Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1135

Title:

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SUSTAINABLE PATH FOR MAINTAINING THE BUDGET RESERVE FUND AND REDUCING THE EFFECT OF REVENUE VOLATILITY ON THE STATE BUDGET.

Vote Date:

4/29/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

4/23/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This legislation provides an act establishing a sustainable path for maintaining the budget reserve fund and reducing the effect of revenue volatility of the state budget. Moreover, this act provides stability in the amount of funds transferred to and maintained in the Budget Reserve Fund and thereby reduces the effect of revenue volatility on the state budget.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Testimony of State Comptroller Kevin Lembo

State Comptroller Lembo urges the committee to support this legislation. Mr. Lembo adds that this bill allows the state to fully realize the potential of the “Rainy Day” fund as a mechanism to protect against revenue losses during economic downturns by increasing the cap on the rainy day balance and making deposists into the fund of higher budgetary priority during good economic times. In addition, the bill seeks to assist in paying down unfunded liabilities by directing a small portion of excess revenues as identified by the new deposit formula toward unfunded payments

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Testimony of Abby Anderson

On behalf of Executive Director for the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Assistance

Ms. Anderson is in support of this bill, aligning with her statement to reduce the number of youth who enter crime and ensure the juvenile justice system is safe, fair, and effective for those who are involved. Furthermore, she favors this bill citing the harmful toll it would have on crucial public services. In addition, Anderson adds the juvenile justice system has made great strides as a fewer youths face incarceration

Testimony on behalf of Penny Parkes

Ms. Parkes supports this bill, citing the consequence of cuts it will have on effected families. She adds the difficult task of maintaining stability in her own family as a parent of a child with a disability, which included long and often sleepless nights. Furthermore, any lack of funding will also subsequently defer them from putting money elsewhere, such as other businesses.

Testimony on behalf of Mark and Janet Plummer

Both Mark and Janet Plummer support this bill, citing the money involved with DDS should be restored and kept at a high level for the future. Having a child with a disability, the Plummer's cite any cuts would make it more difficult to care for their child. Both believe the government has an obligation to protect those who can do very little to take care of themselves. Therefore, a restoring of state funding is not only essential, but morally right.

Testimony on behalf of Alfred D. and Geraldine J. Ulozas

The Ulozas family supports this bill, citing the harmful cuts to DDS will have on their family. They cite the DDS list for potential patients has only gown and burdened families who need residential care and services.

Testimony on behalf of Alicia Draughn

Ms. Draughn is in favor of this bill, citing the state should do anything possible to enhance the state budget and provide stability in accordance with this legislation. She cites the tremendous time it takes to care for patients as a Certified Nursing Assistant and the revenue needed for the state budget would pay caregivers a fair wage and take care of Connecticut's elderly.

Testimony on behalf of Anthony Ligon

Mr. Ligon supports this bill, citing any cuts would potentially harm his job as a homecare provider. In addition, Mr. Ligon would like to see homecare workers make a minimum of $15/Hr as he goes through the basic struggles just to make ends meet.

Testimony of Asia Gouborn

Ms. Gouborn supports this legislation, citing that a raise of revenue would avoid cuts to her program and are deeply unfair.

Testimony of President Barry Simon

On behalf of Oak Hill

Mr. Simon supports this legislation, citing it would avoid harmful cuts to essential health and human services. This includes cuts to Medicaid rates and Voluntary Service Programs.

Testimony of Ben Shaiken

On behalf of Connecticut Community Providers Association

Mr. Shaiken supports this bill, citing the cuts to Medicaid rates and Voluntary Service programs as well as school based health programs and Developmental Disabilities residential rates.

Testimony on behalf of Better Choices for Connecticut

Better Choices for Connecticut supports the proposal reforms to the Budget Reserve Fund (BRF) deposit formula in S.B. 1135. Cutting investments in children, families, the mentally ill, the disabled, and the poor while still saving nothing for the “rainy day” is a poor choice.

Testimony of Bill Buhler

Mr. Buhler supports this legislation, citing flat wages are not good for the economy and the vast desperation of income inequality.

