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Candelora: Connecticut’s Unconstitutional Budget Proposal

"I originally opposed this budget because I believe it unfairly puts a huge additional tax burden on the middle class and caters to special interests and big institutions. I’m now finding the power grabs in the budget equally repulsive."

Editor's note: Early Tuesday morning, the state senate approved Gov. Malloy's budget that calls for the largest tax increase in state history, the Courant reports. The following was released by Candelora's office on Monday. 

By state Rep. Vincent Candelora

Two weeks ago the Finance and Appropriations Committees voted out a spending package that included over $1.9 billion in new taxes. In contrast, the House and Senate Republicans offered a budget that provided for no tax increases and reduced spending by over $2 billion dollars. By the time this prints, the legislature may have already voted on a budget.  So what’s the rush?

The authors of this budget seem to be using a play from the federal government that resulted in the passage of our federal healthcare bill. By forcing a quick vote, it does not give anyone the opportunity to read the bill and digest its consequences. Given the dramatic agency consolidations and extreme changes in tax policy, Governor Malloy and the Democrat leadership are providing a disservice to the public and the process by rushing this vote. To date, legislators have not seen a draft of the budget.

The proposed budget assumes a $2 billion employee concession package over two years. If the Governor fails to achieve this placeholder, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, an unelected official, will be vested with authority to make $2 billion worth of cuts without any legislative approval. This provision is a complete abdication of legislative responsibility and is arguably unconstitutional.

Under Connecticut’s Constitution, the state is required to adopt a biennium budget that is balanced; specifically expenditures shall not exceed revenues. By failing to achieve employee concession at the time of a budget vote, the current union contracts exist at a higher expenditure; therefore, Connecticut’s expenditures will technically exceed revenues. It is unprecedented in Connecticut history to propose passage of a budget that assumes unachieved union concessions.

Connecticut’s legislature is also vested with the authority of proposing and passing a budget. To hand this authority over to one person represents a complete dereliction of duty. I originally opposed this budget because I believe it unfairly puts a huge additional tax burden on the middle class and caters to special interests and big institutions. I’m now finding the power grabs in the budget equally repulsive.

Republican state Rep. Vincent Candelora covers East Haven, North Branford and Wallingford.

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