Commission’s fiscal report offers recommendations

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A state commission released a new report on Connecticut‘s fiscal stability and economic growth.

“We’re kind of like Jimminy Cricket on Pinocchio’s shoulder, and by the way, Pinocchio’s nose is getting longer all the time,” said Bob Patricelli, the co-chair of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. “And we’re trying to say. ‘Tell the truth! Tell the truth!, what the problems are,’ and the problems are even more serious than even we thought.”

Those problems include deficits of over a billion dollars in the next two years. The Commission is made up of 14 private citizens, and it just published a new report with ideas of how to help. Step one, open up the employee union contracts for re-negotiation.

“I think it’s really important for all sides to get together around the bargaining table and try to solve the problem,” Patricelli said. “To simply say, ‘Well, the taxpayers will bail us out,’ I don’t know that that’s going to work either.”

Related: Capitol Report: Connecticut sees another financial crisis at the state Capitol

The thing is, the commission technically doesn’t exist anymore. It was put together to create one report, which it did back in March. The leaders thought, things are just so dire right now, they had to get the band back together one more time.

“It was a short legislative session in front of an election coming up,” said Patricelli. “The General Assembly didn’t really have time to digest all of the recommendations we made.”

Related: Lamont opens policy summit, pledges to make sure UTC companies “stay here”

It also recommends more public-private partnerships to help with transportation infrastructure.

Next, creating scholarships to get more students to study science and engineering to provide a better-educated workforce.

Also, municipal aid and revenue. Changing the formula for who gets state aid, and allowing cities and towns to enact more fees to try to generate more revenue.

The study also recommends tax reform designed to encourage economic growth.

Related: Fiscal commission issues report for new governor, lawmakers

“By lowering individual taxes up and down the ranks, and some business taxes, and we can pay for that by broadening the sales tax base,” Patricelli said.

He’s talking about continuing more taxes on services like pet care and things like that. Services make up more of the economy than goods these days. 

The 14 members of the commission say they felt the time was right for an updated study because a new governor and a new-look legislature will be in office starting in January, charged with putting together a new 2 year budget.

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