HARTFORD – State Representative Richard Smith (R-108) 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.
Rep. Smith emphasized the budget adjustments fulfill several of his key priorities for the session, including the protection of ECS funding for Monroe & Newtown, 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.
“With Connecticut stuck in this ongoing fiscal crisis, it is critical we support our seniors and students, which is why Republicans led the push to restore cuts made to MSP and preserving ECS funding,” said Rep. Smith. “This budget was a compromise with the majority party, so it does not do everything I would have liked. However, our state needs to have a balanced budget in place and we need to continue the progress made in the historic budget we passed last year.”
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.
“The budget we passed last year showed the progress Republicans can make in Hartford given more power, and this year our goal was to build on those achievements and keep the state moving in the right direction – even while working in the minority,” said Rep. Smith. “These are all encouraging developments for families and business in our state. I am eager to continue working in the coming months to finally open our state for business again.”
The new budget adjustments go into effect at the beginning of FY 2019 on July 1.