Posted on September 21, 2017 by Greg MacKinnon
After nearly 9 months of researching, calculating, debating, and finally negotiating, the GOP budget prevailed and therefore has been officially adopted, in a bipartisan manner, by both the Connecticut HOUSE AND SENATE!
A very special thank you to those courageous Democrats who joined us tonight by passing a historic budget for the citizens of our beloved state. I am so grateful to everyone who sent texts, made calls, and created social media posts in order to spread the word over these past two very intense days. This has undoubtedly been an experience that I will never forget. The fight isn’t over, however, but please know what an immense honor it is to be fighting for you and your family.
Now, let’s get our Governor to sign this budget before October 1st.
Please call & tell him to SIGN it!
Phone (860) 566-4840
Toll-Free: (800) 406-1527
TDD: (860) 524-7397
FY 2018/2019 Budget Summary:
Increases Education Funding
Increases education funding and includes a new ECS formula to fairly distribute aid as well as a council to analyze and make any necessary changes to the new formula within the next year.
New Education Cost Sharing Formula
Creates council to analyze education funding to make recommendations for the General Assembly to enact changes to the funding formula presented below if they so choose. Increased funding to towns as outlined below will be effective immediately upon passage. If another formula is not developed by the council within a year the following new formula will go into effect for future years.
o Fully functioning formula that factors in current enrollment
o Contains foundation grant of $9,638 based on academic research on the cost of educating a child in CT
o Provides a weight of 30% for students that receive free and reduced priced lunch. Contains an additional weight of 5% for those communities that have more than 75% of its population eligible for free and reduced priced lunch
o Provides a weight of 15% for English language learners
o Provides an additional 3%-6% for communities that have a Public Investment Community Index (PIC) over 300 which costs $9.4 million (For the top 5 towns, we provide an additional 6%, for the next 5 towns, we provide an additional 5%, for the following 5 towns, we provide an additional 4%, and for the last 4, we provide an additional 3% ).The PIC index measures the relative wealth and need of Connecticut town’s by ranking them in descending order by their cumulative point allocations for (a) per capita income, (b) adjusted equalized net grand list per capita, (c) equalized mill rate, (d) per capita aid to children receiving Temporary Family Assistance benefits, (e) unemployment rate
o The proposal weights net equalized grand list at 70% and median household income at 30%
o When the proposed ECS formula is fully implemented, the state will be spending $678.7 million more on ECS
o This proposal recommends flat funding municipalities that would have received a reduction in ECS funding as a result of the formula (primary driver, enrollment declines) in FY 2018. It then would phase in reductions to municipalities over a 10 year period beginning in FY 2019.
o For a municipality that is due to receive an increase due to the formula, this proposal recommends phasing in the increase over a 10 year period beginning in FY 2018 with towns seeing 5% of their new full funding under the formula in FY 2018 and 15% of their full funding in FY 2019. Thereafter towns would receive 10% increases annually until 2028 at which point they would be fully funded under the new formula.
o The budget provides an increase of funding of $33.6 million in FY 2018 and $136.6 million in FY 2019
• Similar to the Governor, this proposal seeks to transfer the portion of the ECS grant that is attributed to special education (approximately 22%) and combines the $447 million with the current excess cost account and an additional $10 million creating a combined pool of $597.6 million
• The distribution of these funds will range from 2.5% to 52% and will be distributed based on the equalized net grand list of municipalities similar to the Governor
• Unlike excess cost, the distribution of these monies will be based on previous years’ expenditures rather than a town waiting until the expenditure of a child hits 4.5 times of their per pupil
Municipal Support and Mandate Relief
Flat funds or increases funding for all municipalities over the biennium, stabilizes municipal aid and does not ask towns and cities to pay for teacher retirement costs. Also, includes significant municipal mandate relief.
• Exempts all Social Security as of January 1, 2017 for single income tax filers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) below $75,000 and for joint filers with an AGI below $100,000.
• Phases out the tax on pension income for tax filers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) below $75,000 and for joint filers with an AGI below $100,000 beginning in 2019.
• Phases in federal exemption of estate tax as governor does
• Lowers lifetime cap on gift and estate tax beginning in 2020 as governor does
Changes to Other Tax Proposals
• Does not raise or expand the sales tax
• Does not have a restaurant tax
• Does not increase cigarette tax, hotel tax or tax on digital downloads
• Does not tax nonprescription drugs
• Rejects proposed pistol permit fee increase
• Restores the $200 property tax credit for ALL qualifying families and individuals. (approximately 874,000 middle class and working poor families).
Funds Core Social Services
Restores funding for core social services and programs that benefit people most in need. Fully funds day and employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, reopens Care4Kids, etc.
Prioritizes the state’s transportation needs and stabilizes funding without tolls or new taxes. Implements the Republican Prioritize Progress transportation funding plan and stabilizes the state’s Special Transportation Plan.
Lowers taxes for retirees by eliminating tax on social security for middle class families and phases out pension income tax for those with incomes below a specified threshold. Helps seniors age in place by restoring and increasing funding for core programs and supports such as Meals on Wheels, the personal needs allowance, non ADA dial a ride, and the CT Home Care Program.
Funds State Parks & Tourism
Enhances funding for state parks/tourism without raising taxes by implementing a new Passport to Parks program and dedicating a portion of the current hotel occupancy tax to a new Marketing, Culture & Tourism account.
Reduces Size of Government
Implements 10% reductions to certain agency accounts, overtime savings of 10%, a hiring freeze on non-24-hour non-union positions, and makes cuts to the legislature such as reducing the number of legislative committees.
Includes Structural Changes
Changes include a spending cap, bonding cap, municipal mandate relief, and other long term savings. Implements pension reform beginning in 2027 after the recently approved SEBAC contract ends. Recommends rolling forward the FY 2017 holdbacks except for core services that this budget seeks to protect such as grants for mental health and substance abuse, early childhood programs for low income citizens, and youth service bureau funding. Implements 10% reductions to certain agency accounts.
Flat funds or increases funding for all municipalities over the biennium. Does not require municipalities to assume any costs associated with teachers’ retirement. Recommends mandate relief to help towns manage their budgets and identify savings for local taxpayers. Preserves or increases Education Cost Sharing base grants to municipalities (detailed below). Recommends eliminating the general revenue sharing and car tax portions of the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account (0.5% of the sales tax going to municipalities).
• Implements “Prioritize Progress” to provide $62 billion to transportation over 30 years without new taxes or tolls.
• Does not sweep any funding from the Special Transportation Fund.
• Contains multiple policy changes to make the Special Transportation Fund solvent and prevent it from entering deficiency. Will move transportation related revenue into the STF to make solvent through 2022 and beyond.
Restores funding for veterans’ headstones and burial expenses.
• Does not allow municipalities to tax local hospitals and preserves the small hospital pool
• Accept the hospital settlement agreed to by the Connecticut Hospital Association
• Phases out the hospital tax over time beginning in FY 2020.
• Increase Medicaid rates which protects hospitals from changes on the federal level