GREENWICH, Conn. — The Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Email them to Stamford@DailyVoice.com, Greenwich@DailyVoice.com or NewCanaan@DailyVoice.com.
Once again, the legislature had an opportunity to change our state for the better. Instead of increasing taxes and making painful cuts to our hospitals, we should be focused on lowering the burden on Connecticut businesses and putting our residents back to work. Unfortunately, we will only continue down this path of future budget deficits until we make the tough decisions necessary to repair our state’s long-term fiscal health.
More than 20 years ago, the spending cap was put in place to protect taxpayers from uncontrolled spending. In fact, Connecticut voters valued the spending cap so much that they added this important check and balance to the state constitution at the ballot box. In today’s vote, the budget relies on a series of gimmicks to comply with spending cap requirements. However, if it were accurately calculated, the budget would exceed the cap by nearly $155 million.
In addition to the spending increase, the budget also includes new tax increases, including the gas tax, the electric generation tax, the corporate tax surcharge and the insurance premiums tax. These taxes stand to raise an additional $315.9 million from families and businesses over the next two years.
Other than spending and taxation, the budget also cuts over $500 million from hospitals around our state, including $30.9 million from Stamford Hospital and $6.1 million from Greenwich Hospital.
The budget also relies upon over $1 billion in borrowing for operating expenses and raids $557.9 million from dedicated accounts and one-time sources. For example, over $109 million will be transferred from the Special Transportation Fund. This fund was intended to be used solely for transportation purposes, including the maintenance of our roads and bridges.
With nearly 10 percent of our state’s bridges deemed structurally deficient by the Federal Highway Administration, our state should not be raiding the Special Transportation Fund for any other use than transportation infrastructure improvement. Along with this poor public policy choice, I simply could not support the majority party budget that increases spending, raises taxes and continues borrowing for operating expenses. Unfortunately, this budget continues to pass the burden on to future generations who will have to make the tough decisions that this budget avoids today.
State Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan)
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