State’s 900-page state budget generates mixed reaction
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The state budget has finally been released, and reaction is mixed.
Democrats said it includes investments in education and the largest middle class tax cuts.
However, nonprofit providers and others say it falls short of what’s needed.
The budget was about 900 pages. There’s a lot in it:
Group home workers have been on strike. They were looking for higher wages. They’ve been protesting for days at the state capitol. There is more money in the budget, but they said it’s not enough.
“I can’t afford to live on my own even with the little money I have working full time, overtime and jobs on the side,” said Jorge Santana, group home worker.
Santana helps those with disabilities. He makes $17.25 an hour.
The state budget has $100 million over two years, with some bonuses and raises, but it won’t raise their pay to $25 an hour like they wanted.
Many nonprofits said they weren’t happy either. While there was additional funding, they said it comes after years of cuts.
The House speaker commented on the budget on Monday morning.
“We have a historic increase in education cost sharing, which will help reduce property taxes, make it easier for our urban schools to retain teachers and paraeducators,” said Rep. Matt Ritter, Democrat, House speaker. “We have money for the baby bonds program. We continue the motor vehicle tax deduction and on the revenue side, it’s the largest income tax cut in state history.”
Connecticut has a huge surplus, and the expectation was there would be a lot more money given out, but fiscal guardrails have restricted spending.
The budget increases education funding to cities and towns to help hire more teachers and paraeducators. There is additional money for higher education.
The motor vehicle tax deduction will continue and has the largest income tax cuts in state history.
Republicans said they like what is in the budget, but it’s the implementer they have issues with.
“The implementer has things in it that Democrats couldn’t manage the calendar and couldn’t get things done in the regular course, so we want to make sure those products that end up in the budget are well vetted,” said Rep. Vinnie Candelora (R – Minority Leader).
Republicans said there is about $20 million in the implementer for projects in several cities and towns.
There will be a long debate in the House before a vote. Then the budget goes to the Senate.
For a full break down:
- A balanced budget
- Deposits $3.3 Billion into Rainy Day Fund
- Under the constitutional spending cap in both years – following the financial guardrails that we reauthorized at the beginning of session
- Allows us to pre-pay an additional $2.072 Billion dollars in unfunded pension liability
- Pays off outstanding debt from 2008, which will save future taxpayers $22 million
- Includes the largest Personal Income Tax Cut in CT history ($190.6 m in fy24/$421.7m in fy25)
- Cuts the 3% and 5% marginal income tax rates
- Eliminates even more retirement income taxes by smoothing the benefit cliff for those with pension, annuity, and IRA income - giving relief to those making more than $75k (single filers)/$100k (joint filers) to up to $100k/$150k
- Freezes scheduled increases on the diesel tax
- Cuts fuel taxes on airlines
- Continues last year’s tax cuts
- the Earned Income Tax Credit at its highest historic level – helping our lowest-earning workers and families
- Combined with personal income tax cuts, families of four with incomes up to $50,000 will not pay state income taxes
- Continues car tax cap (32.4 mills)
- Continues property tax credits for homeowners
Ed/Higher Ed Funding
• $135 million more than the Governor over the biennium for state colleges and universities
• Expands debt-free community college
• Increases funding for special education to local schools
• Increases childcare provider rates
• Invests over $240 million in public education for the 2024-25 school year:
- $158 m in new funds to local boards of education
- $9.3 m in new funds for Charter Schools
- $53.3 m in new funds Magnet School
- $11.4 m in new funds for Open Choice
- $7.2 m in new funds for Vocational Agriculture programs
Safety Net Services
• Provides funding to our nonprofit providers – 2.5% cost of living increases
• Provides funding to striking group home employees – roughly a 4.5% pay increase
• Expands assistance to
• Medical Debt Erasure ($8.5 m) will wipe out up to $1 B of medical debt
• Assists people who no longer qualify for Medicaid by providing two months of premium assistance to enroll on the exchange
Increases Funding to Towns
• More funds for local schools, special education, and choice tuition assistance
• Increases PILOT payments by 3%
• Provides grants to implement early voting ($1.8m)
There is no funding in the budget for waste but HB6664 provides up to $500 million in bonding through the Green Bank for new trash facilities.
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