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Stafstrom: State Budget Not Perfect, But Fair Compromise

October 26th, 2017 · 9 Comments · News and Events, State Politics

From State Rep. Steve Stafstrom:

Following months of negotiations, the Connecticut House of Representatives today joined the state Senate in overwhelmingly approving a bipartisan budget that will end our state’s budget stalemate and the fear and uncertainty that having no budget has created for our municipalities, businesses and social service providers.

This $41.3 billion two-year plan will help close a projected $3.5 billion deficit over the next biennium by committing to significant structural reforms. Not only will this budget help Connecticut steady its financial footing, but it will help spur economic development and restore millions of dollars to municipalities, our schools and core state services.

This bipartisan, two-year state budget:
– Avoids the draconian cuts to Bridgeport and its schools proposed by the Republicans and the Governors Executive Order;
– Reinstates funding to our state and local independent colleges such as Fairfield and Sacred Heart universities and University of Bridgeport;
– Invests in our tech schools and workforce development programs;
– Protects many of the social service and youth services programs our residents rely on, including Care4Kids, StreetSafe Bridgeport and Project Longevity;
– Implements spending and bonding caps to help reduce our long-term debt;
– Creates a process for distressed municipalities to apply for increased funding and assistance in restructuring debt with more state oversight;
– Does not increase sales or income taxes;
– Rejects Gov. Malloy’s plan to burden local town and education budgets with state pension obligations;
– Requires future state labor contracts to be voted on by the Legislature;
– Provides for a sustainable revenue source to ensure the long-term solvency of the Special Transportation Fund.

Make no mistake; this is a tough budget that is far from perfect. While it creates a new state education funding formula, which over a course of several years, gradually diverts more funding away from wealthier towns to districts like Bridgeport, that formula is not nearly as aggressive as I would like it to be in addressing the needs of our poorer districts. The budget also makes some significant and potentially painful cuts to many important state programs and services.

But, on balance, in these difficult times and given the political makeup of the Legislature it is the right budget and a true compromise. It protects Bridgeport’s share of state aid and funding for critical services. It also is a step forward in addressing Connecticut’s fiscal challenges. With the next legislative session only a few short months away, passing this budget allows us to put this prolonged debate behind us and move on to addressing other priorities to move our city and state forward.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Local Eyes

    An imperfect budget is better than no budget at all.
    Now we have a boundaries. The Land of Steady Habits had become a stalemate and that’s an unhealthy habit.
    Revenue lost is not easily recaptured. Who ever said time is money must’ve been part of The 2017 GA.

  • Ron Mackey

    Now that Connecticut has a budget let’s see what plan and vision that the candidates for governor from the Republican and Democratic Parties have.

  • Frank Gyure

    For better or worse,State Rep Steve Stafstrom does put out a detailed public message and seems to stay in contact with the readers of OIB. I will give him credit for that. This budget maintains the suburb-centric myopic political/fiscal/financial focus in the State of Connecticut. I did see a a press release from State Senator Marilyn Moore focusing on one specific program which had all the aroma of a funereal Pyrrhic victory. I don’t seem to have any connection with the rest of Bridgeport’s Legislative “team” so I don’t know what the rest had to say.As for the present and possible Connecticut gubernatorial candidates,I am completely underwhelmed.

  • Jimfox

    The Unfeigned “A day late and a dollar short budget “.

  • Donald Day

    State Rep Strafstrom, why must you and your ilk continue to try and balance the budget off the backs of smokers.

    Now they want to tax cigarette to $4.35 per pack like NY. This will be the 8th cigarette tax since 2002 and the tax then was $1.11 per pack. The cigarette tax has risen 350% since 2002 prior to this new increase. What other tax has risen 350% in 15 years?

    Connecticut has received nearly $2 billion over the past 15 years as part of a legal settlement meant to compensate states for the toll of tobacco. But, to the consternation of anti-tobacco advocates, the state has spent only a tiny fraction of it to curb smoking. Instead, lawmakers have repeatedly used the money as a crutch to help balance the budget. Even the money designated for a special fund for anti-tobacco efforts and other health programs has repeatedly been raided by lawmakers to cover other expenses.

    Haven’t smokers paid enough? I would think you and those blood suckers in Hartford like a glass a wine or a cocktail to ease your daily pressures yet you don’t do to liquor what you do to cigarettes because that’s your drug of choice. You and the rest of those bastards in Hartford need to be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Bob Walsh

    Steve Stafstrom eloquently said nothing. The devil is in the details and still the details are short on specifics.
    Although the one detail which is not short is the education funding for education which means Bridgeport gets less.
    Get you arse to court and demand more. Period

  • Frank Gyure

    The comments from State Rep. Steve Stafstrom were very unsatisfying.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, did you ask the mayors office for the shortfall number due to the “Fair Compromise.”

    I’m hearing $14 million with 8 months left of the City’s fiscal year. This is just on the City’s side. Did you call the School Superintendent to get the numbers from the BOE side?

    Care to tell us what the Independent Office of Fiscal Analysis is saying about this “Fair Compromise?” It looks like you will be dealing with billion dollar deficits for the next 8 years or more, if you last that long in your position.

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