June 4, 2019

Senator Haskell Votes For State Budget With No Tax Increase

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) joined Senate Democrats to pass a balanced two-year state budget that does not increase the income or sales tax rate, increases funding for education and reduces the size of state government. With careful cost controlling, the budget raises spending across the state by only 0.3 percent while supporting job training initiatives and local education funding. Planning for a potential recession, the Rainy Day Fund will increase to $2.6 billion under the biennial proposal.

“I voted Yea tonight because I believe it’s the balanced and forward-thinking budget Connecticut needs,” said Sen. Haskell. “It limits new spending, bolsters tax revenues and supports the students of our state. We’re honoring the commitments made by previous generations and planning for a more fiscally responsible future.”

Maintaining the Promises and Progress of the Bipartisan Budget

  • Maintains the same sales tax rate, income tax rates, and capital gains tax rate as the bipartisan budget
  • Continues cuts to income taxes for seniors on social security and pensions as promised in the bipartisan budget
  • Increases education funding as promised in the bipartisan education funding formula
  • Adheres to the spending cap, expenditure cap, bonding cap, and volatility cap from the bipartisan budget
  • Continues our commitment to fund support for the developmentally disabled, including emergency placements and employment and day services
  • Continues to bolster the Rainy Day fund which will now have over $2.6 billion as promised in the bipartisan budget

Investing in Job Creation and Workforce Development

  • Funds several job creation and workforce development programs, including:
  • 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
  • Sales tax 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

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
  • Agreement with Connecticut’s hospitals to avoid a potential $4 billion liability to the state
  • 1,000 fewer Connecticut state employee positions

Funding Our Pensions and Paying Down Our Debt

  • Over $1.7 billion toward the state’s pension costs
  • 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

Advancing Connecticut’s Top Tier K-12 Education

  • Increases funding for K-12 education by tens of millions of dollars over 2019 levels
  • $42 million education funding increase in 2020
  • $80 million education funding increase in 2021
  • Fully funds the state education formula as required under the ten year phase-in adopted by the bipartisan budget in 2017

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

Supporting Connecticut Families

  • Includes funding to support the implementation of an increase in the minimum wage
  • Funds the creation of a Paid Family Medical Leave program

Safeguarding Seniors

  • Increases funding for nursing home workers, avoiding a potentially dangerous statewide strike of workers ($11 million more in 2020 and $18.5 million more in 2021)
  • Provides funding for the Center for Medicare Advocacy ($300K in each year)
  • Increases funding for Meals on Wheels ($475K in each year)

Other Investments

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

The full balanced budget can be accessed through the General Assembly website here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2019&bill_num=7424