Letter: The Connecticut budget

To the Editor:
A recent Democrat View by Alex Harris praised the new Democratic budget passed in Hartford, claiming it is balanced. Before giving a sigh of relief, let’s look at the reality, thanks to the facts from Toni Boucher.
We passed a constitutional amendment to require that transportation funds stay in a “lockbox” for transportation purposes. Yet the new car sales tax, supposedly generating $170 million for the lockbox, has already been diverted into the general fund.
The balanced budget is based on $450 million in savings that do not exist. Union contracts granting concessions have not yet been negotiated or approved, so there are no touted savings. Changes to healthcare plans have not been approved. Budgeted COLA savings also have not been realized but 19,000 bonuses have been approved adding $100 million to the budget, along with higher wages and benefits of up to 11%.
State employee pensions should be 80% funded. They are 30% funded. Current debt and pension obligations already consume one-third of state expenditures, yet the plan is to refinance teacher pensions with payments to 2023 to the tune of $27 billion in interest. Instead of converting to 401K plans, as is common in the private sector, this administration prefers to burden future taxpayers.
Bonding is supposed to be for long-term capital improvements, yet the Hartford Democrats approved borrowing millions of dollars for 3 Little Leagues, the YMCA, 4-H clubs, one Boy Scout troop, farmers’ markets, arts festivals, Little League baseball, theater grants and tennis programs.
Neither tobacco settlement funds nor green energy funds are supposed to be used for general fund deficits, as per promises made, now broken.
How easy it is to “balance” the budget by borrowing from the future, letting future taxpayers pay the price.
Linda Lavelle
Aspen Mill Road, June 16