Never base your budget requests on realistic assumptions, as this could lead to a decrease in your funding. –Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist
GOVERNOR’S 2016-17 BUDGET LEAVES FEW UNTOUCHED; NONPROFITS, BUSINESSES COLLEGES SHARE PAIN IN FORM OF CUTS OR COSTLY TAX POLICY CHANGES
Businesses, state universities, hospitals and other nonprofits were left scratching their heads and sharpening their pencils after the Governor’s budget address Wednesday. While everyone knew there would be some shared sacrifice given the looming $1 billion-plus budget deficits projected in 2016 and 2017, no one was quite prepared for the staggering scope of the cuts and curtailments. Under the proposed budget: Hospitals would be subject to tax hikes during one of the most tumultuous periods in the industry’s history; Medicaid providers, whose costs never have been fully covered, would be subject to further reductions in their reimbursement rates; the state university system and UConn would face millions in spending reductions; cultural and entertainment venues that make this climate somewhat tolerable would face uncertain futures; and the state’s job creators would have sharp curbs placed on the amount of corporate tax credits they can claim and steep limits imposed on the percentage of net operating losses they can carry forward.
To be fair, the administration did not have many palatable options to choose from, but this budget proposal has the potential to cause a major hiccup in the state’s fragile recovery by reducing critical investment incentives, canceling previously scheduled reductions, and extending the corporate tax surcharge indefinitely (see budget overview: 2016-17 budget summary).
On the bright side, Governor Malloy’s bold 30-year transportation improvement plan offers an important roadmap for alleviating chronic congestion on our aging roadways.
It is now up to the Legislature to find ways to prioritize state spending, raise the revenues necessary to cover the services it deems essential, close the daunting deficits, and restore the patient to health. And then they will have to sell it to Governor Malloy. Much more to come.
Note: The Appropriations and Finance Committees have until the end of April to report out a budget-tax package, after which final negotiations with Malloy administration will commence.
SPECIAL ELECTIONS SLATED FOR TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH TO FILL THREE VACANCIES IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY– TWO HOUSE SEATS AND ONE SENATE SEAT
Special elections will be held Tuesday to fill vacancies created when two House members and one Senate member accepted appointments from Governor Malloy. The Governor nominated Sen. Andre Ayala, D-Bridgeport to head up the Department of Motor Vehicles; State Rep. Auden Grogins, D-Bridgeport, to serve on the Superior Court bench; and State Rep. David Scribner, R- Brookfield, to become state liquor control commissioner.
Here are the candidates seeking to replace them in the legislature.
- District 23 – Bridgeport, Stratford | Richard DeJesus (D); Quentin Dreher (R); Edwin Gomes (Working Families); Charles Hare, Kenneth Moales (petitioning candidates)
- District 107 – Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury | Stephen Harding (R) and (I); Howard Lesser (D).
- District 129 – Bridgeport | Steven Stafstrom (D); Enrique Torres (R); Robert Keeley, Robert Halstead, Hector Diaz (petitioning candidates).