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News

GPS Newsletter

Fabiola Bachinelo

June 17, 2019

What's New...

Parents Sue DPH Over Release Of Vaccination Information
By: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie
June 17, 2019

Parents of a boy with autism are suing the state Department of Public Health for releasing school-level data in May that revealed how many unvaccinated children attended each of Connecticut’s private and public schools during the 2017-18 school year.

Kristen and Brian Festa, who are representing themselves without an attorney, are seeking an injunction against the public health department to stop the expected release of the data for the 2018-19 school year.

The complaint says the Festas have a son who attends Meliora Academy in Meriden where 18.5% of the students reported religious exemptions to required vaccinations for the 2017-18 school year.

On May 3, the public health department released school-level data for the first time, including the percentage of children in kindergarten and seventh grade in each school who were vaccinated against measles and other diseases as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The DPH also included the percentage of children in any grade who claimed an immunization exemption, which is based on what the schools report to the state.

After a few schools reported errors in their numbers, revised data released May 10 indicated that 109 schools had kindergartens or seventh grades with immunization rates below the 95% standard for measles, mumps, and rubella for the 2017-18 school year. Read More...


Health & Human Services

What Does It Take To Get A ‘Public Option’ Health Program Passed? WNPR, 6/17/2019

“Democratic legislators and government officials stood with a small crowd of supporters at the Legislative Office Building in March to announce that it was time that Connecticut created a public option health insurance program…”

State Dredging Of Farmington River Spill Pollution Possible, Official Says, Hartford Courant, 6/14/2019
“State officials are considering the possibility of dredging a section of the Farmington River in Windsor contaminated by a spill of firefighting foam containing the hazardous chemical compounds called PFAS…”

Racial Cancer Gaps Persist In CT, New Haven Register, 6/14/2019
“Recently, the American Cancer Society provided a briefing called Report of Cancer 2018. The article documented that over the past decade, the cancer incidence rate was stable for women and declined by approximately 2 percent annually for men, while the overall cancer death rate declined by 1.5 annually…”

Lamont Won’t Rescind New Home Care Industry Regulation Protecting Workers, Despite Opposition, Hartford Courant, 6/13/2019
“Despite a lobbying campaign by home care agencies, Gov. Ned Lamont is not backing down on new regulations added to the state budget bill that prevent home care agencies from prohibiting employees from making their own deals with patients…”

After 18 Years, Connecticut Finally Has A State Water Plan, Wallingford Patch, 6/10/2019
“The legislature on June 5, 2019 finally ratified the State Water Plan, a technical and policy document four years in the making and 18 years in the planning since the legislature first required a water plan in 2001…”

Officials Gather In Hartford To Address Outbreak Of Opioid Deaths, CT Mirror, 6/10/2019
“As state lawmakers were unanimously passing a comprehensive bill to address Connecticut’s opioid crisis last week, Hartford was experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of opioid-related deaths, causing alarm among advocates, lawmakers and city officials…”

 


Education

 

Education Philanthropy Must Be Open To Public, CT Post, 6/15/2019
“When the General Assembly returns for a special session to complete its unfinished business, lawmakers should also consider correcting a major mistake from this recently completed regular session…”

Scholarships For Low-Income Families To Be Offered In CT, Guilford Patch, 6/14/2019
“Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell today announced that CSDE has teamed up with the College Board to launch a supplemental pool of scholarship funds available to students from lower-income families starting with the class of 2020…”

How Racial Quotas Are Hurting Minority Kids In Connecticut, The Daily Signal, 6/14/2019
“Connecticut has put in place diversity quotas for certain magnet schools, meaning the racial breakdown of those schools has to stay relatively fixed. That policy is backfiring on the state, which is now being sued by parents—largely African American—saying that it adversely affects their kids…”

What Education-Related Bills Did Connecticut Lawmakers Pass? WNPR, 6/10/2019
“With Connecticut's legislative session now over, there were a few bills passed that impact education issues in the state, and some that didn’t make it through…”

 


Budget

 

Partisan Battle Heats Up Over Whether New CT Budget Is Balanced, CT Mirror, 6/13/2019
“The partisan battle over the new state budget heated up Thursday. Minority Republicans continued to argue the $43.4 billion, two-year budget is unbalanced and unconstitutional, relying on nearly $460 million in labor savings that unions still haven’t endorsed…”

Republican Leaders Question Gov’s Budget Savings, WFSB, 6/13/2019
“Republican lawmakers are calling on Connecticut's Democratic governor to reveal the details of his state budget's savings…”

A Guide To Connecticut Taxes You’ll Pay In New State Budget, Middletown Press, 6/10/2019
“With a budget deal headed to his desk for a signature Gov. Ned Lamont is quick to point out it won’t increase income or sales tax rates, or reduce aid to cities and towns…”

A Dramatic (Bad) Policy Change Hidden In State’s Budget, CT Mirror, 6/10/2019
“The budget document now headed to the governor’s desk involves much more than the dollars and cents of state spending…”


Retirees

 

Connecticut Teacher Pension Cost Debate Not Over Yet, Middletown Press, 6/17/2019
“Cities and towns have been on the defensive for the past three years, trying to avoid getting billed for a portion of the scariest expense in the state budget — the annual contribution to the teachers’ pension fund…”

50 Great Places For Early Retirement In The U.S., Kiplinger, 6/17/2019
“Early retirement can be more than just a daydream for those long Tuesday afternoons at work. With some smart planning, you can make leaving the workforce early a reality…”

Financial Planning Is Key To Retiring Well, New Haven Register, 6/10/2019
“Multiple studies have shown that people who follow a financial plan save significantly more money for retirement than those who do not follow a plan…”

 


Miscellaneous 

Commission Meets To Discuss Offshore Wind Development, CT News Junkie, 6/14/2019
“An unpaid group of volunteers gathered at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection headquarters Friday to discuss how they can pursue a strategy that optimizes wind resources while minimizing the impact on fisheries and the environment…”

Five New Conditions Added To Medical Marijuana Program, CT News Junkie, 6/14/2019
“Five new conditions were accepted for treatment to the state’s growing medical marijuana program at a recent Board of Physicians meeting…”

Why Did The Drive To Make Pot Legal Fail? CT Mirror, 6/12/2019
“Among the big-ticket items that did not pass in Connecticut’s 2019 legislative session were tolls and legal cannabis. While tolls will likely be debated in a special session this summer, proponents of recreational marijuana will have to regroup and wait until next year…”

 


In Case You Missed It

Session Over, But Still A Few Things Rattling Along
By: Paul Stern, CT Mirror
June 16, 2019

The week after a Connecticut legislative session ends is typically pretty slow on political news, but the politicians always have time for a few ceremonial signings and press conferences to keep things stirred up.

In Washington, D.C., stirred up is the daily normal – in this case on both national and international fronts.

Last week at the State Capitol, State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano complained that the recently passed $43.4 billion budget is unconstitutional because it relies on yet-unrealized union contract savings to be in the legally required balance.

Not so, responded Gov. Ned Lamont, who signed into law a new gun-storage measure that honors the memory of Ethan Song, who lost his life in a firearm accident. Lamont’s spokesperson met Fasano with a stinging rebuke when he observed on Friday that the bid for a consultant to help with the contract savings had only gone out the day before.

It probably felt good to escape, even temporarily, the fuss over United Technologies’ decision to move its headquarters out of Connecticut as part of its proposed merger with Raytheon – a deal that is, in fact, not a done one. Read More...


Latest News From The Governor's Office

Governor Lamont: Connecticut Partners With College Board To Offer Scholarships For Low-Income Families
"Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell today announced that CSDE has teamed up with the College Board to launch a supplemental pool of scholarship funds available to students from lower-income families starting with the class of 2020. As of June 1, 2019, these students who join the national College Board Opportunity Scholarships program are eligible for an additional $40,000 in scholarships per year..." Read More...

Governor Lamont Announces Departure Of Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz
"Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the state’s Consumer Counsel, Elin Swanson Katz, has chosen to leave her position with the state effective July 5, 2019 to pursue her passion for improving broadband access for Connecticut’s citizens..." Read More...

