Cathy Osten


Cathy Osten



April 21, 2021

Democrats Unveil State Budget that Invests in Towns, Education, Nonprofits and Equity

Listening to residents affected by the pandemic, responding to racial equity concerns

HARTFORD – After enduring a year of coronavirus-related social service demands and reminders of the damaging effects of racial injustice, the Democratic co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee today unveiled a proposed biennial state budget that invests in Connecticut’s towns, schools, nonprofits and racial equity without exceeding the state spending cap or touching the $3.5 billion Rainy Day Fund.

State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and state Representative Toni Walker (D-New Haven) say the Democrats’ legislative budget proposal demonstrates the vital role that state government can and must play in the lives of its citizens when public health and safety and racial equity are on the line and the social safety net of state programs must not only be maintained, but in some cases expanded.

“We’ve spent months on this budget, listening to the people of Connecticut talk to us online and via email about what they need and value and want. They have experienced a lot over the past year, and that has informed us as to what and where we need to spend money in order to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and get Connecticut back on track for growth and prosperity over the next two years,” Sen. Osten said. “We’re in a good place. This is a budget that Connecticut residents can be very proud of, one that invests in our towns and education and our nonprofits in a way that we have ignored for far too long while also chipping away at some issues of racial injustice.”

“The biennial budget takes months of time, consideration and observation on any given budget year, but this year, we had to make sure we were doing all we could do to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled not only our state, but also our nation,” Rep. Walker said. “Connecticut residents have had to work hard and make sacrifices over the past year, but it’s because of this dedication that our state is poised for recovery. This budget addresses systemic inequities that have plagued Connecticut communities for decades by removing archaic obstacles and reinvesting in the communities we call home. Connecticut will be proud of this budget.”

The Appropriations Committee is recommending a Fiscal Year 2022 General Fund budget (beginning July 1, 2021) of $20.574 billion – an increase of $488 million, or 2.43%, over the current FY 2021 General Fund budget of $20.086 billion – and a $21.349 billion General Fund budget for FY 2023.

The committee’s total proposed biennial state budget – including the Special Transportation Fund, Banking Fund, Insurance Fund, Consumer Counsel and Public Utility Control Fund, Workers’ Compensation Fund, Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund, Regional Market Operation Fund, Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund and Tourism Fund – is $22.569 billion in FY 22 and $23.449 billion in FY 223.

Some budget highlights include:

Cities and towns:

  • Keeps the 2017 bipartisan state budget promises related to municipal Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding and maintains the current rollout of the ECS funding formula, providing an additional $108 million to cities and towns over the next two years. It also provides an additional $4.7 million in FY 22 and $9.4 million in FY 23 to school systems with higher numbers of low-income students and English Language Learner students.
  • The Municipal Revenue Sharing Account was established by Public Act 15-244 as a diversion of one-half of 1 percent of sales tax revenue primarily for three municipal grants: 1) supplemental PILOT funding to towns with high levels of tax-exempt property, 2) reimbursement to municipalities that lose revenue as a result of the car tax cap, and 3) general revenue sharing grants to towns. MRSA has never been funded but, under current law, the $377 million diversion into the account is set to take effect in FY 22.
  • Fully funds Local Health District state grants with funding of $2.7 million in both FY 22 and FY 23, an increase of 75 cents per-person in the formulaic grant.

Education, from birth to college:

