New Canaan Senator's Letter: Connecticut Drowning In Red Ink

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State Sen. Toni Boucher
State Sen. Toni Boucher Photo Credit: Contributed

To the editor: 

To those who think that Connecticut is not drowning in red ink, think again. Connecticut has only $10.1 billion of liquid assets available to pay debts totaling $72.2 billion. To fill this financial hole each taxpayer would need to send $48,600 to the state. 

Connecticut ranks 49 out of 50 in fiscal health according to the Truth in Accounting’s state data lab report. The news is grim and comes just five months after a new two-year budget passed on a Democratic Party line vote that raised taxes by $1.3 billion and canceled previously approved tax cuts worth close to $500 million. We are now facing a $370 million deficit this year, over $550 million deficit next year, and the 2018-19 biennium shows Connecticut $3.6 billion in the hole. 

Exacerbating the problem is Connecticut’s highest-in-the-nation tax burden, which has caused residents and businesses to flee, leaving fewer taxpayers to shoulder the heavy debt burden. As Gov. Dannel Malloy signed his new budget, he said, “I’m very proud to pass the budget as amended.” But now even the governor’s budget chief has admitted that Connecticut is in a “permanent deficit crisis.” 

The governor has proposed cuts to social services, education, and municipal aid. But one time fixes are not enough to get our fiscal house in order. Structural changes are needed to avoid future shortfalls and restore predictability and sustainability. We are proposing long- term changes such as changes to healthcare premium sharing, defined benefit/defined contribution plans, an increase in pension contributions, overtime reform, the establishment of an efficiency planning committee, a cap on the amount of money the state can bond, and a reduction in raises for state employees. 

Our plan addresses the current deficit without cutting funding for hospitals, Medicaid, those with developmental disabilities, or substance abuse treatment programs. It also includes tax changes to improve the state’s anti-business environment, including eliminating Unitary Combined Reporting. 

It is clear that a bipartisan long-term solution is required to solve the budget crisis and put Connecticut in the black and back on track again. 

— State Sen. Toni Boucher

The Republican legislator represents the 26th Assembly District, including Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. 

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