Thomaston Legislators Press for Budget Fixes to Protect Vulnerable Residents

October 16, 2015

Following calls by hospitals, advocates for the disabled, and many others for legislative action to address Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s recent devastating budget cuts, Thomaston’s legislators have signed a petition seeking a special session of the General Assembly to rebuild the state budget.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, a petition signed by Sen. Henri Martin, Rep. John Piscopo and every Republican state lawmaker was submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the State.

If a majority of state lawmakers in the House and Senate chambers signs the petition, it will trigger a special session.

To gain a majority, at least four Democrats in the Senate and 12 Democrats in the House will need to join Republicans in signing the petition. Thus far, the governor and Democrat leaders have denied Republicans’ requests to hold a special session.

“We are trying to protect Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents: the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, and the mentally ill,” Sen. Martin said. “We urge Democrats to stand with Republicans and sign this petition so that we can go into special session and work collaboratively to fix this mess and do what’s right.”

“The fact that Gov. Malloy has had to enact emergency cuts only three short months into this budget cycle is clear evidence that the governor’s policies are failing, and what’s worse is that he has chosen to balance the budget at the expense of the health and well-being of the residents of Connecticut by cutting funding to our community hospitals and critical programs for the disabled,” Rep. Piscopo said. “The Democrats in the House and the Senate have the opportunity to right this wrong and join our call for a special session and I hope they take it seriously.”

The petition calls for a special session, “To make adjustments to the state budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, including adjustments to restore Medicaid funding and other state support for hospitals, health care and other services.”

The General Assembly can be called in to a special session by the governor or by majority party legislative leaders. However, if rank and file legislators demonstrate that a majority in both chambers deem it necessary to meet in special session, they can initiate a session themselves.

The governor’s $103 million in cuts include millions in cuts to mental health and substance abuse services and programs that help those with disabilities – all areas that were already slashed in the Democrats’ budget. It also includes $64 million in Medicaid cuts that directly affect hospitals and translate to a loss of $128 million in federal dollars. The result is a total loss of $192 million in funding for Connecticut’s hospitals and a $422 million tax hike on our nonprofit health care providers.