Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stop the Red Ink

Time flies at the State Capitol and the red ink in state government keeps flowing! The non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis released updated deficit projections for FY 2009-2011. They are now projecting a current year deficit of $1.35 billion. At current levels of spending the 2010 deficit is $3.97 billion and the 2011 deficit will be $4.71 billion.

Politicians in Hartford talk about millions and billions of dollars with such ease it is scary. Let me try to put this into perspective. The projected 2011 budget deficit for the State of Connecticut is roughly the same amount of money it costs to run the entire government and public schools in the city of Danbury for TWENTY-THREE YEARS!

How did we get here? Some would say a freshman senator is not qualified to answer that question but the answer is clear – the state income tax.

State government in Connecticut was “rescued” by the state income tax in 1991 and quickly became intoxicated by the huge revenue growth the new tax brought to state government.

The collapse of Wall Street took many of our high-roller taxpayers down with it and along with them the state income tax revenue the Hartford behemoth needs to survive. Now we have veteran lawmakers saying we have to work together through this tough time.

What the Democrats are really saying is we need a millionaire’s tax. Now there’s a brilliant idea – the millionaires who lost huge chunks of their assets and in many cases most of their income can rescue us again! The moving vans must be crowding the streets of Greenwich loading up for the trip to new homes in the south.

We can’t tax our way out of this recession – especially when our state government is still intoxicated. Now is the time for right-sizing government and finding greater efficiencies to deliver the important core services we provide.

Our deliberations in the General Assembly should focus on the following key points:

1. Identify and preserve key state services

2. Assist newly unemployed residents

3. Assist state businesses to weather this financial crisis and keep their employees working

4. No borrowing to cover current red ink

5. No tax increases

The decisions we legislators make on the 2009 deficit mitigation and the 2010-2011 budget will greatly impact how quickly Connecticut can recover from this recession. Irresponsible, short-term fixes will only prolong the agony for our economy.

Now is the time for bold decisions at the State Capitol.


Scroll down to see the Connecticut government deficit clock.