Governor Lamont Signs Ethan's Law To Strengthen Requirements On The Safe Storage Of Firearms In The Home
"Joined by state lawmakers and advocates for commonsense gun safety laws, Governor Ned Lamont today held a bill signing ceremony on the Guilford town green to commemorate final passage of a measure closing a loophole in state statutes on the safe storage of unattended firearms in homes..." Read More...

Governor Lamont: UTC's Continued Commitment To Connecticut Helps Economy, Workforce 
"Governor Ned Lamont today released the following statement regarding conversations he has had over the past 48 hours with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) CEO Greg Hayes on the company’s continued commitment to Connecticut..." Read More...

 

Latest News From The Office Of Legislative Research

On a weekly basis the Office of Legislative Research ("OLR"), the Connecticut General Assembly's nonpartisan research arm releases reports on a wide variety of topics. Any member of the Connecticut General Assembly can ask the OLR for information on any given topic to get a clear understanding of what laws we have here in Connecticut and how we compare to other states. The reports issued by the OLR can serve as a preview of potential future legislation so we frequently check OLR’s website for updates. 

 


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Meet Representative Anthony Nolan

Anthony Nolan is a first-term State Representative serving New London’s 39th district. He serves as a member on the Aging, Appropriations, and Insurance and Real Estate Committees in the 2019 legislative session. Nolan has spent his entire life in public service. He served on the U.S. Navy and continues to work for the New London Police force. He was a four-term member on New London’s City Council and even served as President during a difficult time. Nolan is a deacon at Shiloh Baptist and youth advocate for many youth programs in the city.

Youth advocacy is a priority for Nolan who represented children’s interests on the Board of Education. He has also volunteered in countless programs including the New London Youth Collaborative and the city Youth Talent Show.

Nolan was awarded the NAACP Freedom Fund Award, NAACP Danny Jenkins Memorial Award, and the Rotary Club of New London Unsung Hero Award.


New Connecticut Tax Legislation

Fabiola Bachinelo

Connecticut's new budget bill makes many changes to Connecticut's tax rules for businesses and individual taxpayers. The new legislation will head to Governor Ned Lamont's desk for his signature. 

Corporations and Pass-Through Entities

The bill makes significant changes to how corporations and pass-through entities are taxed.

Business entity tax repealed for LLC's, S-Corporations and Partnerships: The $250 business entity tax is eliminated beginning January 1, 2020. The $250 business entity tax is currently due every other taxable year and is paid by S corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited liability companies (LLCs).

Pass-through entity tax credit reduced: The bill effectively increases income tax on the owners of pass-through entities. Effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019, the bill reduces the pass-through entity tax credit for a member's share of the tax to 87.5% (currently 93.01%). Note: Taxpayers are not subject to estimated tax payment requirements and interest on underpayments for the 2019 tax year for any additional tax due as a result of the credit reduction prior to it taking effect.

Filing fees for pass-through entities: Beginning July 1, 2020, the bill increases, from $20 to $80, the fee that foreign and domestic limited partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs pay for filing an annual report with the Secretary of State.

Phase out of capital base tax: Currently, the corporation business tax consists of two components. Corporations separately compute their liability under the regular corporation business tax rate of 7.5% and the corporate excess (capital base) tax equal to 3.1 mils per dollar of capital base with the tax not to exceed $1 million or be less than $250 and pay the larger of the two amounts (but not less than $250). The budget bill phases out the capital base component of the tax over a 4-year period. Under the bill, the capital base rate decreases to 2.6 mills in 2021; 2.1 mills in 2022; 1.1 mills in 2023; and zero mills beginning in 2024.

Corporate surcharge: The bill extends the 10% corporate surcharge to income years commencing on or after January 1, 2018, and prior to January 1, 2021.

Credit cap: For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2019, the bill reduces from 70% to 50.01%, the amount by which a company may reduce its tax liability using research and development and Urban Reinvestment Act credits.

Brownfield revitalization 7/7 program repealed: Applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019, the legislation repeals the 7/7 Brownfield Revitalization program, which was established to provide state and local tax incentives to eligible owners for up to 14 years after remediating, redeveloping, and using formerly contaminated, abandoned, or underutilized property. Available incentives included corporation business and personal income tax credits and deductions, sales and use tax exemptions, and a property tax assessment freeze.

Payroll tax study: Under the legislation, a payroll commission is established and is directed to evaluate the implementation of a 5% employer payroll tax beginning January 1, 2021. In order to collect the necessary data for this study, DRS must mail, electronically or by first class mail, an information return form by August 15, 2019, to employers, excluding the federal government, state government, municipalities, local or regional boards of education, tribal nations, and self-employed individuals. Employers must return it by October 1, 2019. The commission must provide estimates of the total revenue an employer payroll tax would generate, based on the assumption that either a 5% payroll tax is imposed beginning January 1, 2021 or a payroll tax is phased in over three years at the rate of 1.5% in year one, 3% in year two, and 5% in year three. For the phase-in estimate, the commission must assume that income tax rates on wage income would be reduced to 0% for taxpayers in the current 3% and 5% brackets; 0.5% for the 5.5% bracket; 1% for the 6% bracket; 2.5% for the 6.5% bracket; 2.9% for the 6.9% bracket; and 2.99% for the 6.99% bracket. The current personal income tax rates are assumed to continue to apply to non-wage income.

Teacher pension exemption: The bill delays an increase in the teacher pension exemption to 50% until January 1, 2021, and maintains the current 25% exemption for 2019 and 2020.

Property tax credit limit: The budget bill continues to limit eligibility for the property tax credit to taxpayers with dependents and those who are 65 years old or older through 2020.

STEM graduate tax credit repeal: Effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2019, the refundable personal income tax credit for college graduates in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields is repealed. The annual credit was $500 and could be claimed for five years after graduation.

Angel investor credit: Effective July 1, 2019, the bill extends the angel investor credit program for five years to July 1, 2024. The total tax credits allowed to any angel investor is increased to $500,000 (previously $250,000). Connecticut Innovations, which administers the program, may reserve up to $5 million (previously $3 million) in aggregate credits in each fiscal year. The bill also provides that Connecticut Innovations may prioritize unreserved credits for veteran-owned, women-owned or minority-owned businesses and businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.

 

Sales and Use Tax

Digital goods and software: Effective October 1, 2019, the sales and use tax rate on digital goods and canned or prewritten software that is electronically accessed or transferred, other than when purchased by a business for use by such business, will be subject to the full 6.35% sales tax rate and will no longer be considered computer and data processing services, which are subject to a reduced rate of 1%. ”Digital goods“ means audio works, visual works, audio-visual works, reading materials or ring tones that are electronically accessed or transferred.

Dyed diesel fuel sold by a marine fuel dock: The sales and use tax rate on dyed diesel fuel sold by a marine fuel dock exclusively for marine purposes is reduced to 2.99%.

Prepared meals: The bill increases the sales and use tax rate on the sale of meals sold by eating establishments, caterers or grocery stores; and alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, sodas or beverages ordinarily dispensed at bars and soda fountains to 7.35% from 6.35%.

Elimination of exemptions: Effective January 1, 2020, the bill eliminates the sales and use tax exemptions for safety apparel; specified parking services; dry cleaning services; laundry services and interior design services unless purchased by a business for use by such business. Coin operated laundry services remain exempt.

Economic and click-through nexus: Effective July 1, 2019, every person making retail sales of tangible personal property and services from outside Connecticut to a destination in the state is liable for sales tax if they make 200 transactions and have gross receipts of $100,000 (currently $250,000) during a 12-month period. In addition to lowering the threshold for economic nexus and extending it to sales of services, the bill eliminates the condition that such retailers be regularly or systematically soliciting sales in Connecticut. The sales threshold for click-through nexus is also lowered to sales of $100,000 (previously $250,000) made through referral agreements.

Certified service providers: The bill directs the DRS Commissioner to consult with the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board to develop a list of certified service providers to facilitate Connecticut sales tax collection and remittance and develop a plan to implement the use of such certified service providers. The plan may require retailers to use certified service providers and must identify the costs to retailers if required. The Commissioner must submit the plan to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee by February 5, 2020, along with a draft of proposed legislation to implement it.

