“The Governor made the right decision to sign the budget into law, thus assuring that critical funding, particularly for our schools as well as important services and programs will now be in place. Though I disagree with his line item vetoes, the legislature is committed to working with the administration on any fix necessary to ensure that taxpayers are protected and our hospitals have the resources to provide residents with quality healthcare.” - Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz
Following months of negotiations, the Connecticut Legislature overwhelmingly approving a bipartisan budget that will end our state’s budget stalemate and the fear and uncertainty that having no budget has created for our municipalities, businesses and social service providers. Today, Governor Malloy signed it into law.
This $41.3 billion two-year plan will help close a projected $3.5 billion deficit over the next biennium by committing to significant structural reforms. Not only will this budget help Connecticut steady its financial footing, but it will help spur economic development, restore millions of dollars to municipalities, our schools and core state services.
This bipartisan, two-year state budget:
- Avoids the draconian education cuts proposed by the Republicans and the Governor’s Executive Order;
- Reinstates funding to our state and local independent colleges;
- Invests in our tech schools and workforce development programs;
- Protects many of the social service and youth services programs our residents rely on, including Care4Kids and DDS funding;
- Implements spending and bonding caps to help reduce our long-term debt;
- Creates a process for distressed municipalities to apply for increased funding and assistance in restructuring debt with more state oversight and saves Hartford from having to declare bankruptcy;
- Does not increase sales or income taxes;
- Rejects Gov. Malloy’s plan to burden local town and education budgets with state pension obligations;
- Requires future state labor contracts to be voted on by the Legislature;
- Provides for a sustainable revenue source to ensure the long-term solvency of the Special Transportation Fund
- Saves CEP to keep special interests out of state elections.
This was a tough budget that is far from perfect as it includes some significant and potentially painful cuts to many important state programs and services. However, because we are dealing with multi-billion dollar deficits, we had to make difficult decisions on funding cuts to virtually all programs.
But, on balance, in these difficult times and given the political makeup of the Legislature it is the right budget and a true bipartisan compromise. It also is a step forward in addressing Connecticut’s fiscal challenges.
With the next legislative session only a few short months away, passing this budget allows us to put this prolonged debate behind us and move on to addressing other priorities to move Connecticut forward.