Video update from the Capitol before the budget vote 10/25/17
The 2017 legislative session is one for the history books, with Connecticut holding the distinction of being the last state in the nation without a budget.
The budget was a compromise between House and Senate leadership from both parties in the midst of the governor’s executive order, which included sharp funding reductions for town aid, education, and core social services – facts that had local leaders and residents worried about teacher layoffs and supplemental tax bills.
The SEBAC agreement that passed in July left the legislature with few options to close a multi-billion dollar deficit. The minority could have walked away from budget negotiations after the SEBAC agreement Governor Malloy negoiated that passed the legislature along party lines. However, I believe each and every legislator had a responsibility to do everything possible towards fixing this crisis for the people who rely on us to represent them. We had to make difficult choices faced with the alternative of the governor’s executive order that was devastating important services for many residents and massive cuts for education funding for a majority of towns across the state, including Fairfield.
This compromise budget restores services and most of Fairfield’s and many municipalities education and state aid. Given that we were almost four months into the fiscal year with the governor’s intent to transfer the cost of teacher pensions to municipalities without including structural changes to Connecticut’s government; I decided this compromise budget was better than the alternative. This crisis has been years in the making, and we can’t fix it in one budget cycle. While this was a tough vote and doesn’t put our state across the finish line, it cleared some important hurdles.”
Budget highlights include:
*Enacts the constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992
*Imposes a $1.9 billion cap on bonding, $500 million less than what was bonded last year
*Protects core social services
Imposes a state employee hiring freeze
*Requires mandatory votes on union contracts by the legislature
Provides municipal mandate relief and prevailing wage reform, raising the threshold from $400,000 to $1 million
*Phases in tax reductions on pensions and social security
The budget also stopped proposals which would have raised taxes on residents including:
*No sales tax increase
*No income tax increase
*No tax on cell phones
*No restaurant tax
*No business tax increase
*No Shift of teachers pensions on to municipalities
The plan passed the Senate 33-3 Wednesday evening and by 126-23 in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The budget vote margins are enough to override a possible veto by the governor.
For a full view of the state budget go to : www.cthousegop.com/budget
I have heard loud and clear from the people of Fairfield and Southport, and the message was that you are tired of partisanship and want your government to put the state’s interests above politics and work towards rebuilding a stable and prosperous Connecticut. I’m hopeful this budget will move our state in a positive direction.
If you have any questions about the budget, please email me at Brenda.Kupchick@cga.ct.gov.
You can also check for more updates through the news aggregate site at:
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