Sen. McLachlan Votes for Bipartisan State Budget that Eliminates Commuter Fare Hikes and Service Reductions without Tolls

May 10, 2018

Resolves Budget Shortfalls, Funds Medicare Savings Program without Tax Increases

HARTFORD State Senator Michael (R-24) today voted for state budget adjustments that resolve the fiscal year 2019 deficit, fully finances the Special Transportation Fund, and provides funds to fully staff the Connecticut state veterans hospital.

The budget is the result of bipartisan negotiations and represents a compromise between Republican and Democrat lawmakers to update the bipartisan state budget Sen. McLachlan voted for last year. The revised budget provides funding for critical services without tax increases or enacting tolls.

“Since being elected to the General Assembly, my focus has been on passing budgets that require state government to live within its means and that also promote business growth and jobs in Connecticut,” McLachlan said. “Passing a balanced, no-tax-increase budget sends a message that we can and will do the hard work of putting the state’s fiscal house in order. It also shows that we can control spending while still providing crucial services.”

Sen. McLachlan said the budget provides for Connecticut veterans by restoring funding for the military honor guard for veterans funerals and reinstates $2 million in funding for the Connecticut state veterans hospital’s critical care unit.

“It was truly a bipartisan effort to ensure that the budget provides the necessary funding for the services our veterans need and deserve,” he said. “And while some of my colleagues did not believe we could fund transportation infrastructure maintenance and improvements without tolls and tax increases, the implementation of Republican’s Prioritize Progress long-term infrastructure improvement plan actually will create surpluses in the Special Transportation Fund without those sources of new revenue.”

Additionally, the compromise plan restores funding for the Medicare Savings, directs more funds toward the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund, provides important bonding for enhanced school security, and protects municipal aid. It includes recommendations made by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth.

“While Republicans had hoped to accomplish more with the budget we presented last week, this budget is a result of both parties coming together and agreeing to pass a balanced state budget without tax increases,” Sen. McLachlan said. “The fact that no side got everything it wanted means this is a pretty good budget for taxpayers and the state.”

Budget Summary 

Financial Polices and Taxes:

  • Contains no new tax increases.
  • Maintains new retiree tax breaks contained in last year’s bipartisan budget for pension & social security income.
  • Rejects governor’s proposal to eliminate $200 property tax credit, which supports elderly and working families.

Restores Funding for Core Services:

  • Restores funding for the Medicare Savings Program in full to all 169,450 seniors. Cost of $130 million.
  • Increases Vocational Agriculture per pupil grants by $1,000 per slot.
  • Restores funding for Elderly Nutrition Program and makes this a separate line item to better protect this funding in the future.
  • Fully funds aid to disabled adding in $1.4 million.
  • Fully funds Old Age Assistance with an additional $1.8 million.
  • Protects funding for fire training schools and eliminates governor’s cut.
  • Funds Care 4 Kids.
  • Funds the Honor Guard
  • Restores $2 million to the Connecticut state veterans hospital’s critical care unit.

Protects Municipal Aid:

  • Restores full funding for Municipal Aid.
  • Fully funds the FY 2019 enacted Education Cost Sharing grants.
  • Fully funds Renters Rebate program, protecting 48,000 people. No longer shifts the expense onto municipalities.

Funds Transportation:

  • Fully funds the Special Transportation Fund resulting in surpluses in the fund in each of the next 5 years (accelerates the diversion of sales tax from sale of automobiles at car dealerships into FY 2019 at 8%). This allows us to fully fund transportation infrastructure projects.
  • Fully funds rail and bus operations.
  • Enacts “Prioritize Progress” in part, a long-term plan to support infrastructure improvements without taxes or tolls.

Implements Recommendations from the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth as follows:

  • Study on pro-growth rebalancing of state taxes.
  • Study on revenue and expense optimization.
  • Study on reforming of the Teachers’ Retirement System.
  • Implements municipal relief by allowing schools to have volunteers perform work such as buildings and grounds maintenance.