 

Other Taxes

Room occupancy tax collection: The legislation requires "short-term rental facilitators" who facilitate retail sales of at least $250,000 during the prior 12-month period by short-term rental operators by providing a short-term rental platform, to obtain a sales tax permit to collect the room occupancy tax (15% sales and use tax for hotels and lodging houses and 11% for bed and breakfast establishments) and collect and remit tax for the sales that they facilitate for short-term rental operators on their platforms. Short-term rental operators are not liable for collecting room occupancy tax to the extent that the short-term rental facilitator collected the tax due. A “short-term rental platform” is a physical or electronic place that allows such operators to display available accommodations to prospective guests, including a store, booth, website, catalog, or dedicated software application.

Admissions tax: The admissions tax rate is reduced for certain venues from 10% to 7.5% for sales occurring on or after July 1, 2019, and from 7.5% to 5% for sales occurring on or after July 1, 2020. The venues subject to reduced rates are: the XL Center in Hartford; Dillon Stadium in Hartford; athletic events presented by a member team of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball at the New Britain Stadium; Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport; Harbor Yard Amphitheater in Bridgeport; Dodd Stadium in Norwich; Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford; and events, other than already exempt interscholastic athletic events, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.  For sales occurring on or after July 1, 2019, but prior to July 1, 2020, for any event at the Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, the tax is 5% of the admission charge.

Real estate conveyance tax. Effective July 1, 2020, a new marginal real estate conveyance tax rate of 2.25% is placed on the portion of the sales price of a residential property that exceeds $2.5 million. For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, taxpayers who paid conveyance tax at the new 2.25% rate may calculate their property tax credit against the income tax based on the amount paid in conveyance tax over a 3-year period, beginning in the third year after the conveyance tax was paid. Effective July 1, 2019, deeds that transfer the transferor's principal residence, which has a concrete foundation that has deteriorated due to the presence of pyrrhotite are exempt from real estate conveyance tax, provided the transferor obtains a written evaluation from a professional engineer indicating that the foundation of the residence was made with defective concrete.

Electronic cigarette tax. Effective October 1, 2019, the bill imposes a tax on electronic cigarette products at a rate of 40¢ per milliliter for pre-filled e-cigarette products and 10% of the wholesale price for all other electronic cigarette products. "Electronic cigarette products" means electronic nicotine delivery systems, liquid nicotine containers, vapor products, and electronic cigarette liquids. Each electronic cigarette wholesaler must file a return and pay the tax for the immediately preceding calendar month with the DRS Commissioner, on or before the last day of each month. Each electronic cigarette wholesaler must file the return electronically and make payment by electronic funds transfer.

Transportation network company fee. Effective July 1, 2019, the bill increases, from 25¢ to 30¢, the fee that Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies must pay on each ride that originates in the state.

Alcoholic beverage tax rates. Effective October 1, 2019, the budget bill increases the tax rate on alcoholic beverages other than beer.

Hospital provider tax.  The legislation also restructures and revises the hospital provider tax.

 

Other Items

Plastic bag fee. Effective August 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021, single-use plastic bags are subject to a 10¢ fee. On and after July 1, 2021, single-use plastic checkout bags are banned.

GPS Newsletter

Fabiola Bachinelo

gps (1).jpg

What's New...

Budget Vote Expected Monday

Four days after announcing a deal with Gov. Ned Lamont, the Democratic majority released a two-year $43.35 billion budget that will increase sales taxes on certain items, institute a mansion tax on homes valued at more than $2.5 million, and reduce tax credits for small businesses.

The 567-page budget document was released online Sunday afternoon. Under new legislative rules, an “emergency certified” bill must be available for members to read 24 hours in advance of a vote, which is anticipated to be scheduled Monday.

The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee is expected to adopt the revenue estimates at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Senate Democrats touted the budget deal as a step forward for Connecticut.

In a press release, they said the budget “dedicates millions in new job training initiatives, increases funding for local education, and creates a new universal debt-free community college plan.”

The debt-free community college proposal won’t go into effect until the second year of the budget and requires students to accept all available financial aid. Nearly 60 percent of community-college students already have their tuition, fees and book costs covered by federal funding, or they receive financial aid covering their tuition and fees. The budget initiative seeks to close the gap if the Board of Regents can find the money in their budget.

“Connecticut will dedicate millions in funding for job training programs in critical sectors of the economy like manufacturing and health care,” Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said.  “In addition, this budget establishes debt-free community college which will create a ladder of opportunity for hard-working families to gain the skills required of a 21st century workforce.”

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said members need to read the document carefully before voting.

“This is more than just a two year budget. It creates brand new public policies with no transparency and no input from the public,” Fasano said.

“Instead of cutting government spending, the Democrat budget reduces promised funding for those most in need,” he added. “The budget removes cost of living increases for aid to the disabled (cutting $1.5 million), temporary family assistance for neediest families with children (cutting $4.2 million), SAGA which supports individuals who are unable to work for medical reasons (cutting $1.1 million), aid to the blind (cutting $9,100), and Old Age Assistance funds which go to the aged, blind or disabled (cutting $680,000). The budget also removes statutory rate increases for Old Age Assistance (cutting $2.5 million), Aid to the Blind (cutting $30,000) and Aid to the Disabled (cutting $2.8 million). Instead of reducing the size of government, Democrats are funding their new programs and pet projects by balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our state.”

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, has maintained there will be widespread support for the budget even among its most progressive members. As written, it does not include a 2% surcharge on capital gains, which had been sought by that wing of the Democratic caucus.

In order to win the support of those members, Democrats decided one year after implementing the pass-through entity tax and corresponding credit to now reduce the credit from 93.5 percent to 87.5 percent. The result will be $50 million more in revenue to the state.

The business community complains this change in policy will impact small-business owners and not the wealthy that Democrats were intending to target.

Andrew Markowski, state director of NFIB, an association of small business in Connecticut, said “Most small business owners are middle-income earners, and the vast majority of their businesses happen to be structured as pass-throughs. So, any increase in this tax impacts them in a very negative way because they make plans based on their predicted costs.”

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw said last week that these pass-through entities are still better off than they were if Connecticut hadn’t allowed for this pass-through entity tax and credit.

“Small businesses were targeted by the legislature this year in an unprecedented way,” Eric Gjede, vice president of government affairs for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said Sunday. “With the addition of so many costly labor mandates and tax increases, we are incredibly concerned about the job losses and economic impact that will be realized in the coming months.”

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said Saturday that people making more money through that system will also be paying more.

He contends the move is balanced considering the “pass-through entities have received a very, very large tax break from the Trump administration and what we’re reclaiming or asking them to contribute or requiring them to contribute to the state of Connecticut is a very small portion.”

The mansion tax would be an additional 1 percent conveyance tax on homes $2.5 million and up. However, it only applies to people who sell their home and leave Connecticut. If the person selling the mansion stays in Connecticut for three years after the sale they will receive the money back as credit on their income taxes.

The tax is expected to raise about $5 million a year.

Ritter described the tax Saturday as “really good public policy.”

The budget adds a sales tax to digital downloads, dry cleaning, and interior design services.

It increases the sales tax by 1% on meals and drinks sold by “an eating establishment, caterer or grocery store.”

The budget also allows the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to study an I-Lottery, which would allow the lottery in the future to offer its existing lottery draw games online through the corporation’s internet web site, online service or mobile application.

After much back-and-forth this weekend, the opioid tax, which pharmaceutical distributors warned raises constitutional questions, was eliminated from the budget.

However, the budget does increase the cost of trade-in vehicles. The fee auto dealers pay to take a trade-in will increase from $35 per vehicle to $100 per vehicle.

Jim Fleming, president of the Connecticut Auto Retailers Association, said the proposal never had a public hearing.

“To have this show up in the final days of session is not how the process should work. We are strongly opposed to this last minute change,” Fleming said.

GPS Newsletter

Fabiola Bachinelo

gps.jpg

What's New...