Testimony of Brian Anderson

Mr. Anderson supports this bill; citing restoring taxes on Connecticut's richest citizens would raise state revenue. He adds the wealth disparity is large between the rich and everyone else and any cuts by the state on the poor or mentally ill is unneeded.

Testimony of Carol Platt Liebau

Ms. Liebau supports this bill, citing the state needs to make smart choices and find other ways to spend, such as windfall revenues. This would have more funding into Connecticut's “rainy day”

Testimony of Cheryl Burack

On behalf of the Family Centered Services of Connecticut

Ms. Burack supports this bill, citing the cuts to programs such as the HUSKY health insurance program would be a critical blow to families in need across the state. In order to avoid the harmful effect of these cuts, she asks to raise revenue.

Testimony of Danielle Giordano

On behalf of the National Alliance for Mental Illness

Ms. Giordano supports this bill, citing the proposed cuts to the legislation are deep. She cites the cuts are unfair to children, families, and individuals with disabilities and complex health needs. Further, the cuts are shortsighted and would force the state to pay more down the line then today.

Testimony of David Glidden

On behalf of CSEA SEIU Local 2001

Mr. Glidden supports this bill, citing the bill will lead to greater stability and budgetary implications for all of Connecticut's residents.

Testimony of Dawn DeMatteo

Ms. DeMatteo supports this bill; citing funding must be restored and increased to DDS. Cutting this would only hurt those with disabilities who are already on a long list for DDS service care.

Testimony of Deborah R. Hoyt

On behalf of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home

Ms. Hoyt supports this bill, citing Medicaid home health care provides the most cost effective means of delivering care and achieving significant cost savings to the state's annual budget.

Testimony of Jeffrey Berkley

On behalf of Connecticut's State Dental Association

Mr. Berkley supports this legislation, citing cuts to dental Medicaid are foolish and that ways should be implanted before providing such cuts.

Testimony of Edie Richard

On behalf of Sleeping Giant Day Care Incorporated

Ms. Richard supports this bill citing the deep cuts on programs such as the HUSKY Health Insurance Program and the State Department of Education. Raising this revenue is better option to cuts that are unfair to families.

Testimony of Edith Karsky

On behalf of the Connecticut Association for Community Action

Ms. Karsky supports this bill, citing the deep budget cuts to programs such as the HUSKY Health Insurance Program and to various higher education services.

Testimony of Elysa Gordon

On behalf of Public Policy and Early Childhood

Ms. Gordon supports this bill, citing the deep budget cuts to programs such as the HUSKY Health Insurance Program and to various higher education services. Furthermore, these cuts affect the most vulnerable families, including those with low incomes.

Testimony of Frank and Denise King

Mr. and Mrs. King support this bill, citing the harmful cuts to DDS services.

Testimony of Henry J. Martocchio

Mr. Martocchio supports this bill, citing the harmful cuts to DDS services.

Testimony of Holly Buckley

Ms. Buckley supports this bill, citing the harmful cuts to DDS services. She cites the difficulty this would have on her son if these cuts are made.

Testimony of Jan Vantassel

On behalf of Connecticut Legal Rights Project

Mr. Vantassel supports this bill, citing it would address the basic needs of the state's most vulnerable citizens and promote equality in our taxes. Vantassel regards that the current budget has on impact on elders, people with disabilities, and families with children.

Testimony of Jane McNichol

On behalf of Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut

Ms. McNichol supports this legislation, citing unnecessary cuts to programs such as the HUSKY Health Care Insurance Program. In addition, the budget places an increase on low-income residents but asks for little from individuals, businesses with resources in the state. Instead, McNichol suggests increasing the personal income tax rate on incomes over $500,000 dollars, eliminating certain tax expenditures and imposing a state sales tax on more services.

Testimony of Jeff Shaw

On behalf of Connecticut Nonprofit Human Services Alliance

Mr. Shaw supports this bill, citing it would avoid harmful cuts to critical public services. He adds these proposed cuts are of a magnitude never seen before and propose an extraordinary reduction to current programs and services.

