Moving Forward on Governor’s Budget Recommendations

03.04.2011
Issues & Policies

Getting a hold of Connecticut’s budget crisis and putting the state’s economy back on track will take innovative approaches and practical solutions.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget proposal provides a framework for progress, and it’s now up to the legislature to follow through—and go further.

This week, CBIA testified before the Appropriations Committee on HB 6380, which would implement the governor’s recommended budget.

Given the state’s serious economic condition and fiscal crisis, lawmakers should adopt the governor’s constructive steps, including:

  • Expanding the governor’s authority to make budget rescissions
  • Taking initial steps at corrections system reforms and expanding reforms to long-term healthcare—both significant components of state spending
  • Improving the efficiency of state agencies and consolidating them from 81 to 67
  • Making efforts to attain significant state employee concessions in order to reduce spending and make needed structural changes to the budget
  • Bringing the budget under the state’s spending cap 

But even if all of the governor’s proposed changes are achieved, Connecticut will still face steep tax increases at a time of a fragile economy and poor job creation.

Employers are already facing at least $70 million in new unemployment compensation taxes, and possibly more. Tax increases weaken the ability of employers to create the jobs that Connecticut desperately needs.

 That’s why the Appropriations Committee should take the governor’s lead and find more government efficiencies and budget savings for this and future years. 

Fortunately, many workable ideas can be found in detailed reports issued by the Connecticut Regional Institute for the 21st Century. The Institute has offered volumes of practical solutions for improving the state’s corrections and long-term healthcare systems and restructuring state employee retirement benefits.

More good ideas

In addition, the Commission on Agency Outcomes has given the legislature a full plate of other budget-reducing ideas. This week CBIA testified in support of SB 1059, which would put commission’s recommendations into action.

Among those are recommendations for:

  • Reducing the ratio of state managers to employees from 1 to 6 to 1-10. This change should also be explored further because the federal government span of control is an even greater 1-14.
  • Establishing a Lean Government Steering Committee and increasing the use of Lean techniques in state agencies.
  • Creating a Long-Term Care Planning Committee to accelerate the rebalancing of long term care placements to more home- and community-based care.
  • Coordinating efforts to maximize all types of federal reimbursements (including for healthcare, education and social services).
  • Increasing the use of technology in state government. 
  • Helping state agencies strategize and institute changes to save energy.

Making Connecticut state government more efficient and affordable is not just a budget imperative but also essential to building a healthy, sustainable economy, business confidence, and an improved quality of life. 

Given the huge budget challenges the state faces, the General Assembly can now play a bigger role in the budget solution by adopting the Governor’s recommendations and taking them further with the ideas of the Regional Institute and Commission on Agency Outcomes.

On Monday, March 7, the legislature’s Finance Committee will hear public testimony on the Governor’s recommended revenue measures. CBIA will testify at that hearing and report back to you those recpommendations next week.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Pete Gioia at 860.244.1945 or pete.gioia@cbia.com.

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