Presenting his 2014-15 fiscal year budget to the General Assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 6, Governor Dannel P. Malloy outlined an agenda that builds on the investments made over the past two years in job creation and education without proposing any new taxes. In order to achieve those goals, the governor’s proposed budget reduces spending by $1.8 billion off the state’s current services budget.
“[This 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.”
The governor’s budget invests in growth industries such as bioscience, and by expands 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.
In addition to cutting $1.8 billion from the current services budget, the plan is 5.8% lower than spending projections under the prior administration. The budget also fully utilizes generally accepted accounting principles, fulfilling a promise Malloy made two years ago.
In addition, the governor announced a proposal to provide middle class tax relief to Connecticut families, including elimination of the car tax for vehicles valued under $28,000. Towns and cities will have the option of implementing the proposal on July 1, 2013. Statewide implementation will begin on July 1, 2014. Both private and commercial vehicle will be covered by the exemption. In addition to lowering costs for state residents, the proposal will also lower costs to municipalities, who will no longer be responsible for collecting the tax.
The Governor’s tax relief package also includes reinstating the exemption on sales tax for clothing. The exemption will cover items under $25 beginning July 1, 2014, with a full restoration of the $50 exemption by 2015.
“The families and the businesses of Connecticut have enough on their shoulders,” Malloy said. “This budget asks no more of them. In fact, I’m proposing we give them some much-deserved help… These changes won’t solve all of a working family’s problems. But, as we continue the hard work of reforming our state finances and of growing jobs, they can still mean something to families working hard to make ends meet. Let’s make it happen.”
Malloy also announced that towns and cities would be held harmless from budget reductions. The proposal also increases education funding by $152 million, with more than 90% of that funding targeted to low performing districts. Governor Malloy has increased funding every year since being elected.
“My proposed budget is a clear indication of how far we’ve come together and also a stark reminder of how far we still have to go,” Malloy said. “As we negotiate throughout this session, it is my hope that everyone in this chamber – Democrat and Republican – will be part of that process.
“Let’s not allow ideology to stand in the way of progress or compromise. There is much we agree on.
“Let’s not make this budget be about division. Let’s make it about coming together, and about continuing on the path we started down two years ago.”