The Connecticut General Assembly continues to work towards its May 9th adjournment with little progress made. Partisan politics have run rampant with the impending elections and much time has been spent jockeying for position. This was very evident with the Democrats failed attempt to approve former State Senator, and now Supreme Court Justice, Andrew McDonald as Chief Justice to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Republicans and a handful of Democrats blocked the nomination citing McDonald’s activism and attempts to legislate from the bench. Democrats have vowed to make the failed appointment an election issue, and the opposition between the two parties leaves us wondering if they will be able to work cooperatively to close the deficit of $200 million dollars for this fiscal year? Time is short and a lot is on the line for businesses and citizens alike.
Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth
Last session the legislature established a Commission of Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth tasked with recommending policies to achieve fiscal stability and promote economic growth and competitiveness. Private citizens and CEO’s or former CEO’s of major corporations participated and complied recommendations to address the state’s shrinking economy, lack of competitiveness in the tax and business climates, transportation, and the vitality cities. They noted that Conn. is in a “quiet crisis” facing ongoing budget deficits of $2-3 billion in FY 2020 and beyond, growing by $500 million per year!
Their recommendations have been hotly debated and will make their way to the election trail: – Enact a revenue neutral re-balancing of state taxes that reduces income taxes in every bracket, selectively raises taxes on business, raises the state sales tax by less than 1% and cuts exemptions and exclusions from all taxes by 14%.
- Raise the gas tax to fund transportation projects and plan for implementation of tolls.
- Create a joint budget committee with power to set limits on revenues and expenses.- Have the legislature assume responsibility to determine state employee fringe benefits by removing collective bargaining for new contracts.
- Raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.
- Develop and implement a plan to cut $1 billion out of annual operating expenses.
- Reform teacher’s retirement system to lower costs and make it sustainable.
- Undertake a series of growth initiatives to develop and retain the workforce Conn. needs, support the growth of the highest potential economic sectors and transform the business environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Each of the recommendations are controversial in their own right and have multiple factions for and against them. The legislature will need to enact a host of measures to turn the state around.
Register today for LDAC’s annual legislative reception on Wednesday, April 18 at 5 p.m. at the State House in Hartford, Conn. We are expecting more than 100 legislators in attendance and need your support! The event is free, but registration is required. If you are interested in attending, please contact Ashley Ranslow.
Please contact Ashley Ranslow, Manager of Government Affairs at 800-292-6752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.