Governor Lamont And Legislative Leaders Announce Budget Agreement That Invests In Education, Provides Fiscal Stability For The Future With No Income Or Sales Tax Rate Increases Or Cuts To Municipal Aid

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont, along with the leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly, including Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, and the co-chairs of the Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees, today announced that they have reached an agreement on a biennial state budget that closes the inherited $3.7 billion deficit days ahead of schedule. The budget does not increase income or sales tax rates, invests more money into education and workforce development, and does not cut municipal aid to towns and cities. The budget also comes on heels of a landmark agreement negotiated by Governor Lamont and Connecticut’s hospitals that will save taxpayers billions of dollars in the future.

The full budget will be presented to the members of the General Assembly for a thorough review over the coming days.

Governor Lamont said, “Passing an honest budget on time was our number one priority, and I am proud that we were able to deliver on behalf of the state. This budget is fair, balanced, promotes economic growth and working families, and was delivered on time, enabling our towns and cities to know what they can expect in their budgets over the coming biennium and plan accordingly. This budget provides the foundation from which our state can grow and provide confidence to residents and businesses alike that we are serious about stabilizing our finances and getting our economy growing again. Importantly, this budget does not raise income tax rates on anyone in our state.”

Senator Looney said, “Today is an important next step in the General Assembly’s budget process. Senator Duff and I will caucus and discuss the particulars of the draft budget with our fellow Democratic senators before commenting upon individual components. The draft budget which has been negotiated between the Senate, the House, and the Governor’s office is a responsible budget that addresses our deficit, increases investments in education, and bolsters our economy.”

Speaker Aresimowicz said, “This budget agreement is not only balanced for the next two years, but also invests in Connecticut’s middle class, protects our most vulnerable, and will help spur further economic growth in our state. Funding for our towns is increased, social security and pensions will be exempt from the state income tax, and the ‘rainy day’ reserve balance will rise to two billion dollars, protecting taxpayers into the future.”

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said, “After months of negotiations, the Senate, House, and Governor have worked together to produce a fiscally responsible budget that invests in our economy, increases state funding for education, and addresses important structural long-term budget issues. This budget is a responsible budget that leaves our state with over $2 billion in the ‘rainy day’ fund, rejects increases in the income and sales taxes, and keeps our promise to cut income taxes on social security and pensions. It is a win-win for businesses, workers, and middle class families.”

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter said, “An on-time, responsible state budget is good for cities and towns planning their own budgets and is the result of a lot of hard work from our committee chairs, subcommittees and the Governor’s office. Our more than $800 million commitment to the rainy day fund means our budget reserves are at historic levels.”

Senator Cathy Osten, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, said, “It’s important for the public to know that we used last year’s bipartisan budget as a starting point. And we kept our promise in the bipartisan budget regarding local school funding. We’ve also eliminated 1,000 unfunded vacant positions in our budget.”

Representative Toni Walker, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, said, “This budget is protecting the most vulnerable. We’re supporting policies that have been ignored in the past: funding for families, children, housing and education. They’re small in some aspects relative to the budget, but if you look at the totality of what we’ve done in this budget we are strengthening the families of Connecticut. We’ve also maintained the educational cost sharing funding for the cities, which includes funding for alliance district schools, and we did not pass on the cost for teacher pensions to the towns and cities, because they’re struggling and we understand that.”

Representative Jason Rojas, co-chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee said, “The revenue side of the budget reflects a balanced approach to crafting a biennial budget that moves us in the direction of adjusting our tax policies to reflect the continuing shift to a technology and service based economy. We avoided major changes to income, sales and business tax rates. We were able to reduce nuisance taxes that affect the business community and focused on revenue policies that are stable, reliable and measured.”

The full budget document is currently being drafted by the legislature’s nonpartisan staff.
 

Preliminary agreement items

  • More funding to schools

    • Maintains the Education Cost Sharing formula and brings underfunded districts closer to full funding

    • Creates a partnership with Dalio Philanthropies that will provide matching funds for disconnected and disengaged youth

    • Maintains funding for Minority Teacher Recruitment

    • Increases funding for the Manufacturing Pipeline to help workforce demand

    • Includes a plan for Debt-Free Community College that will be supported by a dedicated revenue source
       

  • Saves $185 million in state employee healthcare over the biennium

    • In coordination with the State Comptroller, the state will negotiate a maximum price it will pay for state employees and retirees at hospitals, clinics and providers, instead of paying costs that are all over the map and have nothing to do with quality care.

    • Expands on the successful “Smart Shopper” and “site of service” programs that encourage plan members to utilize high-quality, lower-cost providers that promote health behaviors an encourage participants to make informed provider choices.
       

  • Streamlines state government

    • Provides resources to develop a new digital service that will move the public’s interactions with state government online, and provide services that are personalized, more secure, efficient, and cost-effective.

Watch the press conference by clicking here.

Copyright © 2019 Graff Public Solutions, All rights reserved.

CCFSA Honors State Senator Marilyn Moore As the 2019 Family Legislator Of The Year

Cindy Caron

CCFSA was proud to honor State Senator Marilyn Moore on 4/24/19 with the Family Legislator of the Year Award. State Senator Moore said, “It is an honor to be named Family Legislator of the Year. CCFSA does an amazing job providing educational resources and programs to Connecticut’s diverse and growing number of families. In addition to services, CCFSA leads advocacy efforts, on behalf of their membership, about the importance of programs that serve and support the state’s most vulnerable children and families. It is a pleasure to work with CCFSA and its Member Agencies to connect people with life improving services.” Click here to read the  official press release .

CCFSA was proud to honor State Senator Marilyn Moore on 4/24/19 with the Family Legislator of the Year Award. State Senator Moore said, “It is an honor to be named Family Legislator of the Year. CCFSA does an amazing job providing educational resources and programs to Connecticut’s diverse and growing number of families. In addition to services, CCFSA leads advocacy efforts, on behalf of their membership, about the importance of programs that serve and support the state’s most vulnerable children and families. It is a pleasure to work with CCFSA and its Member Agencies to connect people with life improving services.” Click here to read the official press release.

GPS Newsletter

Cindy Caron

GPS NEws Letter.jpg

What's New...

Dems Propose Capital Gains Tax
By: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie
April 18, 2019

The Democrat-controlled Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee is ignoring Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and proposing a bill that would impose an additional 2% capital gains tax on Connecticut’s wealthiest residents.

The bill, which is scheduled for a public hearing next Friday, will impose the additional tax on income derived from capital gains on single filers who earn more than $500,000 and couples with income over $1 million. Currently capital gains are taxed for this income bracket at 6.99 %.

The proposal has support from the Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, but Lamont and Republican lawmakers are not in favor.

“I don’t think it’s good policy,” Lamont said Thursday in an interview at the Legislative Office Building. “For 25 years we’ve said we’re going to tax capital gains, dividends and interest income at the same rate. This would break sort of a 25-year tradition.”

He said Connecticut’s rate is higher than the rate in Massachusetts, but lower than New York’s.

Read More...

