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’s respite care programs

To view more details and analysis of the Democratic budget, please visit: https://cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2022&bill_num=5506

Senator Haskell, Rep. Berger-Girvalo Announce Additional Bethel, Ridgefield Traffic Signal Upgrades In 2023


State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) and State Representative Aimee Berger-Girvalo (D-Ridgefield) announced today that in addition to seven intersection upgrades in Bethel, Redding and Ridgefield announced earlier this week, two more intersections – one each in Bethel and Ridgefield – will receive upgrades in 2023. These intersections will see new countdown pedestrian indications, accessible pedestrian pushbuttons and concurrent pedestrian phasing, part of 25 announced improvements in 20 towns across the state.

The work, slated for the second half of 2023, will improve accessibility and pedestrian safety in high-traffic parts of Connecticut. The Department of Transportation has now announced 65 intersection improvements slated for next year.

"Traveling across our district by car and foot reveals how frustrating, and sometimes dangerous, local traffic can be, especially for pedestrians," said Sen. Haskell. "By improving the resources available for pedestrians at intersections, including upgraded countdowns, pushbuttons and pedestrian phasing, folks will be safer when they're crossing the road. These investments in traffic mitigation will make sure my constituents can get from point A to point B without issue."

"Across the state we’ve seen an increase in accidents involving pedestrians and distracted drivers," said Rep. Berger-Girvalo. "Any measure that addresses these tragedies and reduced the chance of them happening here in Ridgefield is needed and welcomed. I’m so pleased to see the implementation of some of the crossing projects for which our residents have advocated, and I’m looking forward to seeing future improvements with a goal to increase pedestrian safety."

The intersections in question receiving upgrades include:

  • Bethel – Route 53 (Grassy Plain Street) at Francis J. Clarke Circle
  • Ridgefield – Route 7 (Ethan Allen Highway) at Topstone Road and Cains Hill Road

The designs for the project are currently expected to be complete in June 2023, with construction advertised in August of that year.

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