Proposal ‘Amps Up’ Size and Cost of State Government

05.01.2009
Issues & Policies

By a very close vote—and despite a serious budget crisis and public cries for smaller and better state government—the Finance Committee this week approved a costly proposal that would in fact make state government a lot bigger.

HB-6510 is designed to put state government in the energy business by creating a state Power Authority that would try to assume many roles already filled by electric distribution companies and the state Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC).

The 26-24 committee vote, however, does indicate that many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are not really comfortable with the idea of expanding state government—nor of making it a “rookie” in the very complex energy business.

With lawmakers and the governor’s administration trying to find ways to close a nearly $9 billion budget gap, adding another layer of state government bureaucracy seems like a wayward idea.

The people of Connecticut—in polls conducted earlier this year by Zogby International and Quinnipiac University—said they want a smaller, more effective state government that focuses on its core responsibilities. HB-6510 seems to defy those wishes.

The Authority would cost millions of dollars to establish and operate. Purchasing power would require billions of dollars in collateral.

Connecticut needs affordable, reliable power—something the Authority would not be able to guarantee. What is guaranteed by the Authority, however, is more state employees and higher state costs. Lawmakers should heed the public’s advice and minimize state government by rejecting HB-6510.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kevin Hennessy at 860-244-1979 or kevin.hennessy@cbia.com.

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