Health & Human Services

Investments High In CT Medical Pot Growers, Dispensaries, CT Post, 4/21/2019

“Nearly seven years after the General Assembly approved the state’s medical marijuana program, Connecticut has more than 34,400 patients and nearly 1,100 consulting physicians enrolled in what is a national model for palliative use of the drug…”

The Autism Community Needs More Than Ribbons, It Needs Support, Hartford Courant, 4/20/2019

“If it seems you are hearing more about autism than you once did, you’re right — and it’s not only because April is autism awareness month…”

CT Faith-Based Pregnancy Center Sues City Of Hartford, CT Post, 4/19/2019

“A faith-based pregnancy center in Willimantic has asked a federal judge for an injunction against a controversial Hartford ordinance that requires the religious facilities to disclose whether their staff carry medical licenses…”

Price Too High For Undocumented Children’s Health Care, CT Lawmakers Say, CT Post, 4/18/2019

“Despite early enthusiasm and a brawny push from the nonprofit health community, lawmakers now say a plan to extend state-sponsored health coverage to about 18,000 undocumented children is unlikely to succeed this year…”

Proponents Push Health Benefits To Sweeten CT Sugar Drink Tax, CT Post, 4/16/2019

“The legislature’s chief advocate for a tax on sweetened beverages is trying hard to push the initiative as a broader behavioral health care agenda and not a money grab for the cash-starved state…”

Education

Schools Need To Share Services, But That Doesn’t Mean Moving Students
Hartford Courant, 4/21/2019

“When I worked at the state Department of Education, whenever we discovered something incredibly inefficient, we would sigh and cite “local control…”

Connecticut Higher Education System Names New Leaders To Oversee Regional Clusters Of Colleges
Republican American, 4/18/2019

“The state’s plan to merge 12 community colleges into one accredited institution by 2023 moved forward Thursday with the appointment of new leaders to oversee new regional clusters of colleges…”

Regents Move Forward With Merger Plan; Raise Tuition
CT Mirror, 4/18/2019

“The Board of Regents for Higher Education forged ahead Thursday with controversial plans to merge the state’s 12 community colleges by hiring three regional presidents — newly created positions, each with yearly salaries of $220,000…”

Connecticut Education Chief Accepts Saint Joseph Job
WTNH, 4/16/2019

“Connecticut's education commissioner, Dianna Wentzell, is planning to go to work for the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford…”

Budget

Legislators Break With Lamont And Propose Higher Taxes On Wealthy Connecticut Residents, Hartford Courant, 4/19/2019

“Democratic legislators are proposing a tax increase on the investment income of Connecticut’s wealthiest households to help close the state budget deficit, putting them on a collision course with a Democratic governor opposed to raising any tax rate…”

Federal Reserve Economist Paints Sober Picture Of Connecticut, A State Still Struggling To Recover Jobs Lost In 2008 Recession, Hartford Courant, 4/18/2019

“A Federal Reserve economist Thursday painted a sobering picture of a Connecticut economy that continues to struggle nearly a decade after the last recession, still losing higher-paying jobs and replacing them with ones that pay less…”

CT Projected To Pay $45.6M In Hartford Debt Aid In Fiscal 2020, Hartford Business Journal, 4/17/2019

“The state is projected to contribute $45.6 million to the Capital City in fiscal 2020 as part of its long-term commitment to pay off Hartford's general obligation (GO) debt, according to the mayor's proposed budget…”

Who Pays The Next CT Tax Hike? Democrats Must Answer Question Soon, CT Mirror, 4/16/2019

“Majority Democratic lawmakers, who’ve flinched at — but not ruled out — tax proposals that fall heaviest on the poor and middle class, face a watershed moment in the next two weeks…”

A Soda Tax Could Raise $163M A Year For Connecticut. Opponents Say It Would Be An Unfair Burden On Businesses And Families, Hartford Courant, 4/16/2019

“With only six weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are battling over whether to approve a new tax on sugary drinks, including soda…”

Retirees

Relocating Retirees: Where Americans Are Moving To Retire, Fox Business, 4/19/2019

“About 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every dayOpens a New Window., according to data from the Government Accountability Office, and some who are retiringOpens a New Window. are packing their bags and relocating…”

Retirees Are Flocking To These 3 States-And Fleeing These 3 States In Droves, NBC Connecticut, 4/17/2019

“Step aside, Florida. New Mexico is the new top retirement destination. Those were the findings from a survey by United Van Lines. The relocation company polled 26,998 of its customers who moved last year, through Nov. 30, 2018…”

Miscellaneous

Bradley Airport Officials Begin Formal Talks With Tweed, CT News Junkie, 4/19/2019

“Connecticut Airport Authority officials will soon begin formal negotiations on an offer to take over operations at Tweed New Haven Airport…”

Job Losses Mark First Three Months Of 2019, CT News Junkie, 4/19/2019

“Connecticut lost 3,400 jobs in the first three months of the year, according to a report from the Department of Labor…”

Lamont Tries Constructive Engagement With Trump, CT Mirror, 4/18/2019

“Gov. Ned Lamont, whose signature proposal to implement congestion-priced tolls on Connecticut’s highways turns on approval by the Federal Highway Administration, declined Thursday to join other Democrats in assailing Attorney General William P. Barr’s newest take on Robert S. Mueller’s investigation of President Trump…”

In Case You Missed It

Legislation Shielding People With Pre-Existing Conditions Clears House
By: Jenna Carlesso, CT Mirror
April 17, 2019

Lawmakers in Connecticut’s House of Representatives passed a measure Wednesday to safeguard people with pre-existing conditions who are on short-term health insurance policies, sometimes called temporary health insurance.

They could not say how many people the bill would protect, but pointed to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that as many as 522,000 people younger than 65 in Connecticut have pre-existing conditions such as cancer or heart disease. It was unclear how many of those residents are on the short-term plans.

Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, a key backer of the bill, said it would help “give our constituents peace of mind” as the Trump administration encourages more families to buy inexpensive, temporary health policies.

On those plans, people with pre-existing conditions may be denied coverage or charged higher prices.

Read More...

Latest News From The Governor's Office

Governor Lamont Nominates Marissa Paslick Gillett To Serve As A Commissioner Of The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

"Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is nominating Marissa Paslick Gillett of Baltimore, Maryland to serve as a commissioner of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the state entity responsible for regulating the rates and services of Connecticut’s investor-owned electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunications companies..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont And Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Solicit Input From Transition Policy Committees As They Near Their 100th Day In Office

"As they approach the 100th day of their administration, Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz convened a meeting with the co-chairs from each committee of their Transition Policy Working Groups to review the progress of the first 100 days and discuss priorities going forward..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont: A Bigger Table, Open Door, And Creative Solutions Enabled Us To Advance A Better Deal To Keep Millstone Open For Another Decade

"Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz today were invited by executives and employees from Dominion Energy to visit the Millstone nuclear facility in Waterford to celebrate an agreement reached by Dominion and the state’s two electric utilities last month to keep the facility open for another decade..."

Read More...

Latest News From The Office Of Legislative Research

On a weekly basis the Office of Legislative Research ("OLR"), the Connecticut General Assembly's nonpartisan research arm releases reports on a wide variety of topics. Any member of the Connecticut General Assembly can ask the OLR for information on any given topic to get a clear understanding of what laws we have here in Connecticut and how we compare to other states. The reports issued by the OLR can serve as a preview of potential future legislation so we frequently check OLR’s website for updates.

Income Tax Deductions For Social Security And Pension Income

Meet Representative Anne Hughes


hughes.jpg


Anne Hughes is a first-term State Representative serving Easton, Weston, and Redding’s 135th district. She serves as a member on the Aging, Human Services, and Insurance and Real Estate Committees in the 2019 legislative session. Anne works as a Licensed Master Social Worker for Jewish Senior Services’ Institute on Aging and as Coordinator for the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention. She also joined Easton’s DTC in 2016 to serve on Easton’s Commission on Aging.

Anne has devoted herself to public service throughout her life as exemplified by her decision to write a letter to President Nixon at the age of seven requesting him to consider the use of boxing gloves in lieu of semi-automatic rifles for wars. She was the Program Director at CLASP Homes INc, for over a decade which provides support homes for adults with autism and developmental disabilities. Anne co-founded the Norwalk Peacemakers and began The Goddess Faire art collaborative to host annual pop-up neighborhood art and music festivals.

She graduated Cum Laude from College of New Rochelle with Bachelors in Art and Political Science and earned her Master of Social Work at University of New England in 2014. She resides in Easton with her husband Tim with whom she has pursued a lifetime of community service.

Copyright © 2019 Graff Public Solutions, All rights reserved.

CCFSA Intern - Fabiola Bachinelo - Makes UCONN's NASPAA - Top 5

Cindy Caron

UConn’s NASPAA-Batten Team Makes Top 5

2019 NASPAA-Batten Competition Team Members (left to right): Fabiola Bachinelo, Joshua Schreier, Claudia Rodriguez, Miranda Richard, and Sneha Jayaraj.

