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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Supports State Budget Approval With No Tax Increase, Additions to Rainy Day Fund

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined Senate Democrats to pass a balanced two-year state budget that does not increase tax rates, sustains state programs and increases the state’s investment in its rainy day fund. Carefully utilizing cost controls, the budget increases spending across the state by just 0.3 percent while dedicating significant resources to job training initiatives. The Rainy Day Fund will swell to $2.6 billion under the biennial proposal.

“This budget is fiscally responsible and I will support it due to its focus on controlling costs,” said Sen. Needleman. “With no tax increases and strong investment in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, Connecticut better positions itself for the future than it has in past years. It further supports our state’s future by investing strongly in job training and education, making sure our workforce will be properly prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. The budget is under the state’s spending and bonding caps and raises non-fixed spending by just 0.3 percent while continuing to bolster the Rainy Day fund. It’s a sensible and reasonable approach to the next two years.”

Maintaining the Promises and Progress of the Bipartisan Budget

  • Maintains the same sales tax rate, income tax rates, and capital gains tax rate as the bipartisan budget
  • Continues cuts to income taxes for seniors on social security and pensions as promised in the bipartisan budget
  • Increases education funding as promised in the bipartisan education funding formula
  • Adheres to the spending cap, expenditure cap, bonding cap, and volatility cap from the bipartisan budget
  • Continues our commitment to fund support for the developmentally disabled, including emergency placements and employment and day services
  • Continues to bolster the Rainy Day fund which will now have over $2.6 billion as promised in the bipartisan budget

Investing in Job Creation and Workforce Development

  • Funds several job creation and workforce development programs, including:
  • Jobs Funnel Programs (Over $1 million each year)
  • Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative ($2 million each year)
  • Healthcare Apprenticeship Initiative ($500,000 each year)
  • Connecticut’s Youth Employment Program ($5 million each year)
  • Cradle to Career ($100,000 each year)
  • Pilot Re-Entry Program ($800,000 each year)
  • Veteran Machinists Training ($250,000 each year)

Holding the Line on Taxes

  • No increase in the sales tax rate
  • Sales tax modernized to cover digital downloads, dry-cleaning, parking, and interior design
  • No increase in the income tax rate
  • No increase in the capital gains tax rate
  • Cuts income taxes for seniors on social security and pensions
  • Eliminates the business entity tax to help new companies start-up and remove a nuisance tax on all businesses

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Over $2.6 billion in the “Rainy Day” fund
  • Only 1.7% growth in state spending in 2020 and 3.4% in 2021
  • Only 0.3% growth in non-fixed cost state spending in 2020
  • Agreement with Connecticut’s hospitals to avoid a potential $4 billion liability to the state
  • 1,000 fewer Connecticut state employee positions

Funding Our Pensions and Paying Down Our Debt

  • Over $1.7 billion toward the state’s pension costs
  • Over $1.5 billion goes toward paying down last generation’s unfunded pensions
  • Only $229 million or 13% is for current employees in 2020 and $220 million in 2021
  • Funds 100% of pensions and benefits for current state employees and teachers

Advancing Connecticut’s Top Tier K-12 Education

  • Increases funding for K-12 education by tens of millions of dollars over 2019 levels
  • $42 million education funding increase in 2020
  • $80 million education funding increase in 2021
  • Fully funds the state education formula as required under the ten year phase-in adopted by the bipartisan budget in 2017

Monumental Positive Changes for Higher Education

  • Establishes debt-free community college for all Connecticut residents
  • Increases funding for UConn by $9.7 million in 2020 and $20.6 million in 2021

Supporting Connecticut Families

  • Includes funding to support the implementation of an increase in the minimum wage
  • Funds the creation of a Paid Family Medical Leave program

Safeguarding Seniors

  • Increases funding for nursing home workers, avoiding a potentially dangerous statewide strike of workers ($11 million more in 2020 and $18.5 million more in 2021)
  • Provides funding for the Center for Medicare Advocacy ($300K in each year)
  • Increases funding for Meals on Wheels ($475K in each year)

Other Investments

  • Fully funds Passport to the Parks program
  • Includes funding for Juvenile Justice ($11.7 M in FY 20 and $10.2 M in FY 21)
  • Funds services for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities including employment and day services for new high school graduates ($6.3 M in FY 20 and $14.6 M in FY 21) as well as individuals aging out of the Department of Children and Families and residential schools ($3 M in FY 20 and $5.7 M in FY 21)
  • Preserves funding for mental health and substance abuse grants ($1.6 M in each year)
  • Provides funding for caseload growth in the Birth to Three program ($1.4 M in FY 20 and $2 M in FY 21)
  • Includes funding for a new State Trooper Class in FY 20
  • Provides $500,000 each year in new funding for the Connecticut Diaper Bank
  • Funds the Foreclosure Mediation Program $1.8 M in FY 20 and $2 M in FY 21.

The full balanced budget can be accessed through the General Assembly website here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2019&bill_num=7424

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