Dems Break From Leadership To Support Republican Budget, Malloy Vows Veto, Stafstrom: GOP Plan ‘Very Bad’ For Bridgeport

Three Democrats in the State Senate and then five in the State House crossed the aisle to pass a Republican budget early Saturday morning that Governor Dan Malloy says he’ll veto which will force another round of discussions to approve a spending plan tardy since July 1.

Bridgeport State Rep. Steve Stafstrom explains why he voted against the GOP plan on his Facebook page:

I will be voting “NO” on the Republican Budget tonight. Here are just a few reasons why this budget is very, very bad for the people of Bridgeport:
— It causes a car TAX HIKE for Bridgeport residents (from 37 mills to 54 mills);
— Repeal of the MRSA program also means no future regional sales tax diversion funding to offset local property taxes;
— It CUTs education funding to Bridgeport by over $7M, yet gives Greenwich $1M more;
— City side funding is cut, whereas under the Dem’s plan it was set to increase;
— It imposes a 10% state admissions tax for ticket sales to events at Webster Arena and Harbor Yard. This will not help the entertainment venues thrive and bring folks into Downtown;
— It triples the cut to the earned income tax credit, hurting the working poor;
— Many, many, many of the social service, workforce development and youth services programs our residents rely on are decimated;
— The State Colleges and our local Independent Colleges (FU, SHU, UB) sustain massive cuts that will result in huge tuition increases and a reduction of access for less affluent students;
— Undercuts the efforts to encourage/force regional collaboration and sharing of services that is proposed in the Dem budget.

What’s in the budget?

See report here from Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie:

The Republican budget accepted the hospital tax increase that hospital executives approved as part of a deal with Democratic lawmakers and the governor. This part of the agreement fell into place because it is structured to allow for more federal reimbursements for the hospitals. The Republican plan also assumes the $1.57 billion in savings from the extension of the labor agreement.

… The Republican budget cuts about $45 million per year from the state’s annual grant for the University of Connecticut, and $75 million in the first year and $125 million in the second year from the grant for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.

What not in the budget? The $40 million anticipated by the City of Hartford to avert bankruptcy. Also not in the GOP budget is money for the continuation of the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed campaigns.

Among other issues raised by the Democrats early Saturday, the Republican budget would also eliminate the Citizens Election Program (CEP) while increasing the amount of money corporations could contribute to election campaigns. The CEP, which was passed with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s approval following her predecessor Gov. John G. Rowland’’ corruption conviction, has been credited with creating a more even playing field for candidates to run for public office.

CT Mirror reporter Keith Phaneuf has this report:

Republicans said their two-year, $40.68 billion budget, holds the line in spending, which makes it an attractive template on which to build a bipartisan compromise budget.

It establishes strong caps on appropriations and borrowing, Republicans said, while sparing communities from major cuts in state aid and from the governor’s proposal to shift $280 million in teacher pension costs onto local budgets.

On paper, General Fund spending would increase 3.5 percent in the first year and another 0.6 percent in the second, despite surging retirement benefit and debt costs fixed by contract.



  1. There are two items in the Republican budget that need to be addressed that I feel are good for the State of Connecticut. First, no overtime pay would be included in calculations for pension payouts for current state employees, and they would ask that employee contributions to the pensions go up to 7 percent. Secondly, money for the continuation of the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed campaigns would be stopped. Public campaign financing awards to candidates for 2014 totaled more than $33 million and this is an expense that the residents of Connecticut should no longer have to pay for nor is it beneficial to the tax paying public.

    It’s time for the politicians of Connecticut from both parties to work together for the betterment of this state and cut this partisan bullshit out. We don’t elect public officials to enrich themselves, we elect them to be public servants and its time you lived up to the expectations that the public deserves.

    1. Does your elimination of overtime in retirement calculations only cover State Employee Retirement System benefits? Another CT Plan is TRS covering teachers, but they do not earn overtime in my experience though they may devote many extra hours to education as their practice.
      Donald, what about MERS where our Police and Fire, formerly Plan B now get “super sized” benefits. What do you recommend as a beneficiary of Plan A, I believe? Time will tell.