2019 NASPAA-Batten Competition Team Members (left to right): Fabiola Bachinelo, Joshua Schreier, Claudia Rodriguez, Miranda Richard, and Sneha Jayaraj.

In February, UConn’s Department of Public Policy (DPP) sent a team of students to the 2019: “The Refugee Simulation” NASPAA-Batten Competition at Rutgers University. The team included Fabiola Bachinelo, Sneha Jayaraj, Claudia Rodriguez, Miranda Richard, and Joshua Schreier.

The simulation was centered on a fictional refugee crisis. Students participated in multiple rounds of competition, alternating roles throughout each round. During the 13 hour event, the DPP team competed against students from more than 20 universities, making it to the final round of competition consisting of five teams.

“Beyond competitive performance however, the competition gave us the opportunity to practice collaboration and team work in a fast paced environment, similar to settings we will, without doubt, encounter in our professional work after UConn,” explained Schreier. The students were able to display their critical thinking, policy writing, and public speaking skills.

The DPP team was generously funded by UConn’s Pi Pi Alpha (PPA) Board Members. PPA funding allowed the students to travel to Newark, New Jersey, and attend the simulation competition as well as a networking event for the competitors.

In April, another student driven team will begin competing in the NYU Policy Case Competition. Good luck to the DPP team!

April is Fair Housing Month

Christopher Brechlin

fair housing month flyer.jpg

The month of April is National Fair Housing Month. This month is a designated time to recognize the advancements of equal housing access and to remind ourselves of the purpose of the Fair Housing Act. Enacted by Congress in 1968, the Fair Housing Act applies to housing and housing-related activities including:

·         Apartment and home rentals

·         Mortgage lending

·         Home owners insurance

·         Real estate sales

The Fair Housing Act was enacted to protect persons form housing related discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status (children), or disability. 

Examples of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act include:

·         Refusal to rent or sell housing

·         Refusal to negotiate for housing

·         Making housing unavailable

·         Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a property

·         Providing different housing services or facilities

·         Falsely denying housing is available for inspection, sale or rental of a property

·         Persuading owners to sell or rent their home for profit

·         Denying access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale of housing

·         Advertising or making any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability or blindness. This prohibition applies to single family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

 

Fair Housing Resources:

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

To learn more about the office and Fair Housing rights or to file a Fair Housing violation complaint, visit this siteYou may also contact the Housing Discrimination Hotline via email at fheo_webmanager@hud.gov or at 1-800-669-9777 (Voice) or 1-800-927-9275 (TTY).

10 Activities to Promote Fair Housing

View document here. Provided by the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston.

National Fair Housing Alliance

The NFHA provides information about fair housing rights, resources and news. Learn more here.

Nonprofit Advocacy Day

Fabiola Bachinelo

Barry Simon (second from right to left) our Board Chair and President CEO of Oak Hill participating in Nonprofit Advocacy Day on April 10, 2019 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, CT

Barry Simon (second from right to left) our Board Chair and President CEO of Oak Hill participating in Nonprofit Advocacy Day on April 10, 2019 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, CT

State Senator Marilyn Moore our 2019 Family Legislator of the Year honoree showing her support on Nonprofit Advocacy Day

State Senator Marilyn Moore our 2019 Family Legislator of the Year honoree showing her support on Nonprofit Advocacy Day

GPS Newsletter

Cindy Caron

April 8, 2019

What's New...

Fiscal Note Points To Risk In Public Option Bills
By: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie
April 8, 2019

The Office of Fiscal Analysis says it will only cost Connecticut $1.5 million to open up the state employee health plan to small businesses in the first year, but analysts are concerned about what happens if claims outpace premiums.

The state plan is self-insured, which means the state is responsible for paying out the claims.

The fiscal note says “as a self-insured pool, the state currently bears the risk for costs incurred in excess of plan premiums. The state does not currently have stop-loss insurance. To the extent claims are in excess of the premiums established, there will be a cost to the state.”

Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, the ranking Republican on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, said that’s exactly what he’s worried about, too.

“We don’t know how many people are going to participate and what happens when costs exceed premium,” Kelly said.

He said the cost of the state comptroller’s office handling the actuarial analysis and adding staff for plan design is not the cost he’s concerned about. He said he’s concerned about whether the taxpayer will be on the hook to cover the costs if the state comptroller’s office is unable to accurately predict the risk.

Read More...

Health & Human Services

CT Public Health Plan Runs Risk Of Claims Outpacing Premiums, CT Post, 4/8/2019

“The Office of Fiscal Analysis says it will only cost Connecticut $1.5 million to open up the state employee health plan to small businesses in the first year, but analysts are concerned about what happens if claims outpace premiums…”

Smoking Pot Vs. Tobacco: What Science Says About Lighting Up, NBC Connecticut, 4/8/2019

“As more states make it legal to smoke marijuana, some government officials, researchers and others worry what that might mean for one of the country's biggest public health successes: curbing cigarette smoking…”

Connecticut Lawmakers: Bar Anti-Choice Clinics From Lying To Pregnant People, Rewire News, 4/8/2019

“Connecticut legislators advanced a bill that would curb deceptive advertising by the state’s anti-choice pregnancy centers…”

Child Poverty In Connecticut Hurts Us All, CT Mirror, 4/8/2019

“Decades of research continue to confirm the obvious; poverty is bad for children. As evidenced by a 2015 report from the Urban Institute, the more time children spend living in poverty, the worse their outcomes are across nearly every domain…”

Opinion: Health And Human Services Minimum Wage Is Imperative, Patch, 4/8/2019

“The time has come to establish a minimum wage for state Medicaid-funded health and human (HHS) services…”

State’s Opioid Prescriptions Down But Number Of Deaths High, Hartford Courant, 4/8/2019

“New statistics show physicians in Connecticut are continuing to prescribe fewer opioids to their patients, but the number of deaths associated with the powerful painkillers continues to remain high in the state…”

Unregulated Nail Salons In Connecticut Pose Labor, Health Risks, WNPR, 4/3/2019

“Near a fleet of glossy parked vehicles in a Wallingford Toyota showroom, Fredina Mendez sits in the corner at a manicure table. Her job is to offer manicures to people waiting for their cars to be serviced. She thinks it’s a great customer service idea, but it’s not her dream job…”

National Public Health Week, WTNH, 4/2/2019

“The Naugatuck Valley Health District is educating the people of Connecticut on important health topics for National Public Health Week…”

Education

After The Donation, The $100 Million Question, CT Mirror, 4/8/2019

“The Dalio Foundation’s pledge last Friday to donate $100 million toward Connecticut’s schools is being hailed as good news, but it also opens a Pandora’s Box of questions that lawmakers must answer with less than two months before the legislative session adjourns…”

Tesoro: Tell Elected Reps Not To Cut Trumbull Education Aid, Trumbull Patch, 4/8/2019

“First Selectman Vicki Tesoro is urging Trumbull residents to call their elected representatives in an effort to reduce the cut in education aid to Trumbull…”

Connecticut Receives $100 Million Contribution For Education, Fairfield Current, 4/7/2019

“Among the world’s richest couples is donating $100 million to support education and businesses in a number of Connecticut’s most disadvantaged areas…”

Dalio Philanthropies Donates $100M To Connecticut Schools, WSHU, 4/7/2019

“Hedge fund mogul Ray Dalio and his wife, Barbara, have pledged to donate $100 million to help public education in Connecticut…”

CT Education Board Cancels Meeting Due To Lack Of Members, CT Post, 4/2/2019

“The State Board of Education has canceled its Wednesday meeting because Gov. Ned Lamont hasn’t yet appointed enough members for the board to have a quorum…”

Budget

It’s Time For A People’s Budget And It’s Doable, CT Mirror, 4/8/2019

“To close observers of state politics, Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget proposal was no surprise. More cuts in vital services and investments, but no tax increases for the wealthy. The General Assembly will undoubtedly produce a rather different document, but for now the governor’s budget is still the only game in town. However, progressives might look to Washington for inspiration…”

Middletown Anti-Toll Resolution Says Gov. Lamont’s Tax Plan Will Hurt The Working Class, Hartford Courant, 4/6/2019

“Middletown officials are considering a resolution opposing highway tolls like a number of cities and towns have adopted across Connecticut, but this one is pointed in its criticism of Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposed budget, which it says is regressive and will harm the working class and small businesses…”

Advocates: Wealthy Need To Pay ‘Fair Share’ In CT Budget, CT Post, 4/5/2019

“On the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., a group of advocates and clergy asked lawmakers from both parties to deliver a state budget that honors his legacy…”

CT Estate Tax Could Get Eliminated, CT Post, 4/4/2019

“The Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee filed a handful of bills this week, including one that would eliminate the estate tax and also borrow $200 million for STEM scholarships…”

Retirees

Many Retirees Taking Classes...But Not To Earn A Degree, Hartford Courant, 4/2/2019

"For many years, Tom Anderson of Woodbury sent off his 11-year-old granddaughter, Mackenzie, to school with a simple directive to go forth and learn..."

