Sen. Kelly Statement on Close of 2021 Legislative Session

June 10, 2021

Win: Shifting Democrats away from tax increases

Loss: No action to make health care more affordable for all families


HARTFORD – Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) released the following statement regarding the close of the 2021 legislative session:


“This session was like no other. While we did not always agree with the Majority on the best way to move forward, we did good work for the families of Connecticut to help them recover and rebuild. Yet I also remain extremely disappointed in the majority party for blocking efforts to make health care more affordable for all families.


“First, the wins. Republicans successfully pushed back on Democrats’ tax increases, rallying public opposition and moving the conversation to get to a no new tax budget. Remember, Democrats all started out seeking tax increases. Governor Lamont proposed $630 million in new taxes on items like gas, mileage and health insurance. Democratic lawmakers proposed over $3.2 billion in new taxes. And the progressive left wanted over $4 billion in new taxes. But Republicans stood tall on no new taxes. The eventual shift away from taxes is without a doubt a win for every Connecticut working and middle-class family. Democrats should continue listening to the people and not put any new taxes in the implementer bill. Adding the TCI-P gas tax to the implementer would be a double-cross.


“In a bipartisan effort, we also worked to make nursing homes safer and keep families connected. We worked to combat opioid abuse and mental health issues. We supported our health care workers and nonprofit providers who served on the COVID-19 frontlines. We increased funding for education and core social services.


“But the session was marred by an enormous missed opportunity. Nothing was done to make health care more affordable for all working- and middle-class families. Like many things in our state, quality health care is unaffordable and inaccessible for far too many. Following the pandemic, at a time when everyone finally seemed focused on health care, this should have been the session’s top priority. It should have finally been the year to rein in growing health care costs and establish long term reforms to make insurance more affordable for all. But Democrats failed to act. When they abandoned their poorly thought-out, job-killing, government-run ‘public option,’ they threw up their hands. Meanwhile, Republicans advocated for a comprehensive package of health care reforms to reduce costs for all people. Democrats refused to even hold a vote to move our plan out of Committee. Today, we are no closer to reducing insurance premiums for the middle class over the long term or better controlling skyrocketing costs than we were at the start of session. Democrats repeatedly show they want health care affordability to remain a political issue, rather than a problem we solve together.”