HARTFORD – State Representative Tami Zawistowski (R-61) voted in favor of a compromise state budget agreement on the last day of the legislative session, Wednesday, May 9th. The budget was reached through negotiations by legislative leaders using significant portions of the proposal announced by House and Senate Republicans in April.
The agreement avoids new taxes and launches no new costly government services. It prohibits holdbacks to education funding and municipal funding, restores the Medicare Savings Program and provides additional funding for retired teachers’ healthcare. The budget also respects the revenue volatility cap instituted in 2017 and will deposit the influx of unexpected one-time revenue collected this year into the rainy day fund.
“This budget is a band-aid for the 2019 fiscal year,” said Rep. Zawistowski. “We made some important headway in this compromise agreement and abided by the caps put in place last year. However, I believe the proposal put forward by the Republicans in April would have set a better path by paying down unfunded pension liabilities for state employees and teachers. While this shorter term agreement will still protect our schools, seniors and towns for the next fiscal year, we must continue to work on long term changes.”
The agreement also begins the implementation of some of the recommendations from the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. As recommended by the commission, it requires a study of pro-growth tax rebalancing to produce a report for the legislature by December 2019. The deal also requires the hiring of outside financial consultants to identify $500 million in savings from general fund expenditures to be acted on by January 2019. Also, it requires a study of reforms to the Teacher Retirement System to pay down unfunded liability.