Bristol area legislators joined fellow Republican lawmakers in holding a press conference on April 24 at the State Capitol to announce an alternative to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s state budget proposal.
State Sen. Henri Martin, Rep. Whit Betts, and Rep. Cara Pavalock said in a press release from the GOP that their plan, a “Blueprint for Prosperity,” is balanced, under the spending cap, restores vital social service programs for the neediest and reforms taxes, while instituting government reforms to save hundreds of millions in the coming two years.
The legislators said in the news release their proposal will benefit taxpayers, consumers, the developmentally disabled, businesses, non-profits, municipalities, and hospitals.
“I am particularly proud that our plan restores funding for the Connecticut Honor Guard,” said Martin, who serves as Ranking Member of the legislature’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee, reported the news release.
Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget proposes the elimination of state funds to support some of the honor guard at funerals for Connecticut veterans, according to the Republicans. Those military honors include rifle teams which fire graveside salutes. Martin represents Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, and Thomaston.
“This proposal reflects our continued commitment to our constituents and the residents of Connecticut, that we are working to present real solutions which provide immediate relief to our taxpayers and at the same time provide critical support services to people who are trying to become self-reliant and productive.,” said Betts (R-Bristol) in the Republican news release. “In comparison to Governor Malloy’s budget proposal I am proud of the Republicans’ decision to invest in mental health, and substance abuse programs, the increase in financial support for individuals with developmental disabilities, and to Bristol Hospital and their dedicated employees.”
Pavalock (R-Bristol) added, according to the press release, “As a member of the legislature’s Aging Committee, I have fought hard to make sure that our state continues to provide help for our seniors. This budget does so in a number of ways that will help all of our seniors, and especially those living on fixed incomes. The provision to phase out the income tax on pension income under $100,000 will provide immediate relief and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money to pay for their living expenses. We also provide a 2 percent COLA (cost-of-living allowance) increase for those caring for the elderly who work in nursing homes, as well as care facilities, and nonprofit social services. We also provide immediate relief to our middle class families by restoring the exemption on clothing and shoes under $50 starting June 1, 2016 and fully restore tax freedom week.”
The budget savings from the Blueprint for Prosperity is achieved by requiring Governor Malloy to fulfill his 2011 “shared sacrifice” promise and find a way to reach $253 million in unmet savings, according to the press release. Republicans recommend Governor Malloy institute an additional wage freeze in the first year of the biennium, increase contributions to pension system for current state employees; increase copays for healthcare, including prescription drugs, and eliminates existence of longevity payments.
The ideas will be debated in the weeks leading up to the end of the 2015 legislative session on June 3, said the release.