The Connecticut budget is on autopilot – and no one’s at the wheel. State government grows more expensive each year because of expensive promises to state employees and endless borrowing.
A half-billion dollar increase in spending doesn’t even cover the growth in these two areas. “We’re in the alarming position of spending a half billion more but cutting services,” said Carol Platt Liebau, Yankee Institute president.
The Yankee Institute urges the General Assembly to adopt a budget that does not raise taxes and respects the spending cap. State leaders also need to begin reforming our state workforce to make it more flexible and more affordable.
“It’s wrong for politicians to make promises they can’t keep. Connecticut’s government has made too many promises for too long. Soon it will be impossible to keep them. We need to begin the difficult but essential process of changing our approach,” Liebau said. “Our budget is on autopilot. Citizens must demand that their leaders regain control. Connecticut can do better.”
The latest Yankee Institute policy brief, Crowding Out What Matters, suggests a number of ways to balance the budget while increasing the value of each taxpayer dollar spent.
Create jobs. Instead of passing distracting tax cuts, we should focus on helping employers hire. Eliminate the business entity tax and end the corporate surcharge.
Help people in need. Improve the earned income tax credit. Cancel cuts to Medicaid providers.
Improve quality of life by ending traffic nightmares. Use tolls or congestion pricing to pay for transportation projects while reducing other taxes. Cancel the $1+ billion New Haven to Springfield rail line planned for just 3,500 people.
Cut unnecessary spending. Reduce “phantom student” grants by 10 percent. Bill agencies for 5 percent of fringe benefits. Increase cost-sharing for state employee health insurance.
Take the budget off autopilot. Delay all bonding by six months. Create a severance fund to cover the cost of state-employee layoffs. End cost-of-living increases for state retirees who earn more than the median income.