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Srinivasan Says the Budget Looks “Worse than Swiss Cheese”

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HARTFORDState Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) followed his opposing budget vote at the end of October with another “no” vote today against technical changes to the current approved plan. He says that the changes, which ultimately passed with a vote of 123-12, did not make the budget more fiscally responsible for the State of Connecticut.

“Hopefully, the budget process is all done and behind us now,” said Rep. Srinivasan, “but I am very concerned that state revenue estimates are not coming in as expected. We are already seeing a budget shortfall of $178 million. I am not convinced that we will even make it through the holiday season before we have to come back to the Capitol to mitigate this deficit.”

“In terms of the hospital tax, my concern is this: here we are amending legislation on the premise that it will be in compliance with the federal government, and that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will reimburse us accordingly,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “Yet if they do not find us to be in compliance, we are essentially adding a tax to hospitals. That leaves a great deal of uncertainty as to what happens next – will we have to come back to the table to make further negotiations? Furthermore, the social security exemption effective date for our senior citizens has been pushed back from January 2018 to January 2019 – this is unacceptable. In this sense, nothing has changed between the budget I voted against last month and these new ‘changes.’”

“The renters rebate, on the other hand, is a great idea that I can support,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “However, with the way it is now written, towns and cities will be getting $8.5 million less in aid than before. How are municipalities going to make up for being so shortchanged? On top of this, towns will get even less money because of the drawback on other sources of revenue, like ECS and Pequot funding, because the Legislative Office of Policy and Management will be using those funds for the renters rebate. Make no mistake, Connecticut is not yet freed from our financial imbalance.”