Build Your Retirement Nest Egg With Trump's Tax Law, Newsmax Finance, 4/2/2019

"Financial experts agree that all Americans should build a strong retirement fund so they can avoid money woes in their golden years..."

Miscellaneous

House Minority Leader Focuses On Increased Penalties For Fentanyl, CT News Junkie, 4/4/2019

"It makes little sense to some legislators that they’ve spent the past few years passing numerous bills to combat the opioid epidemic but have done nothing to increase the penalties for those who traffic fentanyl — the drug that contributes more than any other to drug-overdose fatalities..."

Drug Treatment For Inmates Could Save Lives, CT News Junkie, 4/4/2019

"A bill that would give opioid-addicted inmates access to medication-assisted treatment and counseling received widespread support from medical and law enforcement officials Wednesday..."

CT Would Benefit From Increased Sub Production, But Hurdles Remain In Congress, CT Mirror, 4/3/2019

"Connecticut is certain to benefit from the Navy’s plans to step up submarine production, but there are fiscal hurdles and other challenges to overcome before the state can count on that ramped up production..."


In Case You Missed It

SEEC Says Campaigns Can't Pay For Childcare
By: Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror
April 3, 2019

Despite a push by Hillary Clinton on Twitter and direct lobbying by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and others, the State Elections Enforcement Commission unanimously concluded Wednesday that publicly financed candidates for state office in Connecticut cannot use campaign funds for child care under current rules.

Gov. Ned Lamont and Bysiewicz quickly urged the General Assembly to accept the commission’s invitation to change the state’s campaign finance laws to make child care a legitimate campaign expense under the terms of the Citizens’ Election Program, a reform passed in 2005 to provide public campaign financing for state offices.

“Preventing parents from using these funds to care for their children while they operate a campaign puts a barrier in place that will end up discouraging people from running for office — the exact opposite of what this program was intended to accomplish,” Lamont said. “We should be doing more to encourage women to run for office, and that is why I am urging the General Assembly to fix this wrong.

“Send me legislation clearly stating that childcare is a permitted campaign expenditure, and I will sign it into law.”

Read More...


Latest News From The Governor's Office

State Of Connecticut Partners With Dalio Philanthropies To Strengthen Public Education And Promote Greater Economic Opportunity

"Ray and Barbara Dalio of Dalio Philanthropies today joined Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, First Lady Annie Lamont, leaders in the General Assembly, students and other stakeholders to announce the launch of a partnership strengthening public education and promoting greater economic opportunity in Connecticut..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont And Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Urge General Assembly To Adopt Legislation Clarifying That Childcare Is A Legitimate Campaign Expense

"In response to a decision today by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) stating that candidates in Connecticut cannot utilize the Citizens Election Program (CEP) to cover childcare costs when running for office, Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz are urging the General Assembly to adopt legislation affirming in statute that childcare costs are a permitted campaign expenditure under the program..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont Announces Stanley Black & Decker CEO And Yale School Of Management Associate Dean Join Board Of CERC

"Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC) co-chairs Indra Nooyi and Jim Smith today announced that Jim Loree, president and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Sr., associate dean at Yale School of Management, are joining the board of CERC, a nonprofit corporation that seeks to foster business formation, recruitment, and growth in Connecticut..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont And Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Mark Equal Pay Day At Woman-Owned Business

"Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz today visited Penn Globe Gaslight Company, an independent woman-owned business in North Branford, to mark Equal Pay Day – the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year..."

Read More...

Latest News From The Office Of Legislative Research

On a weekly basis the Office of Legislative Research ("OLR"), the Connecticut General Assembly's nonpartisan research arm releases reports on a wide variety of topics. Any member of the Connecticut General Assembly can ask the OLR for information on any given topic to get a clear understanding of what laws we have here in Connecticut and how we compare to other states. The reports issued by the OLR can serve as a preview of potential future legislation so we frequently check OLR’s website for updates.

Reciprocity For Public Water Treatment Plant Operator Certification

Meet Representative Anthony Nolan

A. Nolan.jpg

Anthony Nolan is a first-term State Representative serving New London’s 39th district. He serves as a member on the Aging, Appropriations, and Insurance and Real Estate Committees in the 2019 legislative session. Nolan has spent his entire life in public service. He served on the U.S. Navy and continues to work for the New London Police force. He was a four-term member on New London’s City Council and even served as President during a difficult time. Nolan is a deacon at Shiloh Baptist and youth advocate for many youth programs in the city.

Youth advocacy is a priority for Nolan who represented children’s interests on the Board of Education. He has also volunteered in countless programs including the New London Youth Collaborative and the city Youth Talent Show.

Nolan was awarded the NAACP Freedom Fund Award, NAACP Danny Jenkins Memorial Award, and the Rotary Club of New London Unsung Hero Award.

Copyright © 2019 Graff Public Solutions, All rights reserved.

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Meet Representative Leslee Hill

Cindy Caron

hill.jpg

Leslee Hill was elected to her first term in November of 2018. She currently serves on the General Assembly’s Judiciary, Education, and Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committees. Prior to being elected as State Representative to the 17th Assembly District, comprised of Canton and Avon, she was the first female Republican elected to serve as the First Selectman of the Town of Canton in 2015. In addition to serving as Canton’s chief elected official, Representative Hill was appointed to Canton’s Board of Education in 2008. She was then elected, and served for two consecutive terms on the board in 2009 and 2013, respectively.

Before public service, Representative Hill practiced law. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Providence College and went on to earn her J.D. from Western New England University. As a licensed attorney she has been admitted to the Connecticut state courts, U.S. District Court, 2ndCircuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court. She has worked in private practice focusing on general commercial law, contracts, collection, and complex foreclosure litigation.

Representative Hill has lived in Canton since 2004, and was also a resident from 1995-1998. She is married to Richard Hill, who is a partner at KPMG in Hartford. They have two daughters, Katie, age 21, and Ainsley, age 17.

Latest News From The Office Of Legislative Research

Cindy Caron

On a weekly basis the Office of Legislative Research ("OLR"), the Connecticut General Assembly's nonpartisan research arm releases reports on a wide variety of topics. Any member of the Connecticut General Assembly can ask the OLR for information on any given topic to get a clear understanding of what laws we have here in Connecticut and how we compare to other states. The reports issued by the OLR can serve as a preview of potential future legislation so we frequently check OLR’s website for updates. 

Latest News From The Governor's Office

Cindy Caron

Governor Lamont And Congressional Delegation Announce $5.8 Million Federal Grant To Support Connecticut's Efforts Against The Opioid Crisis
"Governor Ned Lamont and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation today announced that the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) is receiving a $5.8 million federal grant that will be used to enhance the state’s efforts to fight the opioid crisis..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont Applauds Momentum For Supporting Working Families As Paid Family And Medical Leave Bill Is Approved In Committee
"Governor Ned Lamont is applauding the General Assembly’s labor committee for voting today to approve legislation he introduced that will establish a paid family and medical leave program in the state..."

Read More...

Governor Lamont Amends Education Proposal On Shared Services; Encourages School Collaboration And Reallocation Of Resources To The Classroom
"Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is submitting revised language to the General Assembly on his proposal encouraging shared services in Connecticut schools. The new proposal, which was developed in collaboration with stakeholders, addresses concerns raised by members of the community while continuing to encourage collaboration and shared services among schools..."