  • Provides $14 million in FY 22 and $15 million in FY 23 from the estimated FY 21 surplus for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system to fully implement debt-free community college. Bills under consideration by the legislature would provide ongoing revenue from online lottery revenues for debt-free community college, with growing revenues expected from that source in the out years.
  • Provides funding of $2,078,000 in FY 22 and $1,969,100 in FY 23 to reflect the elimination of fees paid by parents or legal guardians of children receiving Birth to Three services and to expand coverage to children who turn age three on or after May 1, until the start of the school year.
  • Provides Danbury and Norwalk with $275,000 in FY 22 and $900,000 in FY 23 to establish an Open Choice pilot in Danbury and Norwalk.
  • Provides $3.7 million in both FY 22 and FY 23 to increase the state per-pupil grant for Vocational Agriculture schools by $1,000.
  • Provides charter schools with $2,950,200 in FY 22 and $2,959,550 to increase the per-pupil charter school grant from $11,250 to $11,525. The budget also provides funding for grade growth within some charter schools. It also allocates $1,260,982 in additional support for charter schools with English Language Learners (ELL). This will start a phase-in of the weights relative to ELL and poverty levels that are considered in the ECS formula. This will provide parity between traditional public schools and public charter schools.
  • Provides $250,000 each year for the Farm-to-School Grant Program implementation which assists schools in procuring food from local farmers, nutrition/health education, school gardens and education about local food systems.
  • Provides four positions and corresponding funding of $480,000 in both FY 22 and FY 23 associated with funding the newly established Dyslexia Training Compliance office within the state Department of Education.
  • Provides $110,548 in FY 22 and $114,800 in FY 23 to support one engineer intern to enhance response to drinking water issues in schools undergoing construction projects, and one environmental analyst to assist the agency in its continued administration of safe drinking water standards for public drinking water.


  • Provides $50 million in direct support from the FY 21 surplus to the non-profit providers of health and human services that contract with state agencies. In addition, the budget provides an additional $30 million in FY 22 and FY 23 to these agencies.
  • Provides $10 million in both FY 22 and FY 23 to reflect Medicaid rate increases to providers of home health (skilled and unskilled nursing) and waiver services providers. After considering the federal share, providers will receive approximately $20 million in the aggregate each year.
  • Maintains funding of $13,751,300 in FY 22 and $29,903,900 in FY 23 to support statutory rate increases for nursing homes ($11.1 million in FY 22 and $24.3 million in FY 23), intermediate care facilities ($700,000 in FY 22 and $1.5 million in FY 23), and boarding homes ($1,951,300 in FY 22 and $4,103,900 in FY 23). A portion of the increased funding for nursing homes (75%) must support staffing costs (excluding executive salaries).
  • Provides $1.6 million in both FY 22 and FY 23 to support a minimum ICF rate of $501 per diem.

Justice and Equity

  • Provides $250,000 each year to establish the state Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health within the state Office of Legislative Management.
  • Provides cost-free communications for incarcerated persons.
  • Removes the John Mason statue from State Capitol grounds and relocates it to the Old State House with an appropriate historical context. In 1637, Mason led the attack and burning of a fortified Pequot village that killed more than 400 men, women and children and nearly wiped out the tribe.
  • Project Longevity is an initiative to reduce serious violence in Connecticut’s cities; the program uses a combination of community and social services and policing to influence group dynamics. Funding carried forward from FY 21 is provided to support an increase in Project Longevity funding of $250,000 in both FY 22 and FY 23.
  • To help comply with various aspects of “An Act Concerning Police Accountability,” the budget provides funding of $69,656 in FY 22 and $72,335 in FY 23 to hire one field program assistant to audit the police training school, training records, instructor certification, and certification requirements. Provides funding of $1,341,652 in FY 22 and $1,364,673 in FY 23 to establish an Office of the Inspector General within the Division of Criminal Justice.
  • Provides $15.4 million in FY 22 and $41.5 million in FY 23 to allow for an increase in staffing for inmate medical services.
  • The Conviction Integrity Unit will re-investigate the cases of convicted persons who claim to be wrongfully convicted and will seek review outside the traditional, court-based habeas process. Provide funding of $363,382 in FY 22 and $375,425 in FY 23. This includes funding for three positions (prosecutor, police inspector, and paralegal) and $50,000 for independent consultants to advise the unit on questions involving scientific testing, methodologies, and forensic evidence collection issues.
  • EMERGE Connecticut is a nonprofit corporation committed to helping formerly incarcerated persons make a successful return to their families as responsible members, and to their communities as law-abiding, contributing citizens. Provide funding of $600,000 each year, up from $112,000 each year.
  • Provides $7 million from the FY 21 surplus for Community Investment to address initiatives focused on reducing violence and providing support for Connecticut’s cities. This includes an increase in Project Longevity funding of $250,000 in both FY 22 and FY 23, bringing their total funding to over $2.3 million for the biennium.

The Appropriations Committee budget now forms the basis for legislative branch negotiations with Governor Lamont and his executive branch budget proposal that he unveiled in February. The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end on Wednesday, June 9.