Although the highly-touted report issued in March by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth fell mostly on deaf ears, the 14-member commission is trying again with what it’s calling “Report 2.0.”
The new report makes a number of recommendations to Gov.-elect Ned Lamont and the new legislature that convenes in January, including:
- Lowering the state’s deficit by at least $1 billion through spending cuts, and creating new revenues without increasing taxes by hiring outside consultants and private-sector resources.
- Delaying wage and benefits increases for state workers over the next two years, and increasing employee contributions to their pension plans.
- Lowering taxes on businesses and individuals and expanding the sales tax base to help spur economic growth.
- Improving the state’s transportation system, which would include the installation of electronic tolls on Connecticut’s major highways.
- Prioritizing state municipal funding for cities and towns deemed to be most in need.
The 14-member commission, co-chaired by onetime Women’s Health USA CEO Robert Patricelli and former Webster Bank CEO James Smith, was created last fall by Gov. Dannel Malloy. Its initial report failed to have much impact – in May legislators ordered further study of some of its recommendations – and the commission is no longer operating under the state government’s auspices.
“While we are sure that our policy proposals can be improved by full debate,” the new report states, “they are currently the only comprehensive plan that has been offered and they are a good starting point for discussion. Based on the language of the just completed campaign, our newly elected leaders all say they want to make fundamental changes. Whether they have the will and ability to negotiate in good faith to achieve fiscal stability and economic growth for our state will depend in large part on what we — the citizens — demand of them.”
Calling the 2019 legislative session “an historic make-or-break political and policy opportunity for Connecticut,” the report added, “The fate of the state is literally in the hands of all of us to help our governor and legislature make the hard decisions that are needed.”