“Its time for us to take action. No more easy promises. No more press releases. No more summits. Let’s get things done,” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in her budget address to the General Assembly. What does getting things done mean? It means an increase in the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent that will help pay for the $3.4 billion in new spending on local education over the next five years.
Rell’s budget chief Robert Genuario said earlier Wednesday that the increase in education funding will help relieve some of the local property tax burden. But it may put Rell at odds with GOP legislators who have said the state needs to hold the line on spending and adhere to the cap. Rell’s $35.79 billion, two-year budget also blows through the spending cap to the tune of $500 million. As for health care, Rell talked again about the Charter Oak Plan. Under Rell’s plan insurance companies would offer residents that are uninsured health care coverage at $250 per month. “I have also heard the concern that this premium could still be difficult for some lower income individuals—and I agree,” she said. “Therefore, I am proposing funding of 55 million dollars for premium assistance to help lower income individuals enroll in the Charter Oak Plan.” In addition to the $55 million Genuario said the governor is taking a strong stand with respect to the need for the HUSKY MCOs to open their records to public scrutiny. He said Rell will introduce legislation to require any new, amended, or extended MCO contracts to require the MCOs to comply with the state’s FOI Laws. More updates later