Zupkus: Too much borrowing in Malloy’s budget proposal

Lezlye Zupkus
Lezlye Zupkus

HARTFORD — State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) has called out Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget proposal for pushes  financial problems into the future through unprecedented borrowing that furthers the uncertainty slowing our state’s economic revival.

According to a release issued by Zupkus’ office, the two-year proposal carries a $1.8 billion spending increase over two years despite the state’s projected $2 billion deficit. Malloy also proposes borrowing more than $3 billion over the same period not only for a massive University of Connecticut expansion, but also for core municipal funding, state operating expenses and to prop up the state’s depleted cash account, the release stated.

“Anyone who manages a municipal, household or business budget will almost certainly be skeptical about whether any of this will work, let alone how we’ll pay for it,” said Zupkus in a statement. “Unfortunately, the governor’s message to the public about the benefits of his proposal just doesn’t match the details buried inside.”

The governor, who pledged to avoid tax increases, has promised to increase education funding but does so by raiding existing funding sources for cities and towns, the release stated. He borrows money to cover municipal aid accounts typically included in the state’s operating budget. At the same time, the governor calls for the elimination of the car tax as well as nearly $25 million typically set aside for school transportation funding — moves that could place stress on local budgets and perhaps force municipal leaders to increase local property taxes to cover their costs, according to the release.

“Simply put, this plan could leave cities and towns with big headaches,” Zupkus said.

Taxes on business that were scheduled to end will instead continue under the Malloy plan that Zupkus contends could disrupt an employers’ plans to reinvest, expand and hire more workers. She added the proposed spending increase and borrowing plan are unlikely to sit well with credit rating agencies.

“Stability is what fuels private sector growth,” said Zupkus, a member of the legislature’s Commerce Committee. “This budget proposal falls far short of providing any business owner with a clear picture about where the state stands, let alone confidence that government won’t impose a fresh tax increase or fee on business to get beyond the next financial hurdle.”