Senate Democrats Take Action to Balance Budget and Hold Property Taxes in Check

Budget bill ensures Connecticut will have balanced budget with no borrowing & no additional tax increases

July 1 30, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Early Friday morning, on the first day of the new fiscal year, Senate Democratic leaders led passage of a budget bill that ensures Connecticut will have a balanced budget for the next biennium. As a result of the failure of the state employee unions to ratify the $1.6 billion concessions package, the General Assembly worked with the Malloy Administration to craft legislation that closes the budget gap—$700 million in the current fiscal year.

House Bill 6701 does this without borrowing or requiring additional tax increases. In fact, the budget-fix protects municipal aid from proposed cuts—which could have resulted in property tax increases in towns and cities across Connecticut.

“We remain hopeful that the state employee unions will ultimately accept the concessions package,” said Senator Williams. “In the absence of ratification, it is our duty to balance the budget—and that’s what we did today. The spending cuts and lay-offs are not ideal, but they are necessary to solve Connecticut’s budget crisis and move the state forward.”

“There are no easy solutions to solve this budget gap,” said Senator Looney. “We made tough spending cuts and set the stage for a significant number of lay-offs. At the same time we were able to protect municipal aid, helping towns and cities maintain services and hold the line on property taxes.”

According to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research (OLR), “The bill allows the governor, between July 1 and September 30, 2011, to impose rescissions of up to 10 percent of the total FY 12 and FY 13 appropriations from any fund or 10 percent of any appropriation for FYs 12 and 13.”

The legislation includes provisions which ensure the General Assembly plays a pivotal role in how the governor’s rescission authority is used. The OLR reports, “By July 15, 2011, the bill requires the governor and the chief court administrator to submit to the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore detailed plans of the respective executive and judicial branch spending reductions they consider necessary.”

A schedule for this accountability is detailed in the bill. According to OLR, “The leaders can refer any provisions of either plan to the Appropriations Committee, which may hold a public hearing on them and, by August 15, 2011, submit its findings to the leaders. By August 31, 2011, the bill allows the General Assembly to call itself into special session and, enact legislation to adjust state spending for the 2012-2013 biennium in place of any plan provisions. The substitute spending modification and reductions in the legislation must be equal those proposed in the plan provisions.”

Contact:
Derek Slap
860-240-8641

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