Friday, February 20, 2009

Governor Targets Responsible Growth in New Plan to Close the 2009 Budget

Governor M. Jodi Rell released her 4th plan to balance the 2009 budget yesterday. The proposal cuts $1.1 billion to close the projected hole for the year ending in June. Though the actual magnatude of the deficit is up-in-the-air, (The Office of Policy and Management projects a $922 million gap; the State Comptroller estimates $1.1 billion, and the legislature's Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates $1.3 billion.) the Governor’s intent to cut funding to programs that help Connecticut reach responsible growth goals is clear.

In addition to using federal stimulus dollars, bottle deposit revenue, and the rainy day fund, the plan includes significant cuts to human service, an early retirement plan for state employees, and nearly $55 million in cuts to transit, preservation and economic development.

Bringing our state income tax closer to parity with those of neighboring states and doing it retroactive to January 1, 2008 would generate between $400,000,000 & $800,000,000. Isn’t that a better choice for our economic recovery than making the following cuts?
  • Small Business Incubator 600,000;
  • Bus Operations 294,000;
  • Clean Diesel Buses 2,000,000;
  • Regional Performance Incentive Grant Program 100,000;
  • Bridge Repair Loans to Cities and Towns 28,000,000;
  • Farmland Preservation, Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation, and Open Space Preservation (Community Investment Act) 11,000,000;
  • Bridge Repair Grants to Cities and Towns 7,000,000;
  • Department of Environmental Protection Personal Services 775,000;
  • Special Transportation Fund 700,000;
  • Transportation Strategy Board Projects 4,000,000;
  • Transit Equipment 233,542;
  • Bus Capital Projects $237,500.

Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say they’ll adopt measures to balance the budget on Wednesday. Take time to give them a call.

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