Posted on May 10, 2018 by jdooley
HARTFORD –State Reps. Michael Ferguson (R-138) & Richard Smith (R-108) applauded final passage of a bi-partisan state budget agreement, noting that it fully restores Medicare Saving Plan funds that were cut, add money for teachers’ healthcare and provides more money to the Special Transportation Fund without raising taxes or bringing tolls back to state highways.
“While this budget doesn’t include everything we proposed last week, it does contain the basic budget framework and doesn’t raise any taxes while keeping all of the structural reforms, like the spending cap and cap on state borrowing,” said Rep. Ferguson.
“My goal for these budget adjustments was to preserve the progress we made on the state budget last year, ensure stability for municipalities and school districts, and resist the governor’s calls for revenue increases. This plan largely accomplishes both goals,” said Rep. Smith. “Protecting funding for local education and the MSP were of paramount importance.”
The budget adjustment does not contain any tax increases and blocks the planned fare increases on buses and trains that are scheduled for July 1. The plan will also provide $29 million more to the Special Transportation Fund for road projects, and maintains ECS funding for our schools.
“The good news is the issue of tolls is dead for the year. The people of the 138th District spoke loud and abundantly against tolls as yet another way to take money out of their wallets. Over and over again residents use one word when talking about staying in Connecticut, ‘affordability’, that word has stuck with me as I vote each day, working to find a way to make CT affordable for everyone,” said Rep. Ferguson.
“I would have liked to have seen more of an effort to pay down our unfunded liabilities and make more structural reforms to state government, but that wasn’t in the cards with a Democratic majority,” said Rep. Smith. “In spite of the odds, however, this plan is a good development for families and businesses in Connecticut. We are another step closer to making Connecticut more affordable and friendlier to taxpayers.”
The plan also includes:
- Restores $130 million in funding to the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) for senior citizens and the disabled
- Funds the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund
- Restores funding for the HUSKY ‘A’ Medicaid program for about 13,500 low-income parents who are “working poor”
- Contains a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million
- All Municipal Aid, Education Cost Sharing, Town Aid Road, Regional Fire Training Schools, the CT Firefighters Cancer Fund will all remain whole and untouched for 2019
In addition the budget deal features:
- $5 million for emergency placement for DDS patients
- $9.5 million for coast of living increases for private providers
- An additional $12.5 million to support VoAg students
- $1 million for dairy farmers
- Restores funding for military funerals
An important victory for our cities and towns, both Reps. Smith and Ferguson were able to secure 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.