On Friday Democratic lawmakers revealed their budget plan that borrows nearly $1 billion to cover operating costs, increases spending by 9.5% and drastically expands the size and scope of government while cutting services. The Appropriations Committee passed the proposal on a party-line vote.
Budgeting is all about priorities, and the Democrats have made it clear through this budget that they’re intent on growing state government, without any meaningful improvements to the quality of life for residents.
Following the largest tax hike in state history, Democrats want to increase spending by almost 10%, blowing through the spending cap by over $1 billion, and creating four new agencies and offices. Over the past year the State of Connecticut hired a staggering 5,300 new workers, including 500 new hires over the last month alone, as it continues to expand state bureaucracy.
Given the overspending, it’s shocking the Democrats also call for more than $1 billion in new borrowing to cover operating expenses, and delay scheduled debt payments. With the fourth highest debt in the country, this new bonding – to cover everything from nursing home funding to stem cell research – is unsustainable. Bonding today will lead to tax increases tomorrow.
Meanwhile taxpayers are not any better educated, any safer, or any healthier because of this spending. In fact, some hospitals may have to close their doors as a result of a $500 million funding cut through this proposal. And commuters will share the pain too as they will have to pay a whopping 16% more in gas taxes starting in July, courtesy of this budget.
The pattern here is clear: spend, tax, borrow, repeat. Spend, tax, borrow, repeat.
Other aspects of the Democrats’ budget:
• Increases spending by 9.5% or $1.9 billion over two years;
• Exceeds the Constitutional Spending Cap by $1.3 billion;
• Reduces scheduled debt payments from $208 million next year to $12 million. The balance is added to the state debt and pushed out until after the 2014 elections;
• Adds a $550 million tax on hospitals by taking away that amount in previous funding;
• Swaps the current $80 million electric generator tax with $80 million in borrowing;
• Uses Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as an excuse to borrow $750 million to use for operating expenses.
GOP leaders plan to produce an alternative set of budget recommendations in the coming weeks. The General Assembly must pass a budget by June 5.