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Info for CT on COVID-19

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Senate Democrats Pass State Budget with Half a Billion Dollars in Tax Cuts, Investments in Child Care, Mental Health, Social Services and More

With an influx of federal aid, and with Connecticut tax revenues soaring due to a rebounding state economy, strong job growth and rising incomes, the second year of the biennial state budget was reconfigured by Democrats and Gov. Lamont to increase state spending in the coming year by 6.5% to $24.2 billion.

The budget includes historic tax cuts for Connecticut's citizens as well as major new investments in some of the human needs that were highlighted by the past two years of the deadly and disruptive COVID-19 pandemic.

The Democratic budget is still under the state-mandated spending cap, has maxed out our state Rainy Day Fund at $3.3 billion, and makes a massive, unprecedented $3.5 billion payment toward Connecticut's 70 years of built-up pension debt.

Some of the $600 million in Democratic tax cuts that will help Connecticut residents include:

  • Continuation of the 25-cent per gallon gasoline tax holiday through December 1, thereby saving Connecticut residents another $150 million.
  • Creates a new $250-per-child credit against the state income tax for low- and middle-income households, up to a maximum of $750, for single filers with earnings less than $100,000 per year and couples making less than $200,000. This saves Connecticut families $125 million.
  • A cap on the tax rate charged by cities and towns on motor vehicles will reduce car taxes by $100 million for residents in about 45% of Connecticut towns.
  • Increase the maximum property tax credit exemption from $200 to $300, saving Connecticut families $60 million per year this year and into the future.
  • Increasing the state Earned Income Tax Credit, a program created by former President Ronald Reagan and used by 186,000 Connecticut residents living in every town in the state. The increased tax deduction will save Connecticut families $49 million a year.
  • Accelerating the phase-out of taxes of certain pension and annuity income, saving Connecticut residents nearly $43 million.
  • The Democratic budget even eliminates the tax on movie theatre tickets, saving movie-goers $2.5 million this year.

On the spending side, Democrats and Gov. Lamont make major investments in the public services Connecticut residents demanded following two years of the deadly and disruptive COVID-19 pandemic: the mental health crisis impacting our children, expanded services for people with substance-use disorders, better wages for people working in our non-profits and as personal care attendants, increased funds to support survivors of domestic violence, more money for community college tuition, job-training programs, and a historic investment in child care services so parents can get back into the workplace.

Some of the hundreds of millions of new dollars that Democrats are spending on Connecticut residents include:

  • $10 million for mental health services at School-Based Health Centers
  • $30 million for increased 24/7 mobile crisis services
  • $1.4 million for no-cost training to address the hiring needs of Electric Boat
  • $72 million for private-sector non-profit pay raises
  • $23 million for personal care attendants
  • $70 million for childcare industry wage enhancements
  • $15 million to renovate and construct early childhood facilities
  • $2.5 million to combat gun violence
  • $2.8 million for survivors of domestic violence
  • $50 million for affordable housing
  • $75 million to update school air conditioning and heating systems
  • $8 million to increase access to town-run summer camps
  • $3 million for senior citizens' adult day programs and Meals on Meals
  • $4 million for Alzheimer‚Äôs respite care programs

To view more details and analysis of the Democratic budget, please visit:

Bye Welcomes Committee Passage of Bill Requiring Independent Consumer Advocate For MDC

Consumers served by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) are one step closer to having an independent advocate who will increase transparency and accountability.

Today, the General Assembly’s Planning & Development Committee passed unanimously, and with bipartisan support, House Bill 6008, “An Act Establishing an Independent Consumer Advocate for Metropolitan District of Hartford County Consumers,” which was introduced by Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) and Representatives David Baram (D-Bloomfield) and Derek Slap (D-West Hartford).

The bill requires the MDC to pay for an independent consumer advocate who will be appointed by—and report to—Connecticut’s Consumer Counsel.

“There are other MDC reforms that we need, but this bill is an important step,” Sen. Bye said. “This bill creates the position of independent consumer advocate on the MDC board, someone with public utility law and policy expertise whose sole responsibility is to the consumer. Until now, that is something that has been lacking on the MDC, and now we’ll have somebody.”

Rep. Baram hailed the bill as a way to create transparency and to provide timely information.

“Too often MDC policies are decided without advance notice or public participation,” he said. “Many MDC board members are appointed by the legislature and governor without direct accountability to member towns. An independent consumer advocate cures that deficiency by being accountable to and serving as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the public only. This is a milestone accomplishment that gives a strong voice to the MDC district towns.”

“There’s no dispute that transparency and accountability must be improved at the MDC,” said Rep. Slap. “This independent consumer advocate will help ensure the public has a voice and that is essential for monitoring rates and safeguarding our water.”

Sen. Bye and Rep. Slap, who both serve on the P&D Committee, voted today to move the bill out of committee; Rep. Baram helped negotiate the proposed legislation. The bill was referred to the Planning and Development Committee for consideration.

The bill calls for an independent consumer advocate to provide the public information in a timely manner about policies, ordinances, agenda, motions and votes, hearings, and other substantive information dealing with water and sewer management and operations of the Metropolitan District Commission so that the public and municipal officials are aware of matters impacting their towns and fellow residents.

HB 6008 has the support of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. Its Executive Director, Lori Brown, testified that, “Until now, MDC’s member towns have been inadequately informed and consulted on MDC matters that concern them. Major decisions affecting our state’s water resources controlled by MDC must include public involvement. Water planning and decisions about how it is used, sold, protected, and managed must be inclusive. MDC’s failings in the past to work with citizens about these decisions can be partly addressed by having a dedicated, independent consumer advocate in place to ensure accurate and responsive two-way communication between the MDC and the public it is mandated to serve. Passage of HB 6008 is an essential first step.”

Patricia OConnor, a member of Save Our Water and a West Hartford resident, was one of several citizen advocates who testified in favor of the bill, “An objective consumer advocate to keep member residents informed could go a long way toward restoring greater transparency and bridging the chasm of broken trust between the member towns and the MDC,” she said.

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