To the Editor:
If you have been paying attention lately to what is going on at the state capitol you realize that our state does not practice common sense finance when setting budgets. I especially point to the last budget passed by Hartford and Governor Malloy.
At the end of the 2011 session, the legislature worked with the Governor to approve a $1.8 billion tax increase (the largest in history of the state) and additionally added to our public debt by inflating the state’s spending by more than $900 million over the biennium.
What the responsible people of Connecticut did while Hartford increased borrowing and spending was to tighten their own purses. We made the hard decisions the state avoided. We had to sacrifice while the state chose to raise taxes on clothing, businesses, estates, yoga classes and pet grooming, to name a few; all resulting in less money in our pockets.
I ask you; what did the government sacrifice? Even when they claimed “state employee concessions,” it proved untrue as contracts entitled them to a four-year, no-layoff guarantee and empty promises to save the state money.
In 1983, the state discussed a constitutional amendment to impose new restrictions on expenditures and tax increases. If passed by the House and the Senate, it would have gone to the people of Connecticut via the 1984 ballot. The arguments supporting the amendment cited that each year taxes are increased without any checks on spending.
In fact, the budget for that year ballooned by 12% while inflation was roughly 4%. Supporters of the amendment pointed out that it was the largest tax increase in the history of Connecticut…. over $315 million.
Those against the amendment claimed falsely that this “huge” budget increase was an anomaly and that Connecticut did not practice “wild” spending habits. Opponents agreed that no one liked tax increases, but that it was not prudent to have a constitutional amendment on “matters as complex as budget-tax policy.”
However, 1992 did result in Connecticut adopting a strict constitutional spending cap that limited general budget expenditures to no more than you make and would ensure “a balanced budget.” Here we are almost 30 years later, and Hartford again has passed the largest tax increase in state history followed by months of borrowing to “keep the lights on.”
When will common sense prevail? Only when voters elect legislators who will practice what we expect of ourselves by spending no more than we make, borrow no more than we can afford to pay back. A change in leadership surely is in order.