NEWTOWN, Conn. — The Newtown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit a letter, email email@example.com.
To the editor:
On Friday the 13th, the House of Representatives passed yet another bad budget. What an appropriate day to again pull the wool over the eyes of taxpayers. This Friday the 13th, all of Connecticut had good reason to be scared. Scared about the future of our once-great state which, in the hands of leaders who do not truly lead, is poised on the edge of a financial cliff.
While the rest of the country is working its way through a slow economic recovery, we in Connecticut have been left behind. How can this be?
The original "Genius of Connecticut,” the reason we were so successful, went beyond our natural beauty. We were prosperous and successful as individuals and as a state because people and employers wanted to be here for our outstanding quality of life, availability of good jobs and the incredible value of living well and affordably. Good jobs abounded because companies chose to locate or grow here because of our business-friendly environment.
Near full-employment made Connecticut prosperous and the state's finances were solid. What's changed? Years of fiscal stability led to years of unchecked special-interest spending. We now spend more than we take in and have resorted to borrowing and using financial deception to hide the imbalance in our budgets.
Connecticut's Democrats have spent the past couple of decades forgetting what made this state great. They have changed us into the place people and employers leave by making the Nutmeg State the costliest place to live, work and operate a business.
For 20 years, they have disregarded the basic need to live within our means and not borrow more than we can repay. Through patronage, excess and waste, and with an insatiable appetite for our tax dollars, they have caused the cost of living and working here to balloon. What the governor calls our "new fiscal reality" is simply our inability to hide the financial mess he and his legislative budget-writers have created.
These leaders have forgotten how to lead. They can't figure out why the state is broke and getting deeper in a hole. We can and must do better.
Our state passed the tipping point at least two Democrat-imposed tax increases ago, leading us to the very bad, totally unsustainable place we find ourselves today. Revenues are dropping like a rock in Connecticut. Spending can no longer be cut enough to avoid ending up in a perpetual state of deficit. Mitigating these snowballing deficits has become a full-time job.
Excuses abound. People leave. Companies leave. Tax revenue plummets. The majority party looks for more creative ways to tax us. More leave. Deficits grow and revenues fall, despite higher taxes.
Without permanent structural changes to the way we operate the $20 billion business we call Connecticut, we're circling the drain.
On a positive note, the budget the Democrats rammed through does cut spending, a good start. However, instead of making cuts in the areas that will actually make the state fiscally sustainable moving forward, many of their deepest cuts target state programs that serve the most vulnerable in our society. This is shameful. The new budget makes heavy cuts to mental health, including $7 million to grants for mental health services. Hospital funding is slashed by $30 million. $1.7 million in grants for substance abuse services are wiped out.
As a team, my Republican colleagues presented a five-year plan, including a budget that protected these key services and balanced the books without raising taxes. We also proposed serious, structural changes to the state budget. The Democrats did not even allow us a seat at the table.
I voted against this budget because it does not look to the future. I cannot be party to the Democrats’ refusal to acknowledge the need for real structural changes to the budget. This budget does not do enough and is just one more example of the majority party putting off dealing with the root causes of Connecticut’s fiscal issues.
Our Friday the 13th budget is a ruse to get us through the next election cycle after which the Democrats will probably once again raise taxes. This, unfortunately, is not a budget to solve our long-term deficits.
State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky
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