HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration sounded the alarm bells Thursday morning when they say they found a “drafting error” in the bipartisan budget they weren’t involved in writing.
Legislative leaders say it wasn’t necessarily a so-called “error.”
The problematic language was related to the hospital tax and according to administration sources it has nothing to do with whether the governor will or won’t sign a budget agreement.
While they remained open the the prospect of a technical fix, the Malloy administration said the error could cost the state $1 billion in federal reimbursement if it’s not corrected. The administration says the language regarding the hospital tax fails to establish a federal compliant health care tax, illegally links taxes and supplemental payments, and still mandates that payments be made to the hospitals, even if federal reimbursement for supplemental payments aren’t made.
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes sent the caucuses the language the administration believes it needs to legally implement the hospital tax. There was an understanding the language would be included, so it was a surprise to the administration when it wasn’t.
However, this is the first year the executive branch has not been involved in drafting a budget. The budget was drafted by nonpartisan legislative staff.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said they would take a look at it and if necessary come back and make the necessary change. However, he’s not convinced it’s an error since the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and nursing homes were never part of the calculations for the tax in the past.
“If it’s something that genuinely has to be fixed, I’m not convinced of it right now, we have time,” Aresimowicz said.