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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Part 4 of a Series: As Cuts Get Ugly, Legislators Forfeit Power, Transparency

By Keith M. Phaneuf

As retirement benefit and other debt costs continue to surge, some officials say there’s more at risk than higher taxes and deep cuts to key programs.

As budget choices turn ugly and voter frustration mounts, they say, legislators have been willing to forfeit some of their power and accept less public transparency, sometimes in exchange for greater political cover.

“I know that the only way we’re going to get out of this is to make a lot of difficult decisions, which is a little bit scary,” said Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, a veteran member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. “But I think we have to remember that the budget is one of our core obligations. Instead we look for excuses to absolve ourselves of our responsibilities.”

One path that legislatures historically have taken to cut spending from a safe distance involves “lapses” — somewhat nebulously defined savings targets that the governor must achieve.

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Posted 02/02/17 at 02:05 PM  Permalink


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