HARTFORD – State Representative Adam Dunsby (R-135) 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. This plan would have put a portion of surplus revenue into the underfunded teachers and state workers’ pension plans. Instead this money will go into the rainy day fund, where it could be spent by a future legislature.
Rep Dunsby emphasized the budget adjustments fulfill several of his key priorities for the session, including the protection of ECS funding, 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. A one-time revenue increase of about $1 billion, mostly from the required repatriation of offshore investment company profits, allowed legislators more flexibility than expected.
“This budget adjustment plan was able maintain services and municipal aid without raising taxes because of one-time revenue gains,” said Rep Dunsby. “However, these revenue gains are temporary, and it is as important as ever that we implement pro-growth policies and restrain spending.”
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.
“We still have a lot of goals to accomplish in future session, but I am proud of the way my caucus took the initiative to lead even though we are in the minority,” said Rep. Dunsby.