Breaking Down the Budget

June 4, 2019

The House of Representatives and Senate passed a budget this week which is responsible, stable, and funds the Rainy Day Fund at historic levels. The budget makes significant investments in education, job growth, and economic development while holding the line on spending. The growth rate for fixed costs in the General Fund is 1.3% and for non-fixed costs is simply 0.03%.


Many who oppose this budget will focus on tax increases, but this budget also reduces taxes and reflects opposition to the Governor’s proposal to broaden the sales tax. This approved budget cuts the Admissions Tax at entertainment venues in half from 10% to 5% and provides a new tax credit for craft beer breweries like the Brass City Brewery to help grow this booming industry. The Business Entity Tax is eliminated as of January 2020, helping small businesses and encouraging start-ups. Additionally, the capital base tax on corporations is phased out to zero mills by 2024.
The budget seeks to modernize the state sales tax by including digital goods and certain electronically delivered software. The budget also includes a new “mansion tax,” which is a surcharge on home sales over $2.5 million, only if the seller leaves Connecticut.
Teachers Pensions

Connecticut must pay-off our state’s debt and I am pleased that this budget uses $380 million of the current year surplus to help shore up the teacher’s pension fund. Waterbury residents were clear that they did not support the Governor’s proposal to shift the teachers’ pension costs to our city and we heard you. This budget creates a Teachers’ Retirement Fund Special Capital Reserve Fund to further secure state payments of pension bonds, which I supported! I worked tirelessly to ensure that the Retired Teacher Income tax credit remained untouched.


I heard from our seniors who shared the rising cost of living is pushing them out of their homes and the community they love. I am happy that the Democrats in the House and Senate held steadfast and will increase the income thresholds, which taxpayers may deduct Social Security income and phase out the pension and annuity tax. The budget rejects the Governor’s asset test for the Medicare Savings Program for low-income seniors, expands funding for Meals on Wheels, and provides a rate increase to nursing homes. Not only does the rate increase provide staff with a more livable wage, it also prevents unnecessary state spending during a labor strike for federally required temporary staffing.
Economic & Workforce Development

The passed budget recognizes the importance of developing small businesses, minority, and women-owned businesses with the expansion of the Angel Investor tax credit, a tax credit for those who invest at least $25,000 in an approved business. It also increases the number of businesses and nonprofits eligible to bid on small contractor and minority business enterprise set-aside contracts, including those owned or operated by people with disabilities. Additionally, the budget establishes a workforce development pipeline to better match curriculum with employer needs, including an advanced manufacturing focus to fill many of the open skilled jobs.


In an effort to support a healthier planet, we found opportunities to reduce single-use waste by implementing a 10 cent tax on single-use plastic bags followed by a full ban in 2021 while helping to reduce polluting emissions through rebate incentives for the purchase of electronic vehicles. The budget protects the Passports to Parks account, repealing any diversion of funds from this account.

An increase in funding for higher education is observed in this budget, which will help stabilize tuition and improve long term stability of our college and university systems. It promotes an “open source” online college textbooks to reduce cots and establishes debt free community college to ensure that all students have access to college.
The budget includes an increase in Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding for Waterbury’s schools. An over $6 million increase in education funding will be allocated to Waterbury schools in 2020 as part of the Alliance District program, targeting under performing districts in need with funding.


As a new legislator, I was dismayed to learn that the budget proposals being considered reneged on a deal that had been promised to Connecticut hospitals. Through an agreement, this budget funds local hospitals to expand access to healthcare and protect thousands of jobs. It is important for me protect both of our local hospitals.
Often times we hear the mantra, “Where are the cuts?” Since 2009, Connecticut has reduced the number of union, non-union, and managerial state employees by 16%. This budget realizes over $450 million in state employee healthcare savings and more than $5 million executive branch contracting savings initiatives. We should continue to do more to realize additional savings and I will continue to advocate to find these efficiencies.
We worked hard to present a budget that is a reflection of our values and aspirations for the future. I believe that this budget offers not only growth but security for the residents of Connecticut. The budget will now go to the Governor for signing.