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New Canaan's Rep. O'Dea Votes Down State Budget Plan, Calls It A Band-Aid

State Rep. Tom O'Dea comments on the budget deficit mitigation plan
State Rep. Tom O'Dea comments on the budget deficit mitigation plan Video Credit: CTHouseRepublicans

NEW CANAAN/WILTON, Conn. -- State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125-New Canaan/Wilton), calling the state’s deficit mitigation package a “Band-Aid,” said he voted against it because it swept $35.2 million away from the special transportation fund.

O’Dea said he had voted for a “lock box” amendment which would have helped assure that funds dedicated for use in maintaining, repairing and renovating Connecticut’s major transportation conduits were not be used on other budget priorities.

“I could not support a measure intended to preserve the integrity of the fund, and in the next breath vote to erode it,” O’Dea explained.

The “lock-box” measure passed in the state Senate unanimously, but failed to get the necessary three-fourths majority in the House vote, O’Dea said, which would have put it on the ballot for voters.

This means, he said, that the amendment will need to be taken up again in the 2017 session of the legislature. Even if it eventually passes, it will not get to voters until at least 2018, he said.

O’Dea, who is a ranking member of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, said the state is failing to “properly make the necessary investments in our transportation infrastructure.”

The deficit mitigation bill, advanced by legislative Democrats, aimed to close a $350 million shortfall in the 2016 budget which was approved “without a single Republican vote back in June,” O’Dea said.

Connecticut lawmakers passed the bill on Dec. 8.

As for what it contained, O’Dea said he agreed with things like “rolling back the punishing unitary tax on businesses,”

But, he added: “ultimately, the long-term structural changes needed to keep us from continually falling into future deficit weren’t made. This package is simply a Band-Aid.”

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