February 2, 2009

City will feel 'pain' as state pares its budget, mayor says

Mayor Art Ward said tonight the city may have to prepare for its worst case scenario for the upcoming budget, a plan that could mean fewer municipal services and perhaps layoffs.
"There's going to be some pain," Ward said.
After listening to Gov. Jodi Rell's speech to the state, the mayor said the situation is dire.
"We're going to have sit down and take stock" after hearing the details of the state spending plan that Rell will unveil on Wednesday, Ward said.
The mayor said "a stark evaluation" is required.
He said the city has been gearing up for nine months to cope with what is turning out to be a potentially shattering state budget that could dramatically reduce aid to Bristol's schools and to City Hall generally.
If that happens, Ward said, "Everything's on the table."
Ward said the city will "make the moves" it must to protect taxpayers and to preserve the most essential municipal functions.
Ward said he hopes that Democrats and Republicans can pull together.
"The days of partisan politics," he said, "are something of the past. We meed to collectively work together."

Here's what Gov. Jodi Rell had to say during his address tonight:
Good evening and thank you for sharing a few minutes of your time.
An evening address such as this is unusual. But so, too, are these times in which we are living.
In fact, most of us have never witnessed the economic turmoil that now grips our nation.
It seems every day brings unexpected – and unwelcome – news. More layoffs. More bankruptcies. More business failures.
These are not just numbers found in a newspaper story or seen on the TV news. Behind every number is a person, a family – and their security and their dreams for the future.
Their individual stories are unique … but their fears, their concerns, are not – for we all share them.
It’s a time of great uncertainty. But this much I know: The people of Connecticut are strong, determined and resilient.
We have been challenged in the past – and we have prevailed. And we will prevail this time as well.
Ours is a state of innovation, ingenuity and intense pride.
To be sure, there will be times of trial and tears in the weeks and months ahead.
One thing that will never be in question is that we are in this together. United in purpose, bound by our humanity and our concern for one another.
I am proud to be your Governor and I am unbowed by the challenges before us.
For great challenges bring great opportunities – opportunities for much needed change.
In two days’ time I will be presenting a recommended state budget to the Legislature for the next two years. In many ways, it is a budget unlike any that has been presented in recent memory.
It is a budget that sets a fundamentally new vision for state government.
A smaller government.
A less expensive government.
A more efficient government.
And most importantly, a government that is more in line with what you – our taxpayers – can afford.
One thing you cannot afford is a higher tax bill. That’s why my budget does not raise taxes.
After all, it makes no sense to raise taxes when the taxes we already collect are down – way down.
Income tax revenue is down.
Sales tax revenue is down.
Corporate tax revenue is down.
People don’t have money to spend, because they have either lost their jobs or are afraid they will.
The deficit we are facing this current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is nearly $1 billion. The red ink for the next two years – the period covered by my proposed budget – is nearly $8 billion.
With revenues falling and deficits rising, it’s vital that state spending come down. And it does come down, under my budget.
I have worked long and hard on my plan – and yes, it calls for sacrifice. It makes cuts that will be painful.
My budget does what your family budget does – it pays for those things that we must have and it sets aside those things that are nice to have but that we cannot afford to pay for right now.
Families are making these same tough decisions every day – finding ways to cut back.
State government must do the same.
There will be some, particularly those in government, who say we can’t, we shouldn’t, cut so much.
And there will be special interests – many of whom get their money from government – saying, “How could you?”
They will be calling for new and higher taxes, saying it’s an issue of balance and fairness.
Of course they will never admit that it’s you who will be paying those taxes, because in the end it always is you. Tax increases balanced on your backs when you can least afford it is hardly fair.
Yes, they will protest and petition – in fact, many have already started, just knowing that I will not raise taxes and that I am cutting spending in my budget.
That is their right.
And they will be right in that some of the cuts will be painful – they are cuts I wish I did not have to make.
But it is my obligation as your Governor to do what is right in these tough economic times, to protect you and your family and to position Connecticut to succeed and to soar when the economic recovery comes.
And that means cutting spending. Living within our means. And not raising taxes at a time when people are losing jobs and are not able to pay the bills they currently have.
This is a time of great challenge and great opportunity. A time to remake, and refocus, state government.
A time to come together, to work together, to help one another through our difficulties.
We cannot control what happens on Wall Street or in Washington, but we can direct what actions we take here.
And I am confident that we will endure, that we will meet our challenges head on – and that we will create incredible new opportunities along the way.
Thank you for your time tonight and God Bless the Great State of Connecticut.