  2. As I have repeatedly said;when it comes to Connecticut politics(throw in policy,legislating) is is the suburbs versus the urban areas irrespective(thank you PS) of party affiliation. All the Dem legislators that voted with the Republicans were from the suburbs(Branford,Simsbury,Killingly,Pomfret,Milford)

    1. The suburbs surrounding Hartford have way too much influence over state funding.

      I grew up in Simsbury, an upper-middle-class bedroom community. The sense of entitlement is nauseating. WASP privilege, squared. Bridgeport high schools have a 48% dropout rate but Simsbury, Milford, Avon, Farmington, etc., have better schools and well-to-do residents with deep pockets. They need new lacrosse sticks, soccer fields and expensive toys for the police departments. Doesn’t matter the most serious crimes are drunk driving and garden shed burglaries.

      1. I would argue there is no longer a Democrat Party in CT. Democrats don’t present a budget that increase taxes on the poor and middle class. Democrats don’t take funding away from public schools.

        This political party votes to support the most generous benefits any state worker receives in the US, so everyone else in CT suffers. This is a Party that supports education cuts and higher property taxes and then support the most generous state worker benefits.

        The budget vote proved that real democrats in Connecticut crossed over Party lines to support a budget bill that begins to FIX THE PROBLEM.

  3. Why was a link provided to CT NewsJunkie? That site is obviously partisan and worse,low-quality journalism. The Ct. Mirror link was better and offered better analysis. However,does journalism exist in Connecticut outside of OIB?

  4. Let each Major City establish a Tollway system with the State, 50/50 split in revenue for the next 10 years.
    This new revenue stream will help balance every Major City budget in Connecticut.
    This Tollway revenue will help bail out Hartford and avoid Bankruptcy today!

    Bridgeport alone has a daily traffic flow on I-95 over 165,000 cars and trucks per day.
    Merritt Parkway has somewhere around 110,000 cars per Day, at just $2 a toll Bridgeport would split $550,000 per day with the State what the Fluck are we waiting for?!

    Put the Tollways in every Major city and do it now!
    Hartford , Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, New Haven, Danbury, Waterbury, New Britain, New Londen.

    New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, all charge Tolls, we can’t leave this State without paying another State’s Tolls.
    It’s time to wake up Connecticut!

      1. Ron,
        Pegged at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, it no longer raises enough money to pay for federal infrastructure spending. And that’s always been the main job of the gas tax: paying for roads and bridges. Beginning in 1957, gas tax revenues were funneled directly into the federal Highway Trust Fund.Oct 24, 2013

  5. The GOP-sponsored budget allotts $115,000,000.00 for renovations at the XL Center in Hartford. Gee, thanks. I didn’t know a goddamned hockey rink was more important than public education and health care for the poor.

  6. Of course many of these politicians can sleep better at night knowing they did not approve legalization of marijuana.
    Stupid, right?
    The tax revenue that could bring in! Among other good reasons to legalize

  7. Did Steve Stafstrom vote ‘no’ because this proposal hurt Bridgeport or because it was put forward by Republicans?

    Perhaps Representative Stafstrom will share the key elements of his proposed budget.

    Or, more likely, is he waiting for a budget plan that Democrat party leaders endorse so he knows how to vote?

    1. Guessing – he representative the second most financially strapped city in CT. He’s trying to bring home the bacon – well maybe the whole hog. He one day wants to be governor. He’s going to need the party loyal to achieve that goal. Then there’s the base, sometimes it seems in CT the recipients of the most tax dollars are of the opinion they are entitled rather than beholden to tax payers.

  8. Jealous? The best seat in the house is never as good as being on the field. Even with a former Mayor as his lawyer, Tom White is still relegated to the sidelines.
    Rep. Stafstrom needs no help voting but Tom White can’t even get in the game.


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