Rep. Dave Yaccarino (R- North Haven) on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, voted in support of a compromise budget between Republicans and Democrats that restores Medicare Saving Plan (MSP) funds that were cut, adds money for teachers’ healthcare and provides more money to the Special Transportation Fund without raising taxes.
The budget plan, which passed 142-8 on the final day of the 2018 legislative session is the result of negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate after the majority party refused to support the Republican proposal. The budget adjustment does not contain any tax increases, a critical requirement that Republicans insisted on.
The plan will also provide $29 million more to the Special Transportation Fund for road projects by accelerating the existing tax on new cars. The funding will ramp up dramatically in the coming years and all municipal aid and education cost sharing funding will remain whole in 2019.
“I am proud to support a bipartisan budget that moves Connecticut forward,” said Rep. Yaccarino. “This budget benefits the residents of North Haven and all constituencies by funding Medicare Savings for seniors, restoring town aid and education dollars without raising taxes. My job as a legislator is to represent all people in the community and I believe that this budget accomplishes that goal.”
Among the provisions in the compromise budget are:
- Include a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million
- Provide $16 million in additional funding for Retire Teachers’ Healthcare in order to bring the state’s portion of funding to 33 percent
- Reduce Energy Efficiency Fund sweeps by $10 million
- Fully restore the MSP to 211 percent
- Provide $1.5 million in TEAM funding
- Provide $16.2 million for Community Colleges to cover fringe benefit costs
- Index the volatility cap to the growth in personal income and reduce the term of bonds with covenants to five years. Require a three-fifths vote to rebase volatility cap
- Continue car tax cap at 45 mills and update the assessment year
- Accelerate the transfer of “new car” sales tax revenue from the General Fund to the Special Transportation Fund resulting in an additional $29 million to the STF in FY 19.
- $5 million for emergency placement for DDS patients
- $9.5 million for cost of living increases for private providers
- An additional $12.5 million to support VoAg students
- $1 million for dairy farmers
Republicans were successful in including some provisions for long-term structural changes, such as allowing for volunteerism at the local level to ease burdens on towns and cities, and hiring a consultant to come up with $500 million in savings for Connecticut, and successfully blocked a proposal that would have cut funding for military funerals.
Most importantly, the budget contains a provision prohibiting the governor from holding back funding from municipalities mid-year.
The 2018 legislative session, which is referred to as a short session began on February 7, and its primary focus was to deal with all issues tied to the state. The 2018 legislative session came to a close at midnight on May 9, 2018.