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Rep. Srinivasan to Hold Office Hours

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GLASTOBURY – State Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) will be holding office hours at the Welles Turner Memorial Library at the end of the month to update constituents on the status of the state budget and discuss priorities for the 2018 session.

WHEN: Tuesday, January 30, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Welles Turner Memorial Library, 2407 Main Street, Glastonbury

This event is free of charge and open to the public. A sign-in sheet for 15 minute, one-on-one meetings with Rep. Srinivasan will be available upon arrival. If you have any questions, or are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. Srinivasan, please contact him at 1-800-842-1423 or Prasad.Srinivasan@housegop.ct.gov.

In the event that office hours must be postponed or cancelled, a notice will be posted on Rep. Srinivasan’s website at www.RepSrinivasan.com. Constituents can also sign up for email notifications on his website.

Srinivasan Votes to Reverse Cuts to Medicare Program

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HARTFORDState Representative Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) on Monday voted on a plan that would provide funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) through the end of the fiscal year.

MSP is a Medicaid program that helps seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare co-insurance, deductibles and premiums. Connecticut was one of five states whose income eligibility limits exceeded the federal minimum level. Legislators in adopting the budget in October reduced the eligibility to the federal minimum, consequently reducing or eliminating coverage for many of the program’s thousands of participants. The state’s Department of Social Services in December announced it would delay implementation of the eligibility reduction by two months, giving concerned program participants a reprieve from an unexpected jump in their healthcare costs as lawmakers worked to find $53 million to fund the program through June.

“The origin of the legislation that we voted on yesterday can be found in Public Act 17-2,” said Rep. Srinivasan. “I voted against this budget bill in October because of the way it balanced the state deficit on the backs of our seniors. I stood in the House Chamber and expressed my concerns, explaining why I couldn’t support it. As we all know, my worries unfortunately became reality. I supported the resolution yesterday because it was the right thing to do at this time. I am, however, concerned about what will happen going forward. I am afraid that the 2018 deficit will again be settled at the expense of Connecticut’s senior citizens and their health. This is a temporary resolution that extends current Medicare coverage through July – we need a long-term solution that will save the nearly 450 Glastonbury citizens who rely on this program from making very difficult decisions regarding the basic quality of life services they need.”

The MSP plan was approved in the House by a vote of 130 to 3. Among the methods used to restore program funding is a requirement that Gov. Malloy reduce the number of managers and consultants—a provision included in the adopted budget ignored by the governor. Other components include moving human resources-related functions of some state agencies into the state’s Department of Administrative Services, and requiring the governor to find savings in Executive Branch functions while limiting his ability to cut more than 10 percent from any one program.

The Senate approved the plan 32 to 1 in a vote later in the day.

The 2018 legislative session—a so-called short session—starts Feb. 7 and will see lawmakers focus primarily on issues tied to budgetary issues. Rep. Srinivasan will be holding Office Hours on January 30th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Wells Turner Library in Glastonbury. A sign-up sheet will be available upon arrival for one-on-one time with Rep. Srinivasan.

“I wish all of my constituents a happy, healthy and prosperous new year and look forward to my upcoming office hours to have an opportunity to discuss issues concerning both our town and our state,” said Rep. Srinivasan.

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.”