THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Friday, September 15, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 8: 53 o'clock p. m. , Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore Robert D. Godfrey in the Chair. )

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

[Gavel] House will come to order. Members and guests please rise and give your attention to the dais where our guest Chaplain, Representative McCarthy Vahey will lead us in prayer.

GUEST CHAPLAIN REP. CRISTIN MCCARTHY VAHEY:

Earlier this week, we remembered those who lost their lives on 9-11. The first certified fatality of the tragedy that struck our Nation was Father Mychal Judge, Chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. That morning, he rushed to the lobby of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and stayed present with those who suffered injuries, as well as those who had died.

This evening, I share his prayer with you. “Lord take me where you want me to go today. Let me meet who you want me to meet. Give me the words to say and keep me out of your way. ” Amen.

ALL:

Amen.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Please remain standing. Representative Vail will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. VAIL (52ND):

(All) I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a couple of announcements of a sad nature, and I'd like to call on Representative Zawistowski for the first one. Representative, you have the floor.

REP. ZAWISTOWSKI (61ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few words about an exceptional young man who recently gave his life in the service of his country. U. S. Navy Petty Officer Dustin Doyon, 26 years old, from Suffield was one of 10 sailors who died on the U. S. S. McCain in the waters off of Singapore. He was the son of Brian and Karen Doyon of Suffield. He was a son, he was a brother, he was a sailor, and he was a friend to many. He was full of life. He lived each day to its fullest. He had a ready smile and always saw the bright side of things. He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved the Navy. He loved his shipmates and most of all he loved his country. Mr. Speaker, I ask that we have a moment of silence to honor Dustin Doyon, as well as the other nine sailors who perished that day on the U. S. S. John McCain.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

As a Navy veteran, I particularly appreciate you doing this for us. If everybody will kindly stand for a moment of silence. [Gavel] Thank you. We have one more. I'd like to call on Representative Ferraro.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. FERRARO (117TH):

I rise as a point of personal privilege. I would like to call attention to one of our own from this General Assembly, Mr. Ray Collins from West Haven Connecticut. He has recently been residing in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He was a member of the General Assembly from 1985 to 2003 and represented my district. I am the second successor to Representative Collins' seat. As all of us know, he also served as a lobbyist here in Hartford. Most of us remember Ray because he had a great sense of humor, an infectious smile, and his dedication to old style politics in which statesmanship exceeded party politics. Ray loved the ocean. He was an avid sailor and Captain Ray has successfully navigated his final voyage. I would like to ask the House to give Ray Collins a moment of silence.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, Representative Ferraro. Ray won an election, lost an election, then came back in 1989, which was my first year. We became fast friends immediately and was so right up to the time he left here for the last time as a lobbyist and this is a particularly disheartening passing for me personally, and I appreciate you bringing this to our attention tonight. So, if we'll all stand for a moment of silence. [Gavel] Thank you very much. Other announcements? Representative Ryan.

REP. RYAN (139TH):

Yes, thank you Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of announcement.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed sir.

REP. RYAN (139TH):

Yes, I just wanted to tell people or remind peopled that this summer Connecticut was the host of the Council of State Government's Eastern Regional Conference, the 57th annual meeting, which was held August 13th to 16th at the Convention Center at Mohegan Sun. Over 500 participants from Eastern United States and Canadian provinces attended. By all measures, this was a very successful event. I want to thank all those who helped and participated. My co-chairs, especially, Senator Gerratana and Representative Staneski, who did exemplary work in helping prepare for this event. We also had other participants, such as the speaker, Aresimowicz, and minority leader, Klarides, along with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, and Secretary of State who helped with business sessions. We also want to thank our hosts, the Mohegan Tribe at the Mohegan Sun. This could not have happened without the many sponsors from the state as well as the volunteers from this building who added to the success of the event and we want to especially mention Sachem Mike Smith, Beverly Henry, Olivia Plunkett, Terry Garrigan, Martha Carlson, and Ashlyn McMahon who all held long-term help in preparing for the event. Again, I just wanted to take a moment to thank the and all the members who took time to participate in this very successful event. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. As a past National Chair and a past Regional Chair of the Council of State Governments, I want to say it was an exemplary event. A lot of fun, a lot of opportunity to rub elbows and schmooze. Sharing capital ideas is of course CSG's motto and that happened in great quantity, so I congratulate you and the others who worked so very hard on this. It was a really great job, Representative Ryan. Thank you. Are there any other announcements? Any introductions? If not, Mr. Clerk, would you please call Emergency Certified House Bill No. 7501.

CLERK:

Emergency Certified House Bill No. 7501, AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONTINUED OPERATION OF ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE STATE LCO No. 9917 introduced by Representative Aresimowicz, Representative Ritter, Senator Looney, Senator Duff.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Distinguished Chairmen of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, ma'am.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker, I move passage of the Emergency Certified Bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Questions passage? Will you remark ma'am?

