Our biennial budget was delivered on time, under the constitutional spending cap and includes important advancements like a plan for debt-free community college. We continued increasing exemptions for pension and annuity income from state income taxation.
We defeated Governor Lamont’s efforts to cut education aid and increase taxes on seniors. There are no increases in income tax rates or broad-based sales tax rates. We maintained municipal aid and we are investing in technology training for future jobs.
- Maintains the tax exemptions for Social Security income and the phase-in of a tax exemption on pension and annuity income to make CT more affordable to seniors
- Re-opens highway rest stops
- Protects the “Passport to the Parks” fund
- Increases education funding
- Protects the Care4Kids program
- Avoids a costly and disruptive nursing home strike
- Repeals the Business Entity Tax starting in 2020
- Increases access to health care
- Provides a tax credit to craft beer breweries
- Protects the Medicare Savings Program, Dial-A-Ride and increases funding for Meals on Wheels
- Establishes a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Health and Human Services Network to build a safer and healthier environment for LGBTQ people
Paid Family Leave
I was proud to vote to create a Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program. In the event of a medical emergency, Paid Family and Medical Leave allows workers to care for themselves or a loved one without having to face the threat of financial ruin. The program will provide partial replacement of wages on a sliding scale so that patients and caregivers can take time off and make ends meet.
Minimum Wage Increases
No one who works full time should live in poverty. Connecticut families will have more economic security now that we have voted to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by June 1, 2023. This legislation will help over 300,000 Connecticut workers who make less than $15 an hour. The wage will increase on October 1 to $11 an hour, followed by incremental increases over the next 4½ years. Higher wages mean more demand for goods and services and an improving economy.
In-State Tuition for Military Families
Connecticut will grant in-state tuition 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.
Mental Health Parity
Diseases of the brain and body need to be treated equally in society and by insurance companies. We unanimously passed the Mental Health Parity Act which gives people with mental health and substance use disorders the same access to care as those with cancer and heart disease. One in four Americans has or will be affected by mental health or a substance use disorder. It should be just as easy to receive treatment for depression as it is for diabetes.
This session, we required more health insurance plans to provide coverage regardless of an individual’s pre-existing conditions. Passed unanimously, this protects Connecticut residents against possible changes to federal law.
Health And Safety
We have made the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape products illegal for those under 21. Ninety-five percent of adults who smoke started young. “Vaping” is on the rise among middle and high school students. This law seeks to keep nicotine out of the hands of minors.
Ethan’s Law, named after Ethan Song who tragically lost his life due to an improperly stored gun, requires the safe storage of all firearms in a home with children under 18.
Guns Locked in Cars
Due to the increase in gun thefts from cars, we are now requiring drivers to keep guns locked in glove compartments, truck boxes or gun safes while in unattended cars.
Covering Police and Fire for PTSD
We have passed legislation which will provide workers’ compensation benefits for police officers, parole officers and firefighters suffering from PTSD due to specified events they encounter in the line of duty.
Supporting our Seniors
On January 1, 2019, Connecticut stopped collecting income taxes on Social Security for 1.) individuals having less than $75,000 in annual income and 2.) couples having less than $100,000 in annual income. Additionally, Connecticut stopped collecting income taxes on 14% of pension and annuity incomes using the same income limits as above. This percentage will increase by 14% per year until 2025, when all pension and annuity income will be exempt from state income taxation for those people under the income limits.
Safe Nursing Homes Staffing Levels
We are working to ensure nursing home staffing levels are adequate by:
Requiring nursing homes to post daily information related to the number of staff who provide direct care to residents
Authorizing the Department of Public Health to take disciplinary action against nursing homes that fail to comply with staffing requirements of 1.9 nurses per resident per day
Protecting Our Planet
Green Jobs and Net Metering
Green energy is good for the planet and our economy. We passed legislation to continue the deployment of solar energy, increasing green jobs and economic activity. We extended solar-saving net metering and the Green Bank’s renewable solar investment program.
Connecticut will procure up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power. We’re improving New London Harbor so offshore electric generators can be shipped from there. This legislation also includes provisions to protect and minimize impacts on the environment and fisheries.
Protecting Our Water
We passed the first State Water Plan, which protects our water supply as a “public trust” to ensure clean drinking water is accessible for all.