Guest Essay – from Fred Camillo

Governor Malloy has delivered his much anticipated budget proposal to the State Legislature. In short, I am extremely disappointed in the path he chose to close a $3.2 billion deficit.

While Dannel Malloy did not create this fiscal disaster, and has been brutally honest in his plan to fill it, I will respectfully vote no on it if it comes up for a vote in the House chamber, if the tax increases stay in place, and the increased spending levels and non-reduction of the the public sector remain. In a time when each individual, and each family, in our State is learning to live with less and in the process to become more efficient, we are actually increasing spending by 2.4% in each of the next two fiscal years, according to the Governor’s own numbers.

On the efficiency side, his budget trims only 150 out of 45,000 State employees. Honestly, I was expecting significantly more to be done in this area, but it was hardly even addressed. Connecticut remains with a very high number of State employees, a fact that highlighted by close to $70 billion in unfunded pension obligations.How are we to right the ship and become more competive when our large public sector remains virtually untouched and private businesses are being asked to pay even higher taxes?

Remember, over the two years, we in Connecticut took $1.5 billion in Federal money, used our $1.4 billion Rainy Day Fund, and raised taxes $1.6 billion. To ask our over-taxed and struggling citizens to pay close to another $2 billion in taxes without cutting one nickel from the budget is just plain wrong, and unfair.

I do salute the Governor for his combining of a few departments and establishing a Dept. of Energy, something I campaigned on in the last election. While my plan involved a different route proposed, I am grateful that there will now be an energy policy in our State, something that is critical if we are to become greener, more ecologically/economically competitive, and less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

The Governor also is asking the unions to concede about $1 billion a year, a good first step. It will be interesting to see how they react to his proposal because when a Republican Governor tried it, the effort failed.

On a personal side, he has been very accessible to everyone, Republicans, like myself, included. He has spoken to me a few times and each time I left feeling like he had heard me and wanted to continue the dialogue. He has my respect, no question about it.

The above disagreements aside, Governor Malloy is an extremely bright man, hard working, engaging, and, I believe, intending the very best for our State. I look forward to working with on the issues we agree on, and respectfully engaging him on those topics we differ on.

Fred Camillo
State Representative
151st District