Read More...

In Case You Missed It

Cindy Caron

Is CT's Slowing Job Growth A Sign Of Something Worse? 
By: Keith Phaneuf, CT Mirror
March 22, 2019

A recent report showing the state grew far fewer jobs in 2018 than originally anticipated is only the tip of a more dangerous economic iceberg, one key Connecticut economist warns.

The revised data from the Department of Labor is the latest link in a chain that demonstrates job growth — according to one metric — is slowing to its lowest level in nearly a decade, according to Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist with DataCore Partners.

“If the job numbers are the canary in the coal mine,” said Klepper-Smith, who was the state’s chief economic adviser in the late 2000s under Gov. M. Jodi Rell, “then you have a clear deceleration in the Connecticut economy.”

Economists and labor officials routinely compare employment levels at key points in time — such as jobs filled now versus jobs filled last March.

Read More...

Miscellaneous

Cindy Caron

Corporate Decision Kills Effort To Change Connecticut’s Automotive Franchise Laws, CT News Junkie, 3/22/2019
“The battle between electric car maker Tesla and Connecticut’s auto dealerships came to an abrupt halt following Tesla’s Feb. 28 announcement that it was changing its strategy in favor of an online-only sales model…”

Report: Car Theft Up In Suburbs, Down In Cities, CT News Junkie, 3/22/2019
“The suburbs of central Connecticut are now the “hot spot” for car thefts, while authorities in nearly every major city are seeing fewer vehicles stolen, according to a preliminary report released Thursday to the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee…”

Panel: No Pay Hikes For Legislators, Statewide Officers, CT Mirror, 3/21/2019
“A state study panel is recommending no pay raises be given next term to either the General Assembly or constitutional officers…”

Retirees

Cindy Caron

Connecticut Has Lowest Pension Funding In The Country, According To Report, Yankee Institute, 3/22/2019
“Connecticut has the worst-funded pension system in the country, maintaining its position from last year at the bottom of the list even as state pension payments continue to increase…”

Connecticut Money: Heading South May Stretch Retirement Dollars, New Haven Register, 3/20/2019
“There seems to be a buzz lately about Connecticut residents moving South. In some cases, it’s “the grass is always greener” and they end up returning home because they miss family, friends, four seasons, big metropolitan cities nearby or higher wages…”

State Becoming More Affordable For Seniors And Retirees, Hartford Courant, 3/20/2019
“Over the past few years, I’ve seen letters from many of your readers complaining about the high cost of living in Connecticut, especially for seniors and retirees. Many readers claim they plan to leave for more affordable states…”

Budget

Cindy Caron

AFL-CIO Chief: Lamont Would Roll Back Contracting Corruption Safeguards, CT Mirror, 3/25/2019
“One of Connecticut’s highest-ranking labor officials charged Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration Monday with trying to roll back crucial clean contracting reforms enacted in the wake of the corrupt administration of former Gov. John G. Rowland…”

A Transportation Solution To Move Connecticut Forward, CT Mirror, 3/22/2019
“Creating and maintaining a modern and efficient system of transportation will be one of the keys to the future prosperity of Connecticut’s economy…”

For The Second Time, Health Program For CT Seniors In The Budget Bulls-Eye, 3/21/2019
“Elizabeth Brandt lives modestly on the income she receives from Social Security, drives a 16-year-old car and has to tap savings for unexpected costs, such as the hearing aids she needs to fully participate in conversations…”

Far From Perfect CT Budget Scrutinized At State Capitol, News 12, 3/20/2019
“Connecticut residents, especially small business owners, had plenty to say Friday during the first public hearing on Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposed budget…”

Education

Cindy Caron

CT Preschool Advocates Press For Better Pay, Family Affordability, CT Post, 3/23/2019
“Jacqueline Valle’s love for early childhood education began in the basement of Good Shepherd Christian Church on Hancock Avenue in Bridgeport…”

Don’t Make Special Education About Bottom Line, Trumbull Patch, 3/23/2019
“I recently had the opportunity to review Governor Lamont's Transition Policy Committee Reporting Template which is available here...”

Major Changes Coming To CT School Regionalization, Hartford Patch, 3/20/2019
“Gov. Ned Lamont has pivoted his school regionalization proposal after opposition from residents who want to keep their school systems independent…”

Governor Lamont Drops “Redistricting” From Controversial Bill To Get Schools To Share Services, CT Mirror, 3/20/2019
“Gov. Ned Lamont has recast his proposal encouraging school districts to share services, eliminating some of the words — like “redistricting” and “consolidation” — that prompted widespread controversy and protest…”

Governor Revises School Regionalization Proposal Following Criticism, WFSB, 3/20/2019
“Following widespread criticism for a statewide school regionalization plan, the governor is amending the proposal…”

Health & Humans Services

Cindy Caron

Don’t Legalize Pot, CT Mirror, 3/25/2018
“On March 16, a press conference opposing legalizing marijuana was held in Wallingford, with remarks by Mayor William Dickinson, North Haven’s First Selectman Michael Freda, State Sen. Len Fasano, Reps Mary Mushinsky and Craig Fishbein, the Rev. Todd Foster of New Haven, 19-year-old Jordan Davidson, and others…”

Feds Award CT $5.8M To Expand Opioid Treatment, Hartford Business Journal, 3/25/2019
“Connecticut is set to receive another $5.8 million grant from the federal government to expand access to opioid treatment and recovery services, according to state officials…”

CT Gets No Clean Bill Of Financial Health From Doctors, WFSB, 3/25/2019
“Doctors may be among the highest-paid and most educated professionals in the country, but Connecticut is far from the best state for them…”

481 Measles Cases Reported During 2019, Precision Vaccinations, 3/23/2019
“According to various health agencies and news publishers, measles cases have been reported by 16 states during 2019…”

Network Proposed To Help LGBTQ Community, The Day, 3/22/2019
“Almost six months ago, Patrick J. Dunn, executive director of the New Haven Pride Center, got a call from a 16-year-old who had just come out as gay to his family…”

State Public Health Committee Oks Raising Smoking Age, News 12, 3/22/2019
“Connecticut is one step closer to raising the smoking age to 21. The state Public Health Committee approved the change today…”

With The State’s Medicaid Rides Service Under Fire, Farmington Independent Living Center Ventures Into Medical Transportation, Hartford Courant, 3/22/2019
“In the quiet of its 26 acres, its tenants in wheelchairs emerging from tidy apartments, heading for art therapy, or to the gymnasium known as the “great room,” or to board meetings, there is one variable at New Horizons Village, one wild card, one outlier…”

Connecticut Flu Deaths Rise To 55 This Season, WTNH, 3/21/2019
“The number of flu deaths in Connecticut has risen once again.  On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Public Health said that 11 more people have died from the flu this week, bringing the total to 55 flu deaths in Connecticut…”  

CT Public Health Insurance Option Moves Forward, CT Post, 3/20/2019
“Legislation that would extend state health benefits to small businesses, nonprofits and individuals cleared a key hurdle Tuesday, winning a favorable vote from the Insurance and Real Estate Committee…”

Governor's Paid FMLA Headed To Senate

Cindy Caron

By: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie
March 21, 2019

Gov. Ned Lamont told business leaders Wednesday that paid Family Medical Leave was going to pass, and on Thursday the Labor and Public Employees Committee forwarded his bill to the Senate.

With little fanfare or debate, the Labor and Public Employees Committee voted along party lines to approve the measure, which creates a paid FMLA program for an estimated 103,600 employers with approximately 1,456,000 employees. 

Under the legislation, all employees in Connecticut would contribute 0.5 percent of their weekly paycheck to a state-run trust fund, which would pay them during their approved leave. The governor’s bill says an employee could earn 90 percent of their typical earnings up to $600 per week for anyone making around $15 an hour and 67 percent up to $900 for workers earning more than that.

The other two pieces of legislation offer a wage replacement level of 100 percent, up to a maximum of $1,000, which is much higher than programs in other states. 

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