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State Republicans release their plan to fix growing budget deficit

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HARTFORD — The clock is ticking until the end of Connecticut’s legislative session and lawmakers are still grappling with how to fix a growing budget hole. Monday republicans released their ideas.

Leaders go through the 2017 budget line-by-line and give their proposals for what funding is restored, cut, or stays the same. They’re offering long term structural plans they believe will get Connecticut out of the cycle of putting band-aids on budget deficits.

GOP leadership said their proposal fills the projected $935 million deficit.

A few highlights include a 12 percent reduction to select appropriations. Republicans say they are protecting funding for “core social services”, a hard wage freeze for employees in 2017, increase co-pays and health premiums for non-union employees. They are also calling for reductions in funding at UConn and UConn Health Center.

Republicans also put forth long term plans including reducing and prioritizing state borrowing, legislative givebacks in the form of salary reductions and getting rid of unsolicited mail, and eliminating taxpayer funding for political campaigns.

Leaders are also reworking the Governor’s transportation financing plan. Over 30 years, they believe $70 billion is a more reasonable estimate than the Governor’s $100 billion plan. Republicans stress their plan does not raise taxes or implement tolls.

“We are no longer interested in sticking gum in a hole and that’s why we have this very factual, very thought out, very valid, long term plan for the state of Connecticut,” said State Representative and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides.

“I’m glad the minority finally came through with their budget proposal, which contains some helpful ideas, many similar to what is contained in the Democrats’ plan,” said speaker of the House, Democrat Brendan Sharkey in a statement. “Time is of the essence, if the Republicans are serious about leading, let’s sit down today, work it out, and get this done together.”

State Senate President Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said in a statement, “While the Republican plan contains a number of proposals with which we agree and that may be part of a Democratic budget, on balance, their plan is unworkable and eliminates the most significant property tax initiative to benefit municipalities in our state’s history. We will deliver a budget that is balanced, workable and protects our investments in property tax relief and job creation.”

Democrats refused to meet with the Governor Malloy last week upset by his criticisms of their budget. The legislative session ends on May 4th.

More Republican budget details are available here.

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