BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Gov. Dannel Malloy pledged to make the hard decisions he believes are necessary to improve the state's transportation, education and other services while balancing the budget as he spoke Wednesday to the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.
“There’s no magic wand,” Malloy told the group gathered at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn. “I will not borrow money to balance the budget. I will not raise taxes to balance the budget.”
Malloy, who received a standing ovation when he rose to speak, said transportation continues to be one of his priorities. He said he hopes to modernize the historic Merritt Parkway and widen Interstate 95 in Fairfield County, moves be believes will lessen tie-ups and encourage businesses to consider moving to the southwestern end of the state.
“Right now, one’s a museum and the other’s a parking lot,” he said of the two main highways.
Funding a second train station on the East Side of Bridgeport will make the city more attractive to businesses and commuters alike, he said. The state’s largest city has just one station now, while neighboring Fairfield has three.
But Malloy said he has to be realistic in what he will be able to accomplish, given the state budget situation.
“This is a discussion that’s not easily had in Hartford,” he said. “We’ve got to set our priorities. It’s about retraining ourselves.”
Under Malloy’s updated budget proposal, several of the wealthier Fairfield County suburbs would see their state education funding allotment slashed to zero. The proposed cuts are part of an effort to close an estimated budget deficit of over $900 million for the next fiscal year.
The governor’s administration has laid off more than 650 people throughout the state government in April and more cuts are expected.
Malloy said the state needs to cut costs in healthcare and seek stronger partnerships with higher education in Connecticut.
Asked about the results of the state’s presidential primary, Malloy said many of the state’s voters are clearly calling for new players at the national level.
“Washington is broken,” he said. “It’s not, ‘Why is it not solving the problem?’ It has become the problem.”
In welcoming Malloy to Bridgeport, Mayor Joe Ganim thanked him for the many city-state partnerships that are bringing new housing and transportation and business initiatives to the city.
“I’ve only been back in office a few months, but there are so many good things going on in the city of Bridgeport," he said.
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