Reactions to the governor’s budget speech have been all over the map: some approve wholeheartedly, some disapprove, and some like parts of the budget while disliking other parts. Here’s a sampling of reactions. Check back, as I’ll add to this as the day goes on.
“While Gov. Rell deserves credit for making some difficult decisions, we are very concerned that her budget fails to truly put Connecticut’s fiscal house in order. According to the latest budget estimates from the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), Gov. Rell’s budget plan leaves a deficit of about $3 billion over three years: we cannot afford to ignore this.”
–Sen. Donald Williams (D), Senate President Pro Tem
“The Governor proposes that we cut our way out of this crisis. That is impossible. Even if we drastically reduced the size of government, even if every single public service employee was laid off, we still could not balance our budget,” said Cindy Stretch, a professor at Southern Connecticut State University. “To suggest that we can do this solely by cutting public services is not supported by the numbers. Frankly, I worked in the Youth Conservation Corps, part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, as a teenager. People aren’t going to be able to support a family, making minimum wage cleaning out port-o-potties on the Appalachian Trail.”
A recent SEBAC poll showed the people of Connecticut understand that the economy sinks more when you enact cuts that erase jobs and overwhelmingly support measures that float the economy rather than sink it.
The Governor, in spite of her message that everyone must share in the sacrifices ahead, did not include corporations or wealthy individuals in this community of sacrifice. SEBAC urges the Governor to consider reasonable revenue solutions that are aimed at those most able to pay, shaped in ways that encourage business and job growth in this state, and even to reduce taxes that are counter-productive or unfair.
–From a release sent out by SEBAC (the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition)
“The Governor, and the state of Connecticut, is facing many tough decisions – many of which we have already had to face here in Bridgeport. I applaud Governor Rell for preventing cuts to ECS funding for the next two years as these funds are essential to the functioning of our City and its school system. I also wish to thank the Governor for not cutting critical funding to cities and towns. Cutting these two sources of funding would have led to massive tax increases and drastic service reductions on the local level.
“I am heartened by the Governor’s allocation of $40 million dollars to begin regionalizing municipal government services, an idea whose time has come in the state, and one which I fully support. I also support Gov. Rell’s allocation of funding for “green-collar” jobs and, the $7.5 million she plans to allocate for the Connecticut Conservation Corps initiative. Both of these initiatives are vital to providing jobs and reinvigorating our economy in the months to come. In addition, I support her proposal to expand the bottle bill law to include non-carbonated beverages like water. Revenues from that change would go to help cities like Bridgeport.
–Bill Finch, Mayor of Bridgeport
“We need a precision laser, not a chainsaw in the effort to build a more efficient and cost-effective state government. The governor’s approach is disappointing. We need to take the budget apart piece by piece and rebuild it, not just lop off jobs and commissions.”
“The governor brought in her own expert to speak at the Capitol just yesterday and he made it clear that it was not realistic to think the shortfalls can be solved without new revenue. There’s no doubt she knows the majority Democrats in the legislature will restore many of the vital services she cut. They are being set up ‘like bowling pins,’” Amann said.
Amann said there were some positive ideas in the plan such as the incentives for regional cooperation among cities and towns, the streamlining of the business-development agencies and the goal of a green economy. “I am pleased the governor is following our lead in the effort to bring green jobs to Connecticut.” Amann has developed what is called “Energize Connecticut”—an effort to build a mega-green economy.
–From a release sent out by Jim Amann’s gubernatorial campaign
The resounding ‘Amen’ echoing throughout Connecticut this afternoon was the chorus of small business owners reacting to Governor Rell’s commitment to fight efforts to raise taxes. While the situation in Hartford is dire, the climate on Main Street is no less ominous—and small business owners are in no position to bail out the big spenders demanding a transfusion of tax dollars to shore up a budget that’s drowning in red ink.
Raising taxes is rarely a good idea, but it would be a disaster to raise income taxes today given the current state of our economy. The vast majority of entrepreneurs and small business owners file their business income through their personal income tax. An income tax increase will hammer the innovators and job creators that Connecticut needs to cultivate in order to get our economy back on track.
The state’s public employee unions are spending thousands on slick ads to convince taxpayers they need big government to survive. But what this state needs is exactly what Gov. Rell has prescribed: Tough decisions, a leaner, more efficient government and the common sense not to drill more holes in the boat when our economy is already taking on water.
–The Connecticut chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut today joins Gov. M. Jodi Rell in her concern for the health of our state’s economy and people. However, we our deeply troubled by the disconnect between her rhetoric and many of the actions proposed in her budget, particularly in the area of health care.
In addition to proposing short-sighted cuts to the state’s health care safety net responsible for our state’s most vulnerable residents, the governor’s budget calls for the elimination of the Office of the Healthcare Advocate. This would deal a devastating blow to consumers at a time when advocacy on their behalf is most urgently needed.
–Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
“It is unfortunate and disappointing that on the same day as we celebrate President Obama’s signing into law the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization, Governor Rell proposed a budget that would cut back some of the very health care services that Congress fought so hard to preserve and expand.
“There is no question that given the extremely dire budget circumstances facing Connecticut, balancing the budget is no easy task. But now is not the time to balance the state’s budget on the backs of low and middle-income Connecticut residents – many of whom are children. Ultimately, efforts to expand health care coverage will hold little value for our nation’s children and families if access to care continues to erode, whether by chipping away at benefits or increasing co-pays and deductibles.
–Rep. Rosa DeLauro (added 6:44 pm)