Scott: State GOP offers plan to balance Connecticut’s budget

State Rep. Tony Scott (R-Monroe)

The following is a press release from State Rep. Tony Scott’s (R-Monroe) office:

HARTFORD, CT — State Rep. Tony Scott (R-Monroe) and his House Republican colleagues released a plan to balance the second year of the state budget, honoring the fiscal guardrails, focusing on affordability, pursuing structural spending reforms, and supplying funding in critical areas such as local education to help prevent more pressure on local property taxpayers, according to Scott.

House Republicans, led by State Rep. Vincent Candelora began developing their plan to balance the budget after the Democratic Party-controlled Appropriations Committee decided against adjusting the $25.9 billion budget for FY25, which becomes effective July 1.

Inaction would leave the budget out of balance and vulnerable to discretionary decisions from Gov. Ned Lamont, who would have authority to make changes outside of the legislative session, according to Scott.

Scott, ranking member of the Housing Committee, said he was pleased with additional funding earmarked for homelessness services.

“In a year where bills or programs that have a budgetary impact are getting cut at the committee level and not even making to the House or Senate for debate, the House Republicans still find funding for homeless shelter needs to be a priority,” he said. “I’m glad our plan would provide additional dollars, beyond those included in the two-year budget passed last year, to help these providers get through the coming winter season.”

House Republicans said their plan keeps the promise to Connecticut families to direct their focus toward supporting children at the beginning of their educational journey. Republicans propose $236 million more for local education funding, and fully funds Trumbull’s education reimbursement, including an additional $79 million more for surging special education costs.

By providing an additional $12 million to increase reimbursement rates ($120 per hour to $167) to Birth to Three child services providers, Republicans said they will unlock more federal funding to help with staffing shortages. Responding to the state’s childcare crunch, Republicans matched the $12 million increase proposed by Lamont for the Care4Kids program.

The House Republican plan does not tap remaining federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, leaving at least $200 million available for acute needs such as funding for nonprofit service social providers, shoring up the state’s unemployment compensation fund, additional childcare investments, or higher education, GOP legislators said.

The House Republican budget adjustments have been vetted by the state’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

In their plan to shift budget priorities toward core commitments to residents, House Republicans said they also propose to:

  • Keep a scheduled $42m deposit to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund that Democrats would forgo
  • Allocate increase to Medicaid rates to behavioral health providers, mental health services for kids ($7m)
  • Address surging price of goods, groceries, and services by eliminating Democrats’ truck tax
  • Increases funding to municipalities to implement early voting ($3.6m)
  • Deliver improved ambulance provider Medicaid rates Governor proposed to cut ($5m)
  • Reinstates a portion of PILOT funding for municipalities ($16.3m)
  • Provide CT Foodshare allocation (H.B. 5011) ($2m)
  • Supply $1 million allocation for homeless shelter needs

House Republicans fund priority initiatives by continuing their push for structural changes in the budget, including:

  • Maintaining, rather than increasing, Husky C healthcare eligibility requirements ($8.5m savings)
  • Budget for state employee vacancies according to current hiring patterns (an additional $26m savings)
  • Eliminating “free” healthcare for undocumented immigrants ($45m savings)
  • Changes policy on enhanced inmate communications; require them to pay portion of cost of calls ($10m savings)

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