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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Sen. Osten Votes for Balanced State Budget That Investments in People, Jobs and Communities

HARTFORD – State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) this evening joined with her Democratic Senate colleagues in passing a 2020-2021 state budget that supports working families, students and seniors while remaining fiscally responsible, paying pension obligations, and growing Connecticut’s Rainy Day Fund to an impressive $2.6 billion.

The budget passed the Senate on a 20-16 vote and now heads to Governor Lamont for his signature into law.

The budget is balanced, includes no income or sales tax hikes, and keeps non-fixed state spending increases to a minuscule 0.3% in the first year of the budget.

“This is a balanced budget that protects the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, constrains state spending to a large degree, and provides a real path forward to addressing our long-term liabilities,” said Sen. Osten, who as Senate Chair of the Appropriations Committee was intricately involved in crafting the biennial state budget.

The biennial state budget highlights include:

Supporting Connecticut Families

  • Includes funding to implement an increase in the minimum wage
  • Funds a Paid Family Medical Leave program

Monumental Positive Changes for Higher Education

  • Establishes debt-free community college for all Connecticut residents
  • Increases funding for UConn by $9.7 million in 2020 and $20.6 million in 2021

Safeguarding Seniors

  • Increases funding for nursing home workers that care for our seniors and avoids a statewide strike of workers ($11 million more in 2020 and $18.5 million more in 2021)
  • Provides funding for the Center for Medicare Advocacy ($300,000 in each year)
  • Increases funding for Meals on Wheels ($475,000 in each year)

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Over $2.6 billion in the “Rainy Day” fund
  • Only 1.7% growth in state spending in 2020 and 3.4% in 2021
  • Only 0.3% growth in non-fixed cost state spending in 2020 and 2.1% in 2021
  • 1,000 fewer Connecticut state employee positions
  • Budget is under the constitutional spending cap, the bonding cap, the expenditure cap and the volatility cap.

Invests in Job Creation and Workforce Development

  • Jobs Funnel Programs (Over $1 million each year)
  • Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative ($2 million each year)
  • Healthcare Apprenticeship Initiative ($500,000 each year)
  • Connecticut’s Youth Employment Program ($5 million each year)
  • Cradle to Career ($100,000 each year)
  • Pilot Re-Entry Program ($800,000 each year)
  • Veteran Machinists Training ($250,000 each year)

Holding the Line on Taxes

  • No increase in the sales tax rate, though the current sales tax is modernized to cover digital downloads, dry-cleaning, parking, and interior design
  • No increase in the income tax rate
  • No increase in the capital gains tax rate
  • Cuts income taxes for seniors on Social Security and pensions
  • Eliminates the business entity tax to help new companies start-up and remove a nuisance tax on all businesses

Funding Our Pensions and Paying Down Our Debt

  • Over $1.5 billion goes toward paying down last generation’s unfunded pensions
  • Only $229 million or 13% is for current employees in 2020 and $220 million in 2021
  • Funds 100% of pensions and benefits for current state employees and teachers

Other Investments

  • Fully funds Passport to the Parks program
  • Includes funding for Juvenile Justice ($11.7 Million in FY 20 and $10.2 Million in FY 21)
  • Funds services for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities including employment and day services for new high school graduates ($6.3 Million in FY 20 and $14.6 Million in FY 21) as well as individuals aging out of the Department of Children and Families and residential schools ($3 Million in FY 20 and $5.7 Million in FY 21)
  • Preserves funding for mental health and substance abuse grants ($1.6 Million in each year)
  • Provides funding for caseload growth in the Birth to Three program ($1.4 Million in FY 20 and $2 Million in FY 21)
  • Includes funding for a new State Trooper Class in FY 20
  • Provides funding to staff Welcome Centers and restore the hours of operation at the Rest Areas on our highways
  • Provides $500,000 each year in new funding for the Connecticut Diaper Bank
  • Funds the Foreclosure Mediation Program $1.8 Million in FY 20 and $2 Million in FY 21.

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