Testimony of Joseph Stango

On behalf of Dora's Hope Choice Centered Medicaid

Mr. Stango supports this bill, asking to maintain current Medicaid Funding Levels. This includes reimbursements to nursing home facilities and health care providers. He believes it is not necessary to cut this program nor needed to cut services on seniors or people with disabilities.

Testimony of June L. Sturtz

Ms. Sturtz supports this legislation, citing that the cuts to DDS are unacceptable and only harm those in need.

Testimony of Katherine Jones-Newton

Ms. Jones-Newton supports this bill, citing it would help increase revenue. In addition, she relies on the healthcare providers in many aspects of her life and would like to see their wages raised as they struggle to make ends meet. If these actions were to put into place, it would lessen the likelihood thee workers need to rely on public assistance.

Testimony of Kathy Queen

On behalf of State Funded Child Development Directors Forum

Ms. Queen supports this bill citing raising revenue would avoid cuts to programs such as the HUSKY Health Insurance Program and other funds for higher education. She adds spending makes up only 1/3 of the budget but over of the cuts. She urges the committee to make other choices to resolve this problem, including a more progressive income tax and the elimination of tax breaks.

Testimony of Kim Hynes

On behalf of Common Cause in Connecticut

Ms. Hynes supports this bill, citing the deep budget cuts to programs such as the HUSKY Health Insurance Program and to various higher education services. Furthermore, these cuts affect the most vulnerable families, including those with low income trying to support children.

Testimony of Laura Cordes

On behalf of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services

Ms. Cordes supports this bill, citing the Governor's current budget cut would be a dramatic step back in addressing sexual assault. Further, sexual assault advocacy and counseling is vital in addressing victim needs. She urges other measures be looked upon to raise the state's economic level, including beverage tax on soda or candy.

Testimony of Lebert Lewin

Mr. Lewin supports this bill, citing low wages to caregivers.

Testimony of Lori Pelletier

On behalf of Connecticut AFL-CIO

Ms. Pelletier supports this legislation, noting that Connecticut needs more revenue and not more cuts. She suggests fair income taxation, increasing capital gains and eliminating unnecessary tax breaks be looked at to fix this problem.

Testimony of Lynn and David Arrezzini

The Arrezzini's support this bill and believe taking money away from DDS is wrong, especially when cuts have already been made in recent years.

Testimony of Marcia Dufore

On behalf of North Central Regional Mental Health Board

Ms. Dufore supports this bill, citing the critical impact this will have on Medicaid rates, mental health and addiction services, among others. She adds that mental health funding is inadequate and needs to be addressed to help people in need.

Testimony of Margaret McCabe

Ms. McCabe urges the committee to not cut the funding to DDS. She includes people with mental health cannot have a reduction in funding and with the long list of people in need, these cuts would be unfortunate.

Testimony of Margaret Watt

On behalf of the Southwest Regional Mental Health Board

Ms. Watt supports this bill explaining in the area of mental health, the proposed reductions in funding would affect the ability of individuals with severe mental illness to access care, housing, and support. While these individuals' needs will not vanish, many of their essential services will. The result will be an increase in more costly services, such as hospitalizations and emergency room use, as well as increased homelessness.

Testimony of Marina Derman

Ms. Derman cites the negative impact a cut to DDS would have on her son, including basic care. She adds any cuts would make it difficult on her family to afford such care.

Testimony of Mark Waxenberg

On behalf of Connecticut Education Association

Mr. Waxenberg supports this bill, citing the need for the state to generate sufficient, dependent and less volatile revenue streams to fund Connecticut schools.

Testimony of Mary Moran Boudreau

On behalf of Connecticut Oral Health Initiative

Ms. Boudreau supports this legislation, citing the budget cuts by the Governor to programs such as the HUSKY Health Care Insurance Program as well as dental health to children, families, and pregnant women.

Testimony of Melodie Peters

On behalf of AFT Connecticut, AFL-CIO

Ms. Peters supports the intent of this legislation. Peters believes the bill will provide stability to the Budget Reserve Fund (Rainy day). Moreover, the governor's budget would cut millions of dollars to programs for education, higher education, healthcare, youth, housing, environment, and aid for cities and towns.

