State Budget Crisis: What the Papers Say

Issues & Policies

Editorial writers at Connecticut’s daily newspapers are weighing in this week on the state’s budget debate.
There are some common themes in the editorial pages: Connecticut cannot afford another round of tax hikes and bipartisan solutions are needed to address the state’s growing fiscal crisis.
budget crisisHere’s a sample:

Enough with the Tax Hikes
(Hartford Courant, April 25)

Taxpayers have already absorbed two major tax hikes in six years. The hope was that the new revenue would get state government through its crisis until prosperity returned. But the crisis has only deepened. The state is looking at a $3 billion deficit over the next two years and larger deficits after that.
Even Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat who pushed through the historic income tax hike of 2011, is saying there’s a limit.
“Too much thought is going into how to raise additional money, and too little thought going into how do we live within our proximate means,” he said.
Clearly, higher taxes aren’t helping Connecticut prosper. They may be making things worse.

The Courant followed up with another editorial April 27, after the Appropriations Committee adjourned without acting on its proposed budget:

Both sides should have been done with this squabbling by now. Bickering until the final hours of the session will not produce a strong budget that resets the state’s shaky financial foundation.
No part of getting the state’s budget in order will be enjoyable, but it’s a job that has been put off in different ways for decades. Right now we need leaders, not politicians.

Raising Taxes Only Worsens State’s Problems
(Norwich Bulletin, April 27)

The state can ill afford to raise taxes again this year, and that idea goes beyond mere numbers and accounting.
While it would be difficult to predict with any precision the fallout of another tax hike—which would become the third under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration since 2011—it is safe to assume that it would induce more Connecticut residents, and particularly those most directly harmed, to pack up and leave.
But lawmakers also need to consider the message they would send by again raising taxes, even on those most able to afford it.
Leaders would, in effect, be telling all Connecticut residents and businesses that they can expect more uncertainty in the future; that the state solves most of its financial problems by begging for more money, despite repeated evidence that doing so is counterproductive; that it is unserious about extracting concessions from the amply compensated Democratic constituency of state employees; and, in short, that state government is basically incompetent and not to be trusted to provide any semblance of stability or predictability.

Hartford Courant

Clearly, higher taxes aren't helping Connecticut prosper. They may be making things worse.

Connecticut Budget: Reconsideration Best for State
(Waterbury Republican-American, April 26)

Tax-and-spend budgeting is not what Connecticut needs.
In patching holes in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 budgets, Capitol policymakers left the rainy day fund with a relatively low balance of $235.6 million. OFA reported April 24 that 2016-17 tax receipts are short of projections by at least $267 million.
The budget may have to be “balanced” with borrowed funds, which wouldn't impress businesses and credit-ratings agencies.
When the Appropriations proposal collapsed, Gov. Malloy said, “I will not … sign a budget focused on taxes rather than spending cuts. I will not push off this year's problems onto future generations. And I will not support a budget filled with gimmicks or unsupported revenue projections. In short, the status quo won’t do.”
Three cheers for the governor. Other policymakers should pay heed.

Budgetary Train Wreck!
(The Day, April 26)

So how would the legislature balance the budget? With tax increases, of course, with the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee considering increases in both income and sales taxes.
This would be sure to drive more high-income earners from the state and serve as a drag on the economy. It's the wrong move.
Someone has to pull this train wreck apart and get the state moving down the tracks again.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests

The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.