Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) voted in support of a state budget adjustment that resolves the fiscal year 2019 state budget deficit, restores funding for the core functions of government, and does not implement any new tax increases.
The budget is the result of bipartisan negotiations and represents a compromise between Republican and Democrat lawmakers to update the bipartisan state budget that passed last year.
The compromise plan eliminates the projected budget shortfall in fiscal year 2019, restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program and HUSKY A coverage for working poor parents, directs more funds toward the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund, and protects municipal aid. It includes recommendations made by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. It also fully funds the state’s transportation fund to allow all transit projects to move forward without new taxes or tolls.
“I want to thank lawmakers from both sides of the aisle for coming together to negotiate these adjustments to balance our budget and meet our state’s core responsibilities,” said Sen. Fasano. “There is more work to be done and no side got everything they wanted in this final agreement. However, what we passed today is a solid plan for the next fiscal year that meets the needs of taxpayers without making new promises the state cannot afford to keep. If lawmakers did not work together our state budget would have been left in the hands of Governor Malloy to adjust it as he sees fit. We’ve seen what that looks like before and it is not pretty. Republicans have offered multiple budget proposals this year and today’s bipartisan plan reflects many of our top priorities.”
Financial Polices and Taxes:
- Contains no new tax increases.
- Maintains new retiree tax breaks contained in last year’s bipartisan budget for pension & social security income.
- Rejects governor’s proposal to eliminate $200 property tax credit which supports elderly and working families.
- Restores $10 million to the Energy Efficiency Fund.
- Maintains $7 million savings target for a hard hiring freeze.
- Provides $16 million to the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund to provide a full statutory contribution of 33%.
Funding for Core Services:
- Restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program in full to all 169,450 seniors.
- Restores funding for HUSKY A coverage for 13,000 low income working parents who otherwise would lose coverage.
- Increases Vocational Agriculture per pupil grants by $1,000 per slot.
- Provides $5 million for Emergency Placements for those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- Preserves grants for substance abuse treatment and mental health care.
- Provides a 1% private provider COLA to all non-profit providers effective July 1, 2018
- Increases funding for the Judicial Branch court support staff.
- Restores $18.5 million to magnet schools.
- Provides $1 million for Connecticut Valley Hospital and Whiting Forensic Institute.
- Restores funding for Elderly Nutrition Program.
- Funds the Connecticut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with $5 million needed in the fund.
- Fully funds aid to disabled adding in $1.4 million.
- Fully funds Old Age Assistance with an additional $1.8 million.
- Protects funding for fire training schools and eliminates governor’s cut.
- Restores funding for the Hispanic Programs in DSS providing funding to nonprofits.
- Provides funding for Puerto Rico evacuees in housing and provides municipalities with a significant influx of evacuees with increased Education Cost Sharing Grants.
- Provides needed funding for dairy farmers
- Funds the Honor Guard
- Provides $16.2 million to the Board of Regents needed for fringe benefit support.
- Restores $2 million to fully staff the Connecticut state veterans hospital’s critical care unit.
Protects Municipal Aid:
- Restores full funding for Municipal Aid. $28.4 million more than appropriated in FY 2019 as originally enacted. $70.5 million more in municipal aid than FY 2018.
- Fully funds the FY 2019 enacted Education Cost Sharing grants.
- Fully funds Renters Rebate program, protecting 48,000 people. No longer shifts the expense onto municipalities.
- Fully funds the Special Transportation Fund resulting in surpluses in the fund in each of the next 5 years (accelerates the diversion of sales tax from sale of automobiles at car dealerships into FY 2019 at 8%). This allows the state to fully fund transportation infrastructure projects.
- Fully funds rail and bus operations.
- Enacts “Prioritize Progress” in part, a long-term plan to support infrastructure improvements without taxes or tolls.
Implements Recommendations from the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth as follows:
- Study on pro-growth rebalancing of state taxes.
- Study on revenue and expense optimization.
- Study on reforming of the Teachers’ Retirement System.
- Implements municipal relief by allowing schools to have volunteers perform work such as buildings and grounds maintenance.