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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.”

Rep. Srinivasan on Whiting Forensic Division of the Connecticut Valley Hospital

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HARTFORD – The Legislative Public Health Committee held a public hearing and informational forum yesterday to receive testimony regarding the operational practices and procedures of the Department Of Mental Health & Addiction Services Whiting Forensic Division of the Connecticut Valley Hospital. Ranking Member Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R-31) spoke extensively on the issue and posed questions to testifiers.

Legislature Finally Approves Budget, Srinivasan Reaffirms Support for Previous Bipartisan Budget

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HARTFORD – The Connecticut General Assembly today passed a bipartisan budget that averts Governor Malloy’s devastating education cuts to cities and towns and installs structural municipal mandate reform that provides long-term relief sought by local leaders and taxpayers. State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) appreciates the effort of leaders from both sides of the aisle to come to this compromise, it passed 126-23 – a margin that overturns a veto by the governor, however without Rep. Srinivasan’s vote of support.

“I have had very mixed feelings on this budget,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “Anywhere and everywhere I’ve been people have consistently – as you can imagine – asked me when we will have a budget.  Anything is better than the draconian cuts under Governor Malloy’s Executive Order. Anything is better than uncertainty. However, we passed a bipartisan budget last month that should have been signed into law. That is the budget I supported and will continue to support.

“I recognize that there is a lot of good in this budget, but it does not go far enough,” Rep. Srinivasan said. “The structural changes comprising of the constitutional spending cap does not go far enough. It is long overdue and this budget addresses it marginally at best. The bonding cap, in addition, does not go far enough as we continue to kick the can down the road. Time and time again we are sweeping money into the General Fund to balance the budget. $6 million from the tobacco settlement fund is not being used for the purposes it is intended for. $64 million from the energy efficiency fund should not have been swept into the General Fund. It is the ratepayers’ money! Money sent to Hartford in excess of $86 million at the expense of our schools and education is unacceptable. We are rewarding “the failures” and punishing “success,” it should be the other way around.

“The concerns of our citizens with crumbling foundations are not adequately addressed,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “We have cut the services from those who need them the most. We must preserve our safety net. In the seven years I have been in the General Assembly so far, I’ve heard it said over and over again that the budget is a good first step, but we have reached a tipping point where the medicine the state needs is far beyond the first step. It was repeatedly said in the debate that we will be back very soon to mitigate the budget. That is very concerning. We need a budget, no question about that, but we need a meaningful and sustainable budget.”

Rep. Srinivasan: “I Am Disappointed.”

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The current fiscal year ends tomorrow, and Connecticut still does not have a budget. I am disappointed that we were not called in to the House Chambers today.

It is incredibly frustrating that our proposals have been so offhandedly rejected by the majority party, especially considering that for the first time in modern history they failed to produce a budget until this afternoon. Their statement that was released with the budget calls it a “revised” plan, but make no mistake, this is misleading given that they had no previous budget to revise. This fact is unprecedented and speaks loudly to their overall failure to fulfill the basic requirement of state government leadership.

Missing the deadline, and the increasing the chances for a prolonged budget debate, results in huge problems for our towns and cities who count on state revenue to help run local government. Those most at-risk and in-need of social services will undoubtedly be affected.

House Republicans have produced three balanced budgets without increasing taxes. We have determined how Connecticut can hold municipalities harmless, restore education funding, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and help Connecticut move through this fiscal crisis. Our most recent plan accomplishes the following provisions:

• Phases in exemptions/reductions on taxes on Social Security and pension income, and the estate gift tax
• Places a hard cap on bond issuance at $1.3 billion per year
• Maintains current Education Cost Sharing disbursements to towns, and adds an additional $20 million for education spending
• Implements a state government hiring freeze
• Increases our focus on fraud prevention and recovery

Our vision for the state is to control spending, impose structural changes that result in significant savings to guard against future deficits, and get a handle on exploding pension and healthcare costs. These are all core elements of our budget proposals, which I was ready to vote on today. Our budget deserves to be called. We do Connecticut residents no favors by circumventing the tough decisions like this. Rest assured I will do what I can to make sure that these important decisions are acknowledged and our critical work is done. We, House Republicans, have been doing our jobs, have a full budget and are ready to lead.

Connecticut will be run temporarily on a Continuing Resolution, which continues providing funding at a rate based on the previous year’s budget, until July 18th – when we have been called into a special session to vote on the new budget, as the majority party is not ready today, tomorrow, and apparently does not anticipate being ready, to vote on their budget for approximately 20 days. It is unfortunate that they do not feel as confident in their plan as we do in ours.

It is the darkest before dawn. The new era of leadership with a bold vision and ready to make the tough decisions is around the corner.

For more information and documents on our latest and past budgets, please visit www.cthousegop.ct.gov/budget. I will do my best to keep you updated.

Rep. Srinivasan represents the 31st district of Glastonbury.

Rep. Srinivasan Looks to Clarify Authorities on Bill that Gives Medical Administration Rights

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HARTFORD – As Ranking Member of the Public Health Committee, State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) co-sponsored H.B. 6025 to allow medical assistants to administer vaccines under supervision, and to study the prescribing authority of naturalistic practitioners. The bill was not approved by the Senate, however, and therefore will likely not be passed this year.