Fairfield GOP reps express ‘disappointment’ over state budget

State Reps. Tony Hwang (R-134th) and Brenda Kupchick (R-132nd) voted against the nearly $44 billion state budget that passed the Connecticut General Assembly House along party lines vote, 95-48.

In a joint statement Monday, Hwang and Kupchick cited the “lack of responsibility and transparency displayed by Governor Dan Malloy in the legislative majority’s biennium state budget.”

“The Democrat proposal lacked bipartisan input, raised taxes, borrowed for operating expenses, and increased government spending by nearly 10% over the next two years, all on the heel of an historical tax increase from the past biennium budget,” according to their statement.

“Connecticut consistently ranks in the bottom in business friendliness, in places to retire, and pension indebtedness,” Hwang said. “We needed to make positive and bold decisions to change our current standing and this bigger government budget does nothing to correct that. The problem isn’t that we tax too little; it is that we spend too much. Our communities deserve a more transparent and representative government and in unilaterally passing a last-minute budget in the middle of the night did not achieve that. It is an injustice to the constituents we represent.”

“This budget is just more of the same,” Kupchick said. “I just don’t understand how the majority thinks we can continue to ignore the real problems. We simply can’t afford to maintain the massive government one-party rule has created. As a lifelong Fairfield resident and business owner, I’m alarmed at the complete denial by elected officials of the reality of the everyday citizens of our state. People are asking themselves if this is the best place for them to start a business, find employment, buy a home, raise a family, or retire in. Sadly for more and more people the answer is no.”

The approved budget borrowed $750 million to help pay for the day-to-day expenses of state government, while increasing spending by nearly 10%. It closed the budget gap by moving an unprecedented $6 billion out from under the state spending cap, and extended the generation tax, caps on insurance premiums, a corporate surcharge, along with implementation of the “Amazon Tax.”

The Republicans said $100 million in transportation money was swept out of the Transportation Fund and put into the General Fund, and the budget contains no structural cuts, only spending increases, which has created a deficit of more than $600 million the year after the next biennium.

“The budget also delays the payment of almost $400 million in debt, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary interest charges in the long run,” according to the statement.

Republicans offered amendments that imposed a state employee hiring freeze and prevented sweeping money set aside by electric rate payers for conservation programs.  Recommendations were made to prevent the looming cuts to hospitals, and stopped the gas tax hike scheduled to take effect July 1.

“History tells us that government always finds a need for whatever money it gets,” Hwang said. “In these tough economic times we must make the tough decisions to reverse this irresponsible trend. We need to protect our most vulnerable and their safety net by shifting costly state services to our more effective community non-profits. Creating a more friendly business climate, and empowering our bioscience and manufacturing industries to create jobs. Working together in finding efficiencies to create a smarter government is a much better path than what passed before us today. I stand ready to work toward those goals in a bipartisan process that represents the best interest of all of our constituents.”

“We need more elected officials with courage and a more balanced government where all voices are heard,” Kupchick said. “The people of Connecticut deserve better.”

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