Testimony of Merrill Gay

On behalf of Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance

Ms. Gay supports this legislation, citing the negative impact it would have on programs such as the HUSKY health insurance program and educational services. In addition, she believes the cuts are deep and short sighted because failing to invest would mean more pay in the future. Therefore, she asks the committee to raise revenue on items such as progressive income tax.

Testimony of Michelle Murick

On behalf of United Church of Christ

Ms. Murick supports this bill, citing the negative impact it would have on programs such as the HUSKY health insurance program and educational services. In addition, she believes the cuts are deep and short sighted because failing to invest would mean more pay in the future.

Testimony Milissa Brigante

Ms. Brigante supports this bill, citing the harmful effects it will have if DDS is cut on her child. If cut, her child will no longer be able to go to school or get funding after the age of 21. If not mandated, they would have to find someone to take care of their daughter at home and lose the essential everyday activities the school has taught her.

Testimony of Nancy Minarsky

On behalf of Connecticut Voices for Children

Mr. Defiesta supports this bill, citing the negative impact it would have on programs such as the HUSKY health insurance program and educational services. Cutting such items, as well as those for mentally ill and disabled is a poor choice.

Testimony of Patrick Johnson,Jr

On behalf of Connecticut Association of Nonprofits

Mr. Johnson supports this bill, citing the harmful cuts to critical public services. This includes programs that provide help to people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The impact of these cuts will be profound, not save money, and heighten financial volatility for many nonprofit organizations.

Testimony of Robert Zahradnik

On behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts

Mr. Zahradnik supports this bill, citing the state's rainy day is not designed effectively. He concludes the state is one of 20 to review rainy day deposits based on end of the year surpluses. When this occurs, deposits made are often the last and frequently the lowest proiority in the budget. He recommends policymakers tie rainy day funds to volatility.

Testimony of Robert Senserrich

On behalf of Connecticut Association for Human Services

Mr. Senserrich supports this legislation, citing current funding rules of the rainy day fund. Furthermore, changes in this bill would help reduce the effects that revenue volatility has on the state budget. In addition, the governor's proposal would cut money to programs such as the HUSKY Health Insurance Program and educational services.

Testimony of Shelagh McClure and Tom Fiorentino

Ms. McClure and Mr. Fiorentino support this legislation, both stating that their son is on the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) waiting list for residential services. As of today, that waiting list has over 2,000 people o it, and it will grow, as there is no money in the governor's proposed budget to reduce it by funding any new placements. DDS changes and subsequent cuts, as well as cuts to the Voluntary Service Program (VSP) would be detrimental to people in need.

Testimony of Stephen Monroe Tomczak

Mr. Tomczak supports this bill, citing the best way to increase revenue would be to tax high income families and not cut programs.

Testimony of Steve McKeever

Mr. McKeever supports the intent of this legislation. McKeever believes the bill will provide millions of dollars to programs for education, higher education, healthcare, youth, housing, environment, and aide for cities and towns.

Testimony of Susan Kelly

On behalf of National Alliance on Mental Illness

Ms. Kelly supports this legislation, citing the proposed cuts are deep and unfair. Cuts would be made to people needing mental health services, education, and disability programs. Furthermore, the cuts disproportionally impact vulnerable citizens and will only be damaging in the long run.

Testimony of Susan Lloyd Yolen

On behalf of Public Policy and Advocacy

Ms. Yolen supports this bill citing publicly funded services save money by preventing unintended Medicaid pregnancies. This action helped save Connecticut women and the state an estimated $133 million dollars. Ms. Yolen would like to see cuts be restored so the citizens of the state are kept in mind.

Testimony of Terry Troisi

Ms. Troisi supports this bill, citing the negative impact a cut to DDS would have on her as well as her ability to take care of her son. She wants to cease the future cuts in the system and allocate funds more efficiently and effectively to reach the maximum number of clients who ae counting on these programs.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Expressed

Reported by: Michael Costeines

Date: 4/30/15