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an Amendment, LCO 10069. I would ask the Clerk to please call the Amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Clerk is in possession of Senate Amendment A LCO No. 10069. Would the Clerk please call?

CLERK:

Senate Amendment A LCO No. 10069 offered by Senator Osten.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker, I move adoption of the Amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on adoption? Will you remark?

Will you remark? If not, let me try your minds. All those in favor signify by saying aye.

REPRESENTATIVES: Aye.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Opposed nay. The ayes have it and the Amendment is adopted. [Gavel]

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Clerk has an Amendment. It's LCO 10072. Would you please ask the Clerk to call it, and I be allowed to summarize?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Would the Clerk please call LCO No. 10072, previously designated Senate Amendment Schedule B.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment B LCO No. 10072 offered by Senator Fasano, Senator Witkos, Senator Formica, Senator Frantz, Representative Miner, Representative Klarides, Representative Candelora, Representative Hoydick, Representative O'Dea, Representative O'Neil, Representative Davis, Representative Ziobron.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

The gentlewoman has asked to leave the chamber to summarize. Is there an objection? Hearing none, Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Amendment before you is the state budget for the upcoming biennium. This bipartisan document also contains the bond package, school construction language, and the language necessary to implement the budget. Mr. Speaker, I move adoption, and I ask that when the vote is taken it be taken by roll.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Questions on adoption Senate Amendment Schedule B. When the vote is taken, we will take it by roll call, ma'am. Would you remark further?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I would. Mr. Speaker, I'm standing here before my colleagues and friends in this chamber because of the courage of three Senators this afternoon. Senator Doyle, Senator Hartley, and Senator Slossberg took a courageous step today to really put forward a bipartisan effort on the behalf of the residents of the State of Connecticut. Before I go on about what is in our document, I would like to take a moment to thank the staff of the Appropriations Committee and the Finance Committee, specifically also LCO, OLR, the Office of Fiscal Analysis, and I also want to give a special thanks to my colleagues and friends, the chairmen of the Appropriations Committee; Representative Walker, Senator Osten, and Senator Formica.

We have all traveled a very long, difficult road. While we haven't always been together, certainly over the last few months we were together starting in January and we've walked a very long road. This morning, I had a completely different speech prepared for today, and I started that speech with some quotes. I've since thrown that speech in the garbage and then found a new quote that I would like us to think about and hold dear as we think about what we're doing here this evening. Mr. Speaker that quote is this, “I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done. ” And the person who said that is Hillary Clinton, and today we are the second step of getting a big job done. Today, it's a new chapter in a budget book that started on April 27th, 141 days ago, when the essential framework of the Amendment you have before you were prepared and ready to be voted on by the Republican caucuses in the Senate and the House. The appropriations process brought us there, and today we start that new chapter, and I hope together.

The three Senators this morning, while I watched today in the chamber, had the courage of conviction, courage to say no to the same solutions, and say yes to putting Connecticut first. Is our budget perfect? No. How could anyone produce a perfect budget that has to address a $ 5-billion-dollar budget deficit. But, Mr. Speaker, this budget takes the small steps to get the job done. It does. There's critical steps in this document, and I'm going to talk about those in a minute. During the last six weeks, as I have sat with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we've talked a lot in those leadership meetings. And, those meetings started with not dollars, not a budget document, but long-term structural changes to put our state back on track. A budget without them dooms us and our beautiful state to fail. We need this budget, because we need those long-term structural changes to put us on a pathway forward.

This budget has a very conservative spending cap definition. We desperately need that spending cap definition if we're going to retain and pull back the path that we're set to go on. It has a very firm bonding cap definition. We enact, prioritize progress, and transportation plan. We do all kinds of other things, like modifying the state employee retirement system effective 2027 and that's something I hope my colleagues really think about. We are not talking about changing the contract today, we're talking about enacting changes statutorily effective 2027.

Those changes that we've put forward in this document were not taken out of thin air. They were taken because we went and obtained an actuarial analysis, which Mr. Speaker, I have shared with some of my Democrat colleagues in the hopes that they could understand exactly what we're talking about in overall savings. If we enact the changes, the four simple changes in this document that we have before you today, by 2046 we will have saved over $ 10-billion dollars. That is not a fantasy land number. That is not some number we pulled out of the sky. That was a number produced by the actuarial company that's on contract with the Office of Policy and Management, the Governor's office, and we paid for that because we believed, and we've talked about it for months that we must do more. We accept that the SEBAC contract that this chamber voted on, we're not undoing that, we accept it. We take those savings, we have modified our budgets at least eight times between the house and the Senate, but we're saying we need to sharpen our pencils, we can do better and that's what this document does. There's other long-term structural changes as well that are critical and, in fact, were agreed upon in those leadership meetings.

