After an extended budget process, I want to share with you the latest from the State Capitol. The bipartisan cooperation Connecticut residents demanded from legislators is evident in our final budget product, but there is still work to be done. The steps we took this year make some structural changes to encourage economic growth and keep our state a great place to live, work and raise a family.
I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Our future is stronger when we work together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need assistance or information. It is my pleasure and honor to serve as your state representative.
Having a highly skilled workforce is critical to attracting new businesses, keeping the high-performing companies we have, and connecting our residents with good paying, quality jobs. That’s why we created a landmark initiative within the Department of Labor that will strengthen existing workforce development programs and implement new job training opportunities using a mix of public and private funds. In addition, we are moving the vo-tech schools out from under the State Department of Education so they are able to be more responsive to job market changes. We are also requiring our state’s colleges and universities develop a plan to offer an online mechatronics course, which is a growing field with the manufacturing industry. These efforts will help us rebuild a stronger middle class in Connecticut. (PA 17-207, PA 17-237, PA 17-242)
Historic Structural Changes
The bipartisan budget includes numerous important long-term structural changes that provide more predictability going forward, and will help reduce long-term debt including a true spending cap and a cap on the state’s credit card (a bonding cap). Both of these structural changes to how Connecticut budgets will improve our credit rating on Wall Street and ensure the state lives within its means. These policy changes will shape the state’s future and put Connecticut on a healthier financial footing. (PA 17-2)
Making Good on Contractual Obligations
Much of the state’s current financial issues stem from past administrations and General Assemblies not honoring contractual pension obligations. For decades, these obligations were ignored, now current legislators are left to right the ship. Our latest approved state budget not only pays our current share of these contractual obligations, but pays the debt service on the obligations of years past.
Support for Manufacturers
Connecticut’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund supports the growth, innovation and progress of our advanced manufacturing sector. By encouraging collaboration with universities, assistance with business development and technical needs, job training, educational programs, and matching funds to leverage federal grants, the Manufacturing Innovation Fund is an investment that will pay off in job growth. (PA 17-2)
Elderly Renters’ Rebate Protected
Funding for the Elderly Renters’ Rebate program was one of my priorities during the budget debate. With passage of a series of minor and technical tweaks to the bipartisan budget, we have successfully resolved issues with the Elderly Renters’ Rebate program. This program provides much needed support to elderly and disabled residents who have little income. Renters must apply locally with town hall, and then applications are approved by the state.