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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank You Governor Rell .....


btw ..... I am disappointed so many of mr. obamas' appointees are tax cheats . It kinda sets a bad example for our local government employees .

Anonymous said...

Thank God for unions.

Anonymous said...

Just what cuts has Art made in the past 9 months or a year?

Should have started sooner.

Anonymous said...

Just want to remind Art Ward that this started at least a year and a half ago & yet he raised taxes in 2008. My home taxes went up $74 a month in 2008 despite my pay getting cut 20% & 1/2 of my co-workers getting laid off. Now I'm facing either a lay off or a 50% cut in pay in the next several months. Thanks Artie for raising my taxes in a recession. (I'm sure he will blame GWB for all our problems but wouldn't say anything about Dodd & Frank).

My fellow Bristolites: this is what you get for electing someone with no economic, business or managerial skills. Unfortunately the rest of us have to suffer for the bad choices others made in voting for Art. I don't know him--he may be a great guy but he clearly is in way over his head.

Anonymous said...

Remember this in 1991 with the new State Income tax the State was in a 1 billion dollar hole. 18 years later and a state population about the same and if not maybe a little smaller - we are now have double the size of state government and an 8 billion dollar hole...And who has been in control most of those 18 years?

Anonymous said...

Ward said he hopes that Democrats and Republicans can pull together.
"The days of partisan politics," he said, "are something of the past. We meed to collectively work together."

Tell me he didn't really say this with a straight face. He has done nothing himself to promote this, and has been the MOST pasrtisan and the MOST vindictave of all of them. Shame on him.

Anonymous said...

Ooohh, look who has now flipped and is talking lay-offs after vowing to city employees that there would be no lay-offs. So typical......

Anonymous said...

such shallow non-constructive contributions to aid the situation- wallow in your own self pity and hope that someone else steps up to cover your sorry butts, sit back and gawk at everyone else and you will deserve what you get - zero.

Anonymous said...

9:58


And in 1991, the mayor layed people off to keep costs down. While Nicastro cried about it, he didn't replace most of those workers so he could look good by not raising taxes.

Anonymous said...

How about not letting married couples who both work for the city stop having health insurance by both - one or the other should have it - that cost money, no?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the unions should stop wanting everything and city workers can keep their jobs. Can't have the unions asking for the moon.

Anonymous said...

Ward is worried about Bristol but he gave his union boy's a very nice contract at a time when people are being let go!

Ward...working for the Unions!

Anonymous said...

The pain would have ben a lot less if Ward had started sooner AND if the BOF started looking at he budget sooner.

Thanks Art
Thanks Mize

Anonymous said...

The papers say the State has a $1 Billion deficit this year, and $5 Billion for the next two years.
The economy has being going down the drain for several years, the bottom is nowhere in sight.

The Courant reported that if the state cuts Bristol's school allocations this year, it would result in over 100 teachers and staff being layed off in Bristol.

Yet, the politicians and school board still want to proceed
with building two new schools, that will cost over $130 Million, not accounting for cost overruns?

What's the point if you can't pay the teachers to fill them? And the students body hasn't expanded significantly?

This building project needs to be delayed, perhaps even cut.
The state can't afford to fund project, and neither can the taxpayers.
As far as preserving a "reimbursement rate", for a project that no one can afford to fund?
Makes no sense to proceed or to build, in the face of such overwhelming future deficits.

