Sen. Fasano to Gov. Lamont: Show us the savings

June 11, 2019

Sen. Fasano to Gov. Lamont: Show us the savings

Hartford Courant

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano wants details from the Lamont administration about millions of dollars in savings that were built into the state budget.

The $43 billion, two-year spending plan adopted by the legislature last week assumes $450 million in savings from changes to state employee health benefits and the refinancing of pension payments.

Fasano questioned the validity of the savings, saying that the unions representing state workers never voted on the changes.

“We’re talking about nearly half a billion in taxpayers’ dollars,” Fasano said. “Taxpayers deserve to know if that number is real or fiction. Look them in the eye and be straight with them. Democrats who voted for the budget last week apparently believed this $450,000,000 in savings was real. If the savings isn’t real, then those Democrats were duped into voting for an unbalanced budget and they should be outraged. If the savings isn’t real, then those Democrats should also be held accountable for voting ‘yes’ on a document with a ton of phantom savings. I would also remind the governor that he cannot sign into law a state budget that is not in balance.”

Fasano first raised the question last week, before lawmakers approved the budget on a party-line vote in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Maribel La Luz, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, disputed Fasano’s assertion.

“There is no legal basis for what the senator is saying,” La Luz said last week, after Fasano held a press conference to air his concerns.

“This budget is consistent with others in the past that have been signed in anticipation of reaching an agreement with SEBAC, and Senator Fasano knows that full well. The budget relies upon savings from the Teachers’ Retirement System pension reamortization, which is not subject to union approval, and the State Employee Retirement System pension reamortization, which union leadership has expressed a willingness to jointly pursue. In addition, the state employee healthcare savings are entirely predicated on programs and negotiations that are not subject to union ratification. These types of savings are routinely included in budgets and there is support in the legislature for the identified savings as reflected in the budget plan.”