Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This was a session dominated by the budget. Although there were no easy solutions, we approved a budget that is balanced, without tax or fee increases, without borrowing, and without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund – that cuts $830 million.

Improving public health, increasing public safety, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements of some of the major bills approved by the legislature this year. 

Keeping Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family is our ongoing responsibility, and though the 2016 legislative session presented one of the toughest budget challenges in decades, we succeeded to help move our state forward. 

Sincerely,


Budget

There are no smoke and mirrors with this budget – it is a budget that cuts spending by $830 million.

Almost every line item in this budget is impacted.  It cuts spending:

  • Without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund
  • Without borrowing
  • Without tax increases

We made structural changes that reduce long-term obligations and create a more sustainable budget over time including:

  • Non-union state employee wage freeze & insurance co-pay increase
  • A salary pension cap for retiring non-union state employees
  • Reducing the size of state government

We are delaying some of the Governor’s transportation initiative in order to protect legislative priorities like:

  • Hospital funding
  • School funding 
  • Property tax relief
  • Funding for state colleges and universities

Assisting Connecticut Businesses

To ensure job growth and improve Connecticut’s business climate, we passed laws that would allow first-time business owners to receive reimbursement for the initial costs associated with starting up a business, address the teacher shortage issue in the Connecticut Technical High Schools System (CTHSS), develop programs to introduce students and their parents to careers in manufacturing, and adopt the Connecticut Uniform Limited Liability Company Act to offer companies a greater level of consistency to regulate the formation and dissolution of LLC’s.


Standing Up for Veterans

We stand by our veterans. The legislature passed several measures this year to support veterans; one will facilitate veteran employment with a resource network for specialized skills in the Department of Labor and preferences in state contract bidding for veteran-owned small businesses; another broadens the scope of the law that bars discriminatory practices in our state’s armed forces; finally, we approved a resolution appealing to our nation’s leaders to recognize Blue Water Navy Veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange.


Supporting Our Seniors

Taking care of our older citizens is a priority. We passed legislation to make sure patients are notified of their rights and available services when nursing homes or long-term care facilities close or reduce the number of beds. We also required nursing homes to allow residents being discharged to pick a caregiver to help them with their discharge plan. Other legislation allows for elderly or disabled tenants of state-assisted housing to pay security deposits in installments.


Ban the Box

An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment was created to prevent employers from requiring people to disclose a criminal record when first applying for a job. On job applications, people are frequently asked to “check the box” for any arrests or convictions. Under this legislation, the box would be banned and employers would be prohibited from inquiring about a criminal record during the initial application process – but would still have the ability to inquire about criminal history during the interview process. Some employers, such as law enforcement and school districts, which are required to verify an applicant’s criminal history, would be exempt.