HARTFORD – State Representative Richard Smith (R-108) on Wednesday praised the passage of a budget adjustment plan for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget plan, which passed on a bipartisan vote before the end of the 2018 session, is the result of negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to make adjustments to the budget passed last October.
The Republican budget plan was called for a vote earlier in the day, but was defeated.
Rep. Smith emphasized the budget adjustments fulfill several of his key priorities for the session, including the protection of ECS funding for Monroe & Newtown, fully funding the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) for seniors, adding money to teachers’ healthcare accounts, and increasing funding to the Special Transportation Fund. The budget adjustments do not contain any tax increases, a critical requirement Republicans insisted on.
“My goal for these budget adjustments was to preserve the progress we made on the state budget last year, ensure stability for municipalities and school districts, and resist the governor’s calls for revenue increases. This plan largely accomplishes both goals,” said Rep. Smith. “Protecting funding for local education and the MSP were of paramount importance.”
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.
Republicans were able to negotiate several provisions from their original budget proposal into the final legislation, including a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million.
Among the provisions in the compromise budget are:
- $5 million for emergency placement for Department of Developmental Services patients
- Reduce Energy Efficiency Fund sweeps by $10 million
- $9.5 million for cost of living increases for private providers
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. 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.
“I would have liked to have seen more of an effort to pay down our unfunded liabilities and make more structural reforms to state government, but that wasn’t in the cards with a Democratic majority,” said Rep. Smith. “In spite of the odds, however, this plan is a good development for families and businesses in Connecticut. We are another step closer to making Connecticut more affordable and friendlier to taxpayers.”
The new budget adjustments go into effect at the beginning of FY 2019 on July 1.