WESTON, Conn. — The Daily Voice accepts original and signed letters to the editor, up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email Westport@dailyvoice.com .
To the editor:
As we head into summer, we also head into increasingly turbulent economic times. The sad economic reality is that Connecticut, the wealthiest state per capita, has been driven to near fiscal collapse by years of fiscal mismanagement in Hartford, and our loss of authority to Washington.
Indeed, as our state legislative session drew to a close this month, the Democratic majority was trying to fix the latest budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2016 of nearly $220 million in June alone, along with the $1 billion deficit for Fiscal Year 2017 starting on July 1, 2016.
The Democrats convened a special session, and passed an emergency budget fix on party line vote in the Senate (21-15), and a narrow 74-70 in the House.
This latest budget “fix” is based yet again on false assumptions. Because of the flight of our tax base, it includes drastic cuts to programs, schools and hospitals to fill the massive fiscal hole created by years of reckless tax and spending increases. Even worse, this budget ignores the structural changes proposed by Republicans and will fail to solve the state’s spending problem going forward.
This was an election year budget. Indeed, despite the state bringing in record receipts last year, we still ran deficits this fiscal year, and now face a $3 billion-plus budget deficit for the next budget cycle. More money than ever is coming into Hartford, but cuts to schools, hospitals and environmental programs are coming out.
The Democrats blamed “a new economic reality” as they retreated in the hopes of weathering this storm past November. In the meantime, Connecticut’s economy is losing employers large and small, population young and old, and opportunities both traditional and new. If the Democrats retain their 30-plus year majority past November, we will almost certainly see new tax hikes next year.
Moreover, our federal officials have contributed to the problem. For years the federal government has looted Connecticut of money and authority – with us giving nearly the most per capita to DC and getting back nearly the least – and forcing our state government to beg for some of our own money back via federal grants.
Despite being the wealthiest state per capita, this ‘Feds Bleed us Dry, Hartford Wastes the Rest’ approach to governance has resulted in our schools, roads and social programs being perpetually broke and/or broken.
We need to retake control over local dollars to fix our local problems. At the same time, our federal and state governments must cease taxing and burdening our shrinking private sector to pay for the reckless growth of the public sector.
Simply put, we need a change in direction and leadership in Hartford/Washington to return promise and prosperity to our state, not more election year budgets draped in election year rhetoric.
State Rep. John Shaban
A Republican, he represents the 135th General Assembly District communities of Easton, Redding and Weston