of news about the dysfunction regarding the state budget. June 30, 2017 marked the end of the previous fiscal year and there is still no budget in place for the new one. We are now at the mercy of Governor Malloy who will keep Connecticut operational using executive orders because the Democrats who retain the majority, and control the agenda, have failed to introduce their own budget and simultaneously refused to allow a vote on the Republican version — a balanced, no-tax-increase budget that fully funds towns so they are not forced to raise property taxes.
I keep seeing reports that there is “plenty of blame to go around.” I wonder how that is since the Democrats have had complete dominance of our state government for nearly 40 years. The last two state budgets under Governor Malloy contained not only the two largest spending increases in state history, but also the two largest tax increases as well. Note that there was not a single Republican vote for either one!
Indeed, my Republican colleagues have opposed the last several state budgets that have led us down the path we are on — the path that has created such economic uncertainty and the predicament we find ourselves in today. We knew this situation would be inevitable and we have made that clear by offering alternatives each biennium aimed at controlling spending, lowering taxes, and making the state more attractive to businesses — and jobs.
Despite passing those two largest tax increases in state history in the last six years, the result is that revenue numbers are falling. This is because our economy is being hurt by those same taxes. Consumers are leaving the state for places where they can keep more of their own money. Businesses are failing because consumers have less money to spend and because they are leaving.
House Democrats, a mere two days before the end of the fiscal year, finally announced that they have a budget ready to vote on but then say they want to put it off until July 18th? — and let Governor Malloy rule the state by Executive Order in the meantime! That doesn’t sound so “ready” to me.
So far all I have heard about the House Democrat budget proposal is that it includes a hefty hike in the state sales tax! That would be a huge mistake! Increasing the tax burden on the citizens of Connecticut now will only further hurt our economy and chase even more people away.
Further complicating matters is that the Senate Democrats have said “no” to the July 18th date. Conversely and most importantly, my Republican colleagues and I have indeed been ready for a debate and vote on our proposal of a “no tax increase” budget since May 16!
Unfortunately, the Democrat leadership in the House of Representatives continues to block us from bringing our plan forward for a vote — and because they continue to hold a slim majority, they also control the agenda and the decision to debate or vote on any issues (including the long overdue state budget) resides with them.
Recently, my fellow Republicans and I stood outside the chamber of the House of Representatives at a press conference to make it clear that we were there, ready to do the peoples’ business, as we have been since the start of the legislative session.
The governor and his allies have made this the hardest state to live in with the highest taxes, highest energy costs, and most regulations. We have a plan to reverse this course and get Connecticut moving again. Unfortunately, it seems clear that since they aren’t ready to offer a plan of their own, they prefer the option of letting us continue on rudderless rather than take the chance that a Republican budget might actually pass!
The citizens of our state deserve better than what they are getting from the current administration. I plan to continue beating the drum that we deserve an up or down vote on the Republican budget plan and making it known that we have been ready to do our job all along.
Rep. Rob Sampson represents Southington and Wolcott in the 80th House District.
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