State Budget ApprovedOctober 27, 2017
The House of Representatives Thursday passed a new state budget that sets Connecticut on a forward path. The bipartisan effort invests in the economy, protects important services, limits cuts to local school districts and higher education, makes structural changes, helps homeowners with lead abatement and crumbling concrete foundations – and does not increase the income tax or sales tax. My colleagues and I in the House approved the budget 126 to 23 after the Senate voted 33 to 3 on Wednesday.
Here are some of the highlights of this agreement:
- Funding for vo-tech schools, workforce training programs, local education and higher education will help meet the needs of employers seeking trained and qualified employees
- Structural changes allowing for more predictability and flexibility with the budget include a cap on spending and bonding, and legislative approval of future state labor contracts and binding arbitration awards
- Proceeds from the motor vehicle sales tax will be allocated to the Special Transportation Fund
- Relief from some mandates will result in savings for cities and towns
- Avoids massive cuts in education that were included in previous budget proposals, and protects vital social service programs
- Seniors and retirees get a break as Social Security benefits and pension income will no longer be subject to the state income tax
- Encouraging cities and towns to pool their resources through regionalization will result in efficiencies and savings for local taxpayers
- The $200 property tax credit for seniors and residents with dependents is preserved
- The teachers’ pension fund is addressed with a 1% contribution increase – which is much less than the Governor’s plan to shift $400 million in pension funding to cities and towns – and less than the Republican plan to increase contributions by 2%.
The budget agreement was achieved after many long hours of negotiations between leaders on both sides of aisle. I hope this is the beginning of a true bipartisan spirit in state government.