Monday, April 25, 2016

Reality for Our State Budget

I am pleased to support a Republican budget proposed today that closes the 2017 deficit of $935.7 million and creates a five-year framework that puts state government back on track.

Our proposal restores funding for social services, education and hospitals while providing municipalities with mandate relief. We refuse to force local property tax payers to shoulder the burden of the state budget mismanagement.

Since my arrival at the State Capitol in 2009 I've witnessed a dysfunctional state budget process that ignored future projections. Economists warned state officials the Connecticut economy was underperforming and business leaders warned us other states were far more responsible with their fiscal decisions.

Each year majority Democrat legislative leaders did a victory lap after passing a budget with no minority Republican support. I objected because none of these budgets were given proper public hearings. The budget bill often showed up on my desk two hours before Senate debate and voting began. Six-hundred pages describing over $20 billion in taxpayer spending that I must study and consider in two hours. A totally bizarre process!

Following two of the largest tax increases in state history we find the state budget over a billion dollars in the red this year. Expert projections show our next biennium budget deficit far exceeds four billion dollars.

Today Senate and House Republicans introduced a long term plan with meaningful structural budgetary changes. These tough decisions impact all of state government because we can't ignore the fiscal tsunami facing us next year.

Republican Budget Proposal details:

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Nasty Political Wedge in Connecticut

Tonight in the Judiciary Committee we are debating a hodgepodge bill. Legislation that addresses victims of human sex trafficking and has nearly unanimous support of committee members has been hijacked by majority Democrats to make a political statement using a big wedge.

Why? Politics at its worst.

Later tonight the Judiciary Committee is debating HB5054 – An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence from Governor Malloy. All of the language in this bill was dumped into HB5623 – An Act Concerning Violence Against Women and Victims of Human Trafficking. So we get to debate the same bill twice – all so majority Democrats can claim Republicans don’t respect women.

That’s politics at its worst.

Here’s the real story – Republicans on the Judiciary Committee oppose the temporary restraining order process proposed by Democrats. Why? The proposal has a dangerous lack of due process.

Connecticut currently has an effective process to remove firearms from a potential domestic violence perpetrator. A risk warrant process protects due process, requires an investigation and a hearing before a judge. The risk warrant is an effective way to protect victims of domestic violence. The proposed temporary restraining order process fails to protect due process.

So good legislation addressing victims of human sex trafficking gets a no vote because flawed legislation gets tacked on and voted on twice.

Hodgepodge. Politics at its worst!