Sen. Kissel Speaks Out Against Bill Allowing Municipalities to Bond for Benefit Plans

May 21, 2005

Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) spoke out on the Floor of the Senate this week against legislation that would give Connecticut’s towns and cities the ability to borrow money to help cover the costs of health benefits for their municipal retirees. Specifically, the bill would allow municipalities to bond the annual retirement benefit costs of their municipal officials, employees and beneficiaries. The benefits part of this package can include medical insurance and vision, dental, life insurance, or long-term care benefits.

“It’s just not a good idea,” said Senator Kissel, “to allow municipalities to incur long term debt for what should be a planned annual budget expense. This is the sort of legislation that could put municipalities in financial trouble down the road.”

Senator Kissel pointed to the financial difficulties some of Connecticut’s cities have encountered over the past several years as evidence of what risky financial decisions can do.

“We have seen the problems that cities such as Waterbury and Bridgeport have encountered over the last several years thanks to poor financial choices,” added Senator Kissel. “Municipal retirement benefits are currently funded on a pay-as-you-go basis; so this legislation, which would apply to every municipality in the state, gives them additional power to go into debt. Clearly, this could cause significant long-term damage to our towns’ financial health. That’s why I opposed this bill,” concluded Senator Kissel.

SSB 1358 An Act Concerning the Creation, Management and Funding of Municipal Post-Employment Health and Life Benefit Systems passed the Senate 23-11 and now moves onto the state House of Representatives for a vote.

Senator Kissel is a Deputy Minority Leader and represents the seventh district communities of East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.