Op-ed: State needs balanced budget, not spending

Rosa Rebimbas
Rosa Rebimbas

It’s a fact that state spending is out of control and Connecticut is facing a $3 billion budget deficit over the next two years. Yet, the two budgets proposed by the Democrats and Gov. Malloy include spending increases of roughly 10 percent.

I took an oath as your representative in Hartford to do everything in my power to make Connecticut a better place to live and do business, and that means I will oppose unnecessary state spending increases that hit you squarely in the wallet with fee and tax increases.

It’s once again unfortunate that the Democratic majority has not allowed the Republican minority into the room during budget negotiations. This is not the democratic process our state deserves.

At this time the only thing obstructing these big-spending proposals is Connecticut’s constitutional spending cap. The spending cap, enacted in 1992 with the state income tax, was designed as a tool to help slow future spending.

Unfortunately, the spending cap has not stopped state spending, which has increased 153 percent since the cap was instituted. Incredibly, state spending is growing at faster rate than both inflation rate and population growth.

We all know it’s wrong to spend money you don’t have, especially in a down economy. And your family, like mine, has probably had to cut back and tighten the belt on household spending. There’s no reason the state shouldn’t do the same.

Some will say legislative Republicans haven’t proposed an alternative budget this year, and they’re right. For the past six years we have proposed alternative budgets — always fully vetted by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis — only to be ignored by the majority party.

This year, we made a conscious decision to deliver our message and proposals differently and to try to make changes by offering alternatives during the process. With less than two weeks left in the legislative session we still haven’t seen a final proposed budget.

Instead, political operatives hurl insults in an effort to distract the public from the real issues surrounding the budget.

Despite tremendous political pressure there are officials who reject the idea of modifying the spending cap or using accounting gimmicks to bring a budget into balance. They also stand firmly behind having a verifiable and balanced budget. The next two weeks are a critical time in this process and I implore you to contact your elected state officials, both senator and state representative, and tell them to do what’s right for Connecticut, vote no on spending cap changes and balance the budget without gimmicks.

Rosa Rebimbas, a Republican state representative, represents the 70th House District in Naugatuck.