Gov. Dannel Malloy presented his Fiscal Year 2014/15 budget to the General Assembly Wednesday, and in it he outlines an ambitious agenda, building upon investments made over the past two years in job creation and education without proposing new taxes.
"I'd like to tell you that this budget solves all of our problems," said Malloy during his budget address. "But, it doesn't."
In the announcement Wednesday, Malloy said in order to achieve those goals, the budget will reduce spending by $1.8 billion off the state's current service budget.
"The budget furthers a plan we started two years ago," Malloy said. "A plan to get our finances in order, to live within our means, and to do it while making bold investments to create jobs and grow our economy."
Malloy said in his address that he is proposing a budget with no new taxes, no gimmicks and no excessive spending.
"Connecticut families have had to buckle down, make tough decisions, pay their bills, make sacrifices and find compromise, and at the same time keep doing whatever they can to invest in their future," he said. "And so must their government."
According to Malloy, the budget reaffirms his commitment to moving the state's economy forward by investing in growth companies like bioscience, expanding the University of Connecticut's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program to "foster the next generation of Connecticut scientists, teachers, doctors, engineers, business leaders and entrepreneurs."
"Even in difficult times, especially in difficult times, we have to keep investing in our future," Malloy said.
Malloy said $1.5 billion from the capital budget will be invested in the towns and cities across the state over the next two years. More than $980 million will be used to build new schools.
"These critical investments in cities and towns – in our roads, our schools and our parks – represent the largest commitment in decades to growing our local economies, and improving the quality of life for our residents," he said.
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said that the governor's "rhetoric does not match reality" and "has turned over-promising and under-delivering into an art form."
"Hiding the tax increases does mean they are not there. Cuts in municipal aid are dollar for dollar property tax increases. The power plant tax is passed off to rate payers. The corporate tax means high unemployment in our state will continue," Labriola said in a statement Wednesday. "If the governor wants an "honest" budget, he could start by being honest himself - instead, he is playing a shell game with this budget and the taxpayers who will foot the bill for it."
Republican Minority Leader Larry Cafero said Malloy is doing what he said he would not.
"He said he would not borrow to pay operating expenses," Cafero said.
Malloy also stated that his staff is working on creating the "state's first-ever comprehensive energy strategy."
"This plan will help us take advantage of enhanced energy efficiencies to drive down energy costs for families and for businesses," he said.
Malloy is also proposing an exemption on property taxes for motor vehicles, which have an assessed value of $20,000. This exemption would cover 90 percent of the vehicles in Connecticut, Malloy said.
A tax exemption will be given for clothing items up to $25 starting in 2014 and another is expected for clothing items up to $50 in July 2015.
"Let's make it happen," Malloy said. "Let's provide relief for working people across Connecticut. Relief they will feel."
Hospitals are expected to be affected by the spending cuts.
"We urge lawmakers to oppose the proposed budgetary cuts and fix this damage," the Connecticut Hospital Association said in a statement Wednesday.
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