Legislators support alternative budget


HARTFORD — Republican state lawmakers have proposed an alternative budget proposal, which has gained the support of local lawmakers.

“Providing alternatives that fund important programs and reduce overall state spending without resorting to gimmicks in an open and honest manner is what Connecticut residents want and I am proud to support this balanced budget alternative,” said state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), in a press release.

According to news releases issued by lawmakers, the Republican proposal accelerates the restoration of the clothing and footwear exemption, uses “excess revenue” to pay down interest on the state’s debt, restores the sales tax exemption for non-prescription drugs cut 2011 and uses an increasing scale over time to exempt a portion of personal pension income on all defined contribution plans and annuities from taxes.

The proposal would also add $35 million in critical program funding, which includes restoring $9 million to the retired teacher’s health care plan and a 1 percent cost of living increase for home health aides.

“This proposal is gimmick free,” state Rep. David Labriola (R-131) said in a press release. “This budget fix provides relief to taxpayers and is based on sound fiscal practices. We can put Connecticut back on solid financial ground with this proposal.”

The Republican plan also eliminates Gov. Dannel Malloy’s plan to give Connecticut residents $55 rebate checks, and it halts Keno gambling before it gets started in Connecticut, according to the release.

The alternative plan also uses some of the state’s “excess revenue,” including $346 million to pay off Economic Recovery Notes and $100 million to fund state employee pension obligations.

“Our state is suffering through a trend that has majority legislators pass budgets that balance on paper but collapse with the slightest bit of real world pressure,” Zupkus said. “Our plan dismantles the house of cards budgeting that drives the need for increased taxes, fees and borrowing, and instead provides stability — offering residents and job creators a clear and reliable approach that should make them feel confident about their futures here,” said state Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) said, in a press release.