Christine Stuart file photo
Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero (Christine Stuart file photo)

Staying true to form, Republicans in the General Assembly unveiled their own plan Wednesday to reduce the more than $1 billion budget deficit in fiscal year 2009.

Minority Republicans said they hope Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Democrats will consider their proposal which includes allowing liquor stores to stay open on Sundays, asks both union and non-union state employees to take furloughs, and moves up some of Rell’s cost-cutting proposals for fiscal years 2010-11.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Tuesday that she planned to have her plan ready by Friday and majority Democrats have scheduled Feb. 25 to vote on the package.

The Republican’s plan calls for union and non-union state workers to take 8 furlough days before June 30, eliminates several deputy commissioner posts and half the 48 deputy prison wardens, cuts 10 percent of elected officials pay, and calls for a retirement incentive plan for state employees to be started by April 1.

“If the legislature follows the Governor’s lead, moves up the effective date of some of her proposed cuts and offers additional cost-saving measures, then a no-tax increase budget is achievable,” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney said Wednesday. “But if Democrat leaders continue to postpone making difficult decisions, run out the clock on this year’s legislative session, and instead drain the state’s $1.4 billion rainy day fund to cover the FY 09 budget gap, they will have all but assured tax increases in FY 10 and FY 11.”

In addition Rell announced on Thursday that she was canceling a number of contracts for goods and services.

“State government has hundreds and hundreds of contracts for goods and services, many of them for items that are nice to have but not essential to our daily job,” Rell said in a press release.

“Services such as car washes, giveaways like magnets and pens, niceties like magazine subscriptions and luxuries such as new office furniture are simply not affordable at a time when our budget shortfall grows every day and taxpayers are wondering how they will make their own paychecks stretch from month to month,” Rell said.