A non-partisan reaction to the essay by Speaker Arisimowicz which has been called a concise description why the Connecticut Republican budget which recently passed is a disaster. [Shown after the non-partisan reaction below]
Begins quite partisan saying the Republican budget is “severely flawed” and some who voted didn’t really mean it to pass, Looks like a stretch. The Republican budget looks to me like a serious offering.
Every Democrat claims UConn needs tax money to thrive. The Republicans would cut $200 million more than the Democrats, plus “Requires professors to teach an additional class …; eliminates free tuition for employees and families, requires UConn Health to enter into a public-private partnership.”
Aresimowicz complains the Republican budget eliminates $435 million for business development and job training programs. The bulk of those cuts comes from the State Departments “direct financial assistance to businesses” according to the Courant. But it also eliminates aid to small businesses for a voucher program, apprenticeships, worker training and energy efficiency incentives.
I think I can see why Democrats complain louder about the $200 million from UConn than the $435 million from financial assistance to businesses, and that looks partisan. We should look at both dollar amounts and what we expect to receive from that money.
He say Hartford would file bankruptcy and close the XL Center. All I see is not funding $115 million for renovations of the Center. Don’t know where he gets the bankruptcy from.
It may not be true that shutting funding for things will shut those things down. And the rest of his assertions are not easily found in any budget synopsis I have found.
The truth is the essay is quite partisan but calls for unity, rings hollow, disingenuous.
Democrats mainly point to UConn for why the budget is bad, but in reality education and health care are very, very expensive and perhaps if the people who received those services had to pay fairly for them we would then find more realistic pricing. And those providing education services competed fairly with other providers the quality would go up, but that might just be a pipe dream.
There is the other case, that if world class education is cheaper here than elsewhere then better people would come here. It is a decision beyond my pay grade, but I think everyone should see the clear choice instead of partisan posturing.
I would love to see some soul searching among some policy makers that truly look at the differences. Aresimowicz is right that the differences are not very large.
“As the Republican budget that narrowly passed the legislature last week awaits an assured, and deserved, veto from the Governor, a path must still be forged to a final budget that reflects the priorities of Connecticut’s residents.
“As it continues to be analyzed and assessed, clearly this Republican budget is severely flawed and not the answer to our fiscal challenges. There may even be some legislators who voted for it that never expected it to actually become law, and prefer that it doesn’t.
“There is general acknowledgment that it would decimate the University of Connecticut and threaten UConn’s place as a top public university in the country. It would also undercut the entire Connecticut State University system and potentially result in the closure of some community colleges.
“Eliminating business development and job training programs such as funding for the successful Small Business Express and evening hours at our Technical High Schools would stunt job creation efforts, while ending the Angel Investor Tax Credit would stifle entrepreneurship. Each of these would be counterproductive for our future economy.
“The Republican budget would also assure our Capital City of Hartford would have to file for bankruptcy, and likely cause the shutdown of the XL Center.
“The list goes on and on, including allowing unfettered corporate and special interests influence back into our elections with the elimination of the Citizens Election Program, and shutting down the public’s access to their government via television and online through the Connecticut Network (CTN).
“Though it is important for people to understand the negative impact of this budget, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that common ground does exist in many areas. These include changing the relationship between the state and the municipalities, reforming the state contracting system, and phasing out the income tax on Social Security payments.
“Yet, the fact remains that our state does need a final budget, and needs it soon. October is a particularly critical month for our cities and towns, with first quarter education aid and other upcoming municipal payments due.
“I’ve been saying all along that with a disastrous scenario for our schools on the horizon, it is critical that we work together and compromise with the Governor and Republicans to reach a bipartisan agreement on a final budget in short order that can become law.
“Bipartisanship is what the public wants, and with a split Senate and a slim House margin that is what is needed. That message rings truer and louder with every day that goes by. Every legislator hears it from their constituents at home in their districts.
“There is no more room or time for political posturing. The good news is that the two parties are not that far apart on the bottom line, including important areas such as funding for our schools and helping out our hospitals.
“Time is of the essence, so let’s all finally put our “D” and “R” labels aside, put up a “C” for Connecticut, and work together for the betterment of our state we all love.”
Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, is speaker of the House of Representatives.