Some of those that were agreed upon by my friends on the other side of the aisle in this room where things like enacting a 90-day turnaround time for environmental reviews from DOT required that all waiver renewals for Medicaid services be approved by the Committees of Cognizance require that the Connecticut Health Hospital seek private partnerships, require public hearings and Committees of Cognizance to require audit report recommendations. One of the things that really has surprised me, Mr. Speaker, in my role on the Appropriations Committee is when we get the audit reports of every agency in our budget, sometimes those recommendations are made over, and over, and over again.

We're putting in triggers to make sure we do deal with the foundations of Connecticut and change the way we've been doing business. Long-term structural changes are absolutely necessary, absolutely necessary if we are going to make our state a place that we can live, retire, and have our children settle their own roots here, and that's what this document does. Some highlights, Mr. Speaker, of our document there's no new taxes and we reduced taxes in our document. We increase education funding with an ECS formula that's buried into that formula although we do add money onto it because we can't expect municipalities to, on a dime, change those things so we have to give them sustainability and predictability in the future. So, we've backfilled those communities, all communities; we didn't pick winners and losers. We did it based on an ECS formula. However, we've also done something else very critical that some of the stakeholders have asked us to do and that's create a taskforce to create and ECS formula.

But, I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, last summer I spent half my life in this building trying to develop a spending cap definition, and I work with some my very good friends on that side of the aisle all summer long. At the end of that summer, what did we have to show for our work, a thick report that probably sits somewhere on somebody's desk or on a shelf never to be enacted? This process puts forth a task force and what we say is if you don't develop a recommendation by next year, the trigger is the ECS formula in our document because we no longer can continue to do things we always have. We provide significant municipal support and mandate relief. I'll be honest with you, some of the pieces of mandate relief, some of my members over here are having some issues with. No doubt about it.

Again, change is not easy, and if we're going to ask towns and others around us to change, we have to be willing to do that ourselves, and that's what this bipartisan budget does. We prioritize transportation, we support seniors. Like many of you, I've been horrified to learn that while we didn't cut funding to senior meals, because of the very high utilization rates, our seniors are not getting fed.

They are on waiting lists for Meals on Wheels. Senior centers across the state have eliminated some of those meals on certain days of the week. Thank God for the wonderful dedicated volunteers in our community who have stepped into fill that void. But this budget provides more funding, $ 2-million dollars more so that our seniors can have sustainable and predictable meals five days a week, two times a day, because we know it's not just feeding them that's critically important, it's about providing an atmosphere and an opportunity for them to socialize and be with people. This is a safety net issue.

I'm very proud that my colleagues took the idea of Passport to Park. I'm very proud of my passion and work on the Environment Committee to develop a Passport to Park program, but that wasn't my idea, it was buried in the back of a budget submission that I discovered in my work in due diligence as ranking member of the Appropriations Committee in January and at every single committee meeting when we talked about sustainable park funding, I brought it up. To her credit, Senator Cathy Osten agreed, and she started working on it too. That's how great ideas happen when you work in a bipartisan way. We don't have to worry about taking credit as long as it gets done. This budget, this document, does that. We've reduced the size of government. Enough is enough. We cannot afford to have all different agencies doing duplicate services, so Mr. Speaker for an example the Department of Housing has been pushed into the Department of Economic and Community Development. Are they losing staff? No. They're being absorbed into DECD, cost savings, back office savings, all of those things, rent, heat, air conditioning, electricity, having them all under one roof.

The same thing goes for the State Department of Aging into the Department of Social Services, the Office of Early Childhood back to the State Department of Education, the office of Higher Ed, back to the State Department of Education. We make PURA a standalone agency so they are no longer housed in another agency that might have different views of their independent work. And we also make the hard choice to eliminate two commissions. While we like the work that those advocates do, we cannot, we just simply cannot afford it. We have done a lot of things that I know I have ideas and friends on the other side that look at them as true savings, but we also don't have other things in our budget, which is a term that I know makes you cringe, but we don't have earmarks in our budget.

We have one, it's for the city of Groton because they have kids from the Coast Guard Academy that don't get counted, and we believe that those people who are willing to serve our country deserve to have a good education, and we give a little extra money for that town to handle that influx.

Mr. Speaker, I know that we are at an unprecedented place. I know that we are sitting here today potentially not where we thought we would be; however, the courage and the conviction of our colleagues who are elected to represent both Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliates, Green Party members, Libertarians and their district decided that they were going to put a stake in the ground earlier today and do something to move Connecticut forward in a bipartisan way. I'm asking my friends on the other side of this room, a few of you, to find that courage. Find the courage to say that we're going to do things differently, that we're going to work in a bipartisan way. This budget is a bipartisan budget. Mr. Speaker, I look forward to answering any questions my colleagues have. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the good gentlelady a few questions about her underlying budget.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Madam, in the budget that you presented to us, my first question, which is really important. Is the budget balanced?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron, do you care to respond?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Of course, Mr. Speaker, and thank you. Yes, it is. It is balanced with a surplus. In 2018, we have a surplus of $ 70-milliion dollars, $ 70. 2-million and in 2019 $ 40. 2-million.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentlelