State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132), Laura Devlin (R-134) & state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) stood side-by-side with House and Senate Republicans and put forth a balanced, no tax increase budget that sets Connecticut on a new fiscal course. The proposed budget comes as Connecticut faces a $3 billion budget deficit that seems to grow by the day. \u00a0The budget provides a blueprint to move the state away from years of tax increases and unsustainable budgets that have ultimately cost Connecticut businesses and residents. The Republican budget spends $700 million less than the Democrats' budget and $313 million less than the governor's budget. The Republican budget establishes a real spending cap with tight restrictions and restores a balanced budget. Unlike the governor's budget which raised taxes by $200 million and the legislative democrat plan which would raise taxes by over $400 million, the Republican plan DOES NOT raise taxes. Unlike the governor's education plan, the Republican budget creates a fair and fully functional formula for the distribution of regular and special education funding. Under the Republican education formula, towns will receive adequate funding and can plan school budgets well into the future. The Republican budget also accepts full responsibility for paying teachers' pensions, as opposed to the governor's budget that shifted the burden onto municipalities. "Clearly the policies that have been pushed on our state are not working. We have run out of time and structural changes need to be made now. This is our chance to seize the moment and chart a new course for our state. \u00a0Continuing to raise taxes would only exasperate our current fiscal situation as more people and businesses would choose to go elsewhere. Connecticut needs a reliable and predictable vision for our business community and for our residents - not the current piecemeal annual process which has forced many businesses to shutter and residents to leave for other low cost states," said Rep. Devlin. Rep. Kupchick said, "Connecticut has been facing a serious fiscal crisis for years and this budget not only protects Fairfield taxpayers, it will put the state on a path of fiscal responsibility. \u00a0I'm hopeful that for the first time since being elected in 2011, the CT General Assembly will work together in a bi partisan way to pass a budget that gives relief to overtaxed residents and will provide hope to the business community and residents who want to stay in Connecticut. Sen. Tony Hwang said, "This Republican plan is about keeping our promise to towns, to schools and to Connecticut taxpayers. It contains no tax hikes, restores predictability for towns, and emphasizes our commitment to make their education mission whole. \u00a0It provides a path to budget sustainability by making tough government spending cuts, and it emphasizes accountability through a spending cap and requiring votes on union contracts. \u00a0This thoughtful, responsible document is the way forward for Connecticut, and Republicans will work with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democrats to pass it into law." Other Budget Highlights include: Consolidations of state agencies Eliminates funding for UConn branch of FastTrack bus service Eliminates taxpayer funded campaigns Mandatory Approval of labor contracts by the General Assembly Requires $700 million in union concessions Enact a constitutional Transportation Lockbox Phases out the income tax on pensions and annuity income Exempts social security from income tax for middle income seniors According to the latest report by the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the state budget is projected to run a $1.7 billion in deficit in 2017-18, and $1.9 billion in the red in 2018-19, according to Governor Malloy, for a combined biennial shortfall of $3.6 billion. If the April income tax estimates hold, the deficit forecast would rise to $2 billion in 2017-18 and $2.2 billion in 2018-19 which would represent a potential gap of 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively.