Cite Medicare Savings, Teacher Pensions, Transportation Funding
HARTFORD – State Representatives John Piscopo (R-76) and David Wilson (R-66) voted in support of a compromise budget, noting that it fully restores Medicare Savings Plan funds that were cut, adds money for teachers’ healthcare and provides more money to the Special Transportation Fund without raising taxes.
The final budget plan that passed by a vote of 142-8 on the final day of the legislative session, is the result of lengthy negotiations with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. The budget adjustment does not contain any tax increases, a critical requirement that Republicans insisted on.
“This budget adjustment ensures that those most in need, including seniors and the disabled, continue to receive critical resources with through the Medicare Savings Plan funding without increasing taxes on Connecticut residents. It also funds the Retired Teacher’s Healthcare, emergency placements for the developmentally disabled, and fire training schools. While this compromise does not address all of the issues Connecticut faces, it is a step in the right direction,’’ Piscopo said.
“This budget adjustment was necessary in order to address the $384 million FY’18 deficit that Connecticut was facing. It is indeed a compromise, as neither side of the aisle came away ecstatic about the document. However, it was essential in order to address the shortfall and to ensure that critical programs and core government functions remain funded. We fully restored the Medicare Savings Plan, and we’ve addressed the governor’s holdbacks on municipal aid and educational funding. In addition, we’ve secured funding to ensure that our veterans continue to receive quality care at our state Veterans’ Home, and military honor guard final honors, for their selfless sacrifice to our country,” said Wilson.
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.
Republicans were able to negotiate numerous provisions from their budget plan into the final legislation, including a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million.
In addition the deal features:
$16 million in additional funding for Retired Teachers’ Healthcare to bring the state’s portion of funding to 33%
$5 million for emergency placement for DDS patients
$9.5 million for coast of living increases for private providers
$1.8 million for Old Age Assistance
$1.4 million for Aid to Disabled
$16.2 million for Community Colleges to cover fringe benefit costs
An additional $12.5 million to support VoAg students
$1 million for dairy farmers
Republicans also 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.
The GOP also blocked a proposal that would cut funding for military funerals.
Republicans also secured language in the legislation that would inhibit Gov. Malloy’s ability to cut funding for towns and cities as he did under his authority following the passage of the bipartisan budget last October.
The Senate approved the budget unanimously by a vote of 36-0 and was signed by Governor Malloy on Wednesday, May 16.
The 2018 legislative session came to a close at midnight on May 9.