I joined my colleagues on the Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Tuesday to evaluate Connecticut’s continuing budget deficiencies.
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes met with us to present a “Fiscal Accountability” Report which outlined the various factors affecting Connecticut’s budgetary and economic outlook for the next few years.
Currently, Connecticut faces a $365 million deficit this year and an estimated $1 billion shortfall for next year. Connecticut’s budget deficit is largely due to revenue shortages, increased Medicaid services and the looming pension obligations still bogging down state finances.
After listening to Ben Barnes explain the financial challenges facing Connecticut, I questioned how we can heal our state's economy if we keep heading in the same direction.
According to the report we received, it is clear that we cannot sustain our spending levels, and we must adjust our current fiscal policies so we can start operating within our means again. It is evident that the tax increases that were passed to get us out of a deficit did not amount to what was projected, and we need to start looking at restructuring our programs and finding new ways to reduce our spending as safely as possible.
I’m looking forward to working on a bi-partisan solution to our budget during the upcoming special session. Last year, my Republican colleagues and I created a no tax increase budget which was vetted by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis to help solve the state's budget problems.
With our current economic and fiscal policies failing us, it's time we turn in another direction - one that centers on responsible budgeting, spending within our means and getting our economy back in gear. Our alternative budget was based on these ideals and I believe a bipartisan solution that includes these principles will help solve Connecticut's fiscal crisis.
It is my duty as your State Representative to bring your ideas to Hartford. If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office by phone 800-842-1423, or by e-mail Terrie.Wood@housegop.ct.gov.