Martin touts GOP budget plan

State Senator Henri Martin this week joined fellow Senate Republicans as they announced a revised biennial state budget proposal that contains no new taxes and proposes an alternative to the labor savings deal negotiated by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and state employee union leaders.

The governor and state employee unions proposal would lock the state into specified benefits that include wage increases ranging from 9 percent to 11 percent over a five-year period.

“Our budget shows that we have a well-thought-out plan for dealing with the state financial crisis,” Martin said, according to a press release from Senate Republicans.

Senate Republicans proposed two labor savings options to accompany their two-year budget proposal, said the press release. One would involve renegotiating with state employee unions. The other plan would achieve savings entirely through legislative changes to employee benefits.

“The reality is that the governor’s deal with the unions does not produce the savings that will stabilize the state budget, lead to a solvent employee pension plan, and protect state employees from drastic layoffs,” Martin said. “We need to make significant, structural changes to state employee benefits to bring them more in line with the private sector. This will provide a more secure future for employees and the state.”

The Republicans’ release said “The governor’s proposed labor deal is projected to save $1.5 billion over two years, with only $186 million achieved from concessions that need approval from state employee unions and the governor. An analysis of data from the Office of Fiscal Analysis projects that $1.3 billion of the governor’s proposal could be achieved through legislative action. An extension of the collective bargaining agreement would not be necessary.”

“Extending the collective bargaining agreement by another five years would tie the hands of future administrations,” Martin said, according to the press release. “Why commit the state to that kind of agreement if we don’t have to? We have developed a plan and a budget that returns predictability and financial stability to Connecticut. It will require sacrifices, but that is the only way we can create an environment to spur economic vitality.”

Either of the two labor savings options proposed by Senate Republicans could be used to balance the Republican “Confident Connecticut” budget proposal, which includes the following elements, reported the press release:

Does not include new taxes

Increases Education Cost Sharing funding by $170 million in the first two years and implements a new funding formula

Protects all towns and cities from cuts to statutory municipal grants in year one, either holding municipalities harmless or increasing funds

Maintains tax exempt status for hospitals to protect them from a new local hospital tax

Preserves core government services by restoring funding for social services and programs that benefit people most in need

Prioritizes transportation needs and stabilizes funding without tolls

Lowers taxes for retirees and helps seniors age in place

Full details on the complete Senate Republican “Confident Connecticut” fiscal years 2018/2019 budget proposal available here: http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/SRO_BudgetSummary_May2017.pdf.