Democrats release updated budget proposal

May 16, 2017

I am writing to update you on where things stand with the state budget discussions which continue to be the focus of this legislative session. Unfortunately, decades of underfunding our debt obligations, underinvesting in transportation infrastructure and ignoring our cities as regional economic drivers has caught up with us. This has resulted in low economic growth and a strained budget.

This week, the Governor and the respective legislative caucuses released proposals for a balanced budget.

Resolving an estimated $2.3 billion budget deficit over the next two years will require many tough choices. Our legislative Democratic proposal presents a fiscally responsible starting point in working to craft the blueprint for moving Connecticut forward.

This proposal contains significant restructuring to make state government more efficient while protecting investments in workforce training and business growth.

Our proposal does not increase the state sales tax, personal income tax or corporation taxes.

We commit to living within our means by:

  • Cutting our non-fixed budget costs by 7.1 percent from FY17 to FY 18
  • Consolidating state departments and services
  • Saving $1.5 billion through union and nonunion state employee givebacks

We continue investing in Connecticut's future by:

  • Rejecting the Governor's proposal to shift teachers' pension funding to towns
  • Phasing out the income tax on Social Security
  • Rolling back the Governor's proposed Medicaid funding cuts to hospitals
  • Overhauling our workforce development system to be more responsive to the needs of businesses

While this proposal almost certainly will not be the final package, it is a responsible starting point as we enter budget negotiations with Senate Democrats, House and Senate Republicans, and the Governor. Doing what's best for the future of our state and its residents should be the foundation of all our decisions as we move forward.

As the budget process continues, I am committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach a fair and balanced budget that addresses the issues that got us into this situation in the first place.

We must prioritize paying down our debt, investing in transportation infrastructure, and, most importantly, supporting cities like Bridgeport with education aid and municipal funding to allow them to be centers of economic growth for our state.

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