I'd prefer preserving teachers, rather than swapping them for brand new bricks.

A new brick can't teach a kid.

Anonymous said...

Its sad to say, but it time the city start looking at out sourcing some of the city services. The cost of keeping people paid in Unions is hurting the tax payer. As a city tax payer I can care less if someone else other then a city employee is picking up my trash or cleaning my street. Will it save me money? Thats all I care about. With the right managers - they can manage out sourced companies very well.

Anonymous said...

I do not mean this in a mean spirited way, but after reading,again, all the negative comments directed at union employees in this city, I feel obligated to chime in. I would just like to remind everyone that the reason this country, and perhaps the world, is in this financial crisis is not because someone who works for public works took an extra 10 minute coffee break or because the police department or city hall unions received a 3% raise last July. We are in this mess because of the greed and exceses that high level, and maybe not so high level, PRIVATE SECTOR employees created. Private sector financial employees were allowed to go unchecked and unregulated giving themselves bonuses that often far exceeded their salaries. Somehow the blame always gets spun back around on the 50K a year union employee. Just not so. The next time you see a policeman, fireman or public works employee, ask him or her what his last quarter bonus was. I think we all know what the answer will be. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

1:25, did union boy Mike Petosa write those talking points for you?

Anonymous said...

You nailed it 1:25!

Anonymous said...

Hello 1:25PM poster. It's not the pay but the benefits that are the problem. It very seldom is a question about how much someone is getting paid, unless you are a CEO, its the fringe benefits that union employees get that someone has to pay for. IE: tax payer

Anonymous said...

1:25 I agree with you as far as police, fire and public works go, but it's education that sucks up all the tax dollars and stuffs them into the pockets of administrators and teachers who only work 180 days per year. As far as the private sector, it can't all be painted with the same brush either. There are corporations with overpaid CEOs and corporations without them.

We can't just generalize, because nothing gets done and people get frustrated and angry. We need to look closer and make the NEEDED changes. We need to start where we already have say, and that's in education. Next fall, vote for BOE members who won't drink the kool aid.

Anonymous said...

What a Joke...."City will feel Pain" ...Ward say's!!

Why then didn't freeze the Union contracts? Instead he gives them a nice big raise with just about no costsharing!

Once again Ward, talking out of both sides of your mouth!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Dascle is stepping aside. Shows a little bit of ethics

Anonymous said...

Art's problem is that he doesn't have a clue, so he listens to Kloko.

He was given fair warning some time back, but he is too thickheaded.

And we will be paying for it!

Anonymous said...

You are right, 2:54, but we need to pay more attention to the political stances of our state legislators as well. When election time comes, we need to ask them what they will do about binding arbitration and unfunded mandates. These laws are killing the taxpayer and need to be changed at the state level. We need to oust the Democrats in Hartford who voted against getting rid of some of these unfunded mandates.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

This is the most hypocritical load of BS that I have ever read. Rell talks this talk about leaner, smaller, government and has spent years spending bonding money for pet projects and political pork.

She's in over her head.

Anonymous said...

Hello? Democrat majority...

Anonymous said...

Rell is right, we all have to live within our means. And that means cutting spending. No BS there.

Look in the mirror said...

5:39 ~ Fair warning??? The entire Country had "fair warning." Didn't stop the recession from coming now, did it? You trying to blame Ward for it is pointless....and YOU think he's the one who's thick-headed??? LMAO!!!! ;0)

Anonymous said...

2:56
He had fair warning to do something and didn't!!

Totally incompetent and out of it!

He is in the same mold of polticians like Dodd, Franks, Pelosi and so on.

And the beat goes on>

Here we go again said...

Once again Ward, talking out of both sides of your mouth!

Ward...working for the Unions!

Art's problem is that he doesn't have a clue

he is too thickheaded.

Totally incompetent and out of it!

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Ah, I see Mr. Johnson is beginning his campaign a little early. How terribly disappointing. I was hoping he'd set the bar a little higher this time.