WESTON, Conn. – State Rep. John Shaban, a Republican who represents Easton, Redding and Weston in the state House, blasted his Democratic colleagues after a special legislative session.
The special session held Tuesday was to address, among other issues, a state budget deficit.
Shaban said the House Republican caucus moved to pass resolutions to cast votes on state union contracts and to pass legislation to trigger the constitutional spending cap.But both efforts were rebuffed by the Democratic majority, he said.
Also, a bill to add a transportation fund "lockbox" to the state constitution "contained a host of exceptions and loopholes that could make it meaningless," he said.
A Republican amendment to strengthen the language was rejected by the Democratic majority. "Still, I supported the measure because it is at least a small step in the right direction," Shaban said.
The bill passed, 100-40, but not by the three-quarters vote required to place the constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot. By law, the constitutional measure will be reconsidered during the 2018 legislative session.
But the main topic of discussion was the creation of a "deficit mitigation" package to fill the $350 million deficit for the current fiscal year and "to address the chilling effect that the latest tax hikes are having on employers large and small," Shaban said.
"While some of the majority’s latest tax hikes have been reduced modestly, the end product was still not good," he said. "Indeed, despite weeks of discussions, Republican proposals to make structural changes were ignored – i.e., proposed changes that would impact our fiscal stability perpetually, instead of the current year by year borrow, patch and run approach employed by the majority."
After debate, the budget bill passed, 75-65.
"In the end, the majority's budget 'fix' strips funding to education, environmental programs and health care institutions, relies once again on more than $90 million in unspecified savings and makes no substantive structural changes to the voracious size and spending rate of our state government," Shaban said.
He said the budget deficit for 2017 is projected to be $358 million, and in 2018 the deficit is projected to be $1.7 billion.