I am pleased to share with you this update on the recently concluded legislative session. We worked to pass bipartisan legislation that improves the lives of working families, encourages economic growth, and makes critical investments in our state’s future.
We crafted a two-year budget that is fiscally responsible and takes care of Connecticut residents. Our budget protects seniors by maintaining the tax exemptions for Social Security and pension income, as well as by rejecting an asset test for the Medicare Savings Program. We also rejected the Governor’s proposal to shift teachers’ pension costs to the towns, thereby saving Meriden and Berlin property taxpayers from a local tax hike.
We also worked to ensure that our state becomes more business friendly by repealing the business entity tax, expanding the Angel Investor Tax credit, and making a new tax credit for craft breweries in order to help this industry continue to grow.
On top of this, the Rainy Day fund has soared to over $2 billion. We have also taken steps to reduce further pension liabilities. New state employees now have hybrid 401K retirement plans.
I’m proud to announce that our budget is already producing results. Our state’s bond rating has increased twice in four months. We will see lower long-term borrowing costs because credit ratings agencies have upgraded the rating on our bonds. This is a sign that Connecticut is moving in the right direction.
I hope you find this information helpful. Our future is stronger when we work together, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can ever be of help to you or your family.
Connecticut is Open for Business
The two-year budget we passed in June will have great benefits for Connecticut businesses and residents:
- We repealed the Business Entity tax starting next year. This will help small businesses and encourage start-ups.
- We expanded the Angel Investor tax credit to small businesses, minority and women-owned businesses, and more industries.
- We created a new tax credit for craft beer breweries to help grow this booming industry.
- We cut the Admissions Tax at entertainment venues in half from 10% to 5%.
- We rejected the Governor’s proposal to shift teacher pension costs to the towns, protecting Meriden and Berlin property owners from potential local tax increases.
- The phase-in of the income tax exemption for Social Security and pension income continues as planned, helping our seniors retire comfortably here in Connecticut.
- We rejected many of the Governor’s proposed sales tax expansions on items such as groceries, non-prescription drugs, legal and accounting services, and sugary beverages.
Human Services Legislation
As Chair of the Human Services Committee, I work diligently each year to ensure every community and population has services they need. This year was no different.
Last year, we had to pass a measure to prevent many people from being kicked off the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), which is a program that allows the elderly and disabled to afford medical care and prescriptions. This year, the Governor proposed an asset test, which would have significantly reduced the number of seniors eligible for this program. As a legislature, we fought this, and I am happy to say MSP is fully funded and there will be no asset test.
We also increased funding for the Meals on Wheels program to $475,000 per year. This increase allows the program to be fully functional and continue to serve the people who need it. Funding was also increased for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, which helps people gain Medicare coverage.
Lastly, I’m proud to announce that the Governor signed into law Public Act 19-49, An Act Concerning Transitional Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have been working on this bill for many years. It will lower the age at which kids with autism can receive transitional services as a part of their individual education program (IEP) from age 16 to 14. Transitional services help a child achieve his or her post-secondary goals. The IEP and subsequent services encompass courses of study, employment, and daily living skills. HB 7168; PA 19-49
Connecticut actually has many high-paying jobs open, but the complaint we hear most often from businesses is that our state’s workforce is not adequately prepared to take on 21st century jobs. So, this year, we’ve taken the following actions in order to help our residents succeed in today’s industries:
- Increased funding for the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative to
- $2 Million a year
- Increased funding for the Jobs Funnel Program to $1 Million a year
- Allocated funding for a new Green Jobs Pipeline
- Passed a law which requires schools to teach computer science, and improves opportunities for teacher training in this subject. Computer science is a foundational skill for 21st century jobs, and impacts almost every industry in the state including manufacturing, financial services, cybersecurity, health care, law, and technology. SB 957; PA 19-128
Supporting Veterans and First Responders
IN-STATE TUITION FOR MILITARY FAMILIES
Connecticut will grant in-state tuition rates to spouses and children of service members stationed in the state who may get orders to move elsewhere. Allowing in-state tuition to stay with the student helps Connecticut support our military and their families. HB 7248; PA 19-172
PTSD COVERAGE FOR POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS
This law will provide workers’ compensation benefits to police officers, parole officers, and firefighters who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing a traumatic event in the line of duty. SB 164; PA 19-17