HARTFORD, CT — Democratic and Republican legislative leaders stood outside the hall of the House of Representatives before 5 p.m. on the final night of the regular legislative session to announce they had reached a bipartisan deal on the budget.
But the actual document was still being drafted and was not available online for their members to review as of 8 p.m.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said there was compromise on all sides.
They were able to restore funding for the Medicare Savings Program and low-income parents on the Husky A program who were in danger of losing their coverage in 2019.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said they were able to figure out how to put $1 billion into the Special Transportation Fund to make sure it’s solvent for another five years.
Part of how they increase funding is by beginning to move sales tax revenue on new car purchases into to the Special Transportation Fund.
“This avoids transit district cuts, any fare increases, and keeps all of our transportation projects on track,” Rep. Tony Guerrera, co-chair of the Transportation Committee, said.
Fasano said they’ve been able to do a lot of things that are not Democrat or Republican to help move the state forward.
Republicans let go of the collective bargaining changes they wanted to see as part of the budget agreement.
The 2019 budget leaves about $1.1 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, according to Fasano.
He said the budget also looks at some recommendations made by the Commission on Fiscal Stability. He said they will look at using the Connecticut Lottery to help shore up the state’s pension funds. He said they will also look at the payments required to be made to the Teachers Retirement System under the current bond covenant.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said the 1 percent increase to the nonprofit private providers was a very important priority for them.
The nonprofit human services community has been faced with less funding as the need for community services to treat people with opioid addictions has increased. It will cost about $10 million.
The budget also cuts the sales tax on boats from 6.35 percent to 2.99 percent starting July 1. However, property car taxes will still be capped at 45 mills, which means any town with a mill rate above that will see some relief from the state.
The budget also indexes the volatility cap to free up more money from under the cap and reduces the bond lock from 10 years to five years, according to legislative leaders.
There’s still no information about where the bill would start or when the language will become available.