House Republicans Offer Plan to Balance FY25 Budget

Posted on April 25, 2024


HARTFORD — House Republicans during a Thursday news conference at the state capitol released a plan to balance the second year of the state budget, keeping a promise to Connecticut residents by honoring the fiscal guardrails, focusing on affordability, pursuing structural spending reforms, and increasing funding for local education to help prevent more pressure on local property taxpayers.

House Republicans, led by Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford), began developing their plan to balance the budget after the Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee decided against adjusting the $25.9 billion budget for FY25, which becomes effective July 1. Inaction would leave the budget out of balance and vulnerable to discretionary decisions from the Governor, who would have authority to make changes outside of the legislative session.

“The budget is out of balance and $30 million over the spending cap at the start of the fiscal year, but rather than tackling this problem head-on, Democrats would simply spend federal money, outside of the budget, on their priorities such as giving more money to state colleges and universities. Not only is that an abdication of our constitutional obligation to balance the budget, it’s also a path right back to the irresponsible fiscal practices that dogged Connecticut for years,” Candelora said. “We’ve offered a plan that is $43 million under the spending cap and refocuses resources on our most critical needs, such as preventing local property taxpayers from experiencing more pain by ensuring that towns have the full special education funding that we promised them and more money to run early voting this November.”

While legislative Democrats prioritize the state’s higher education system, House Republicans are directing their focus toward supporting children at the beginning of their educational journey. Republicans propose $236 million more for local education funding, including an additional $79 million more for surging special education costs. By providing an additional $12 million to increase reimbursement rates ($120 per hour to $167) to Birth to Three child services providers, Republicans will unlock more federal funding to help with staffing shortages. Responding to the state’s childcare crunch, Republicans matched the $12 million increase proposed by Gov. Lamont for the Care4Kids program.

The House Republican plan doesn’t tap remaining federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, leaving at least $200 million available for acute needs such as funding for nonprofit service social providers, shoring up the state’s unemployment compensation fund, additional childcare investments, or higher education. The House Republican budget adjustments have been vetted by the state’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

“Many working families are struggling to make ends meet while costs have skyrocketed. We owe it to residents to look for ways to responsibly reduce government spending to ease the tax burden and provide financial relief. The majority failed to put forward a budget adjustment, so my colleagues and I took on that task on behalf of residents,” said Rep. Tammy Nuccio (R-Tolland), House Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee. “We took a hard look at where the state could slim down and have developed a plan that will increase the state’s portion of education funding and reduce local property tax burdens, honor the fiscal guardrails and maintain the promise we made to all residents—to serve as good stewards of their tax dollars.” 

In their plan to shift budget priorities toward core commitments to residents, House Republicans also propose to:

  • Keep a scheduled $42m deposit to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund that Democrats would forgo
  • Allocate increase to Medicaid rates to behavioral health providers, mental health services for kids ($7m)
  • Address surging price of goods, groceries, and services by eliminating Democrats’ truck tax
  • Increases funding to municipalities to implement early voting ($3.6m)
  • Deliver improved ambulance provider Medicaid rates Governor proposed to cut ($5m)
  • Reinstates a portion of PILOT funding for municipalities ($16.3m)
  • Provide CT Foodshare allocation (H.B. 5011) ($2m)
  • Supply $1 million allocation for homeless shelter needs

“As our surplus shrinks and our state’s financial picture changes, it’s critical that we live within the means Connecticut taxpayers can afford,” Candelora said. “The fiscal guardrails should force all of us to reprioritize how we spend money. Republicans have accepted that reality. While that undoubtedly forces difficult decisions today, following through on our responsibility to adjust the budget now will help prevent more grief for taxpayers in the future if the state’s finances nosedive, leaving recently enacted tax relief or even ECS funds vulnerable to cuts by the Governor.”

House Republicans fund priority initiatives by continuing their push for structural changes in the budget, including:

  • Maintaining, rather than increasing, Husky C healthcare eligibility requirements ($8.5m savings)
  • Budget for state employee vacancies according to current hiring patterns (an additional $26m savings)
  • Eliminating “free” healthcare for undocumented immigrants ($45m savings)
  • Changes policy on enhanced inmate communications; require them to pay portion of cost of calls ($10m savings)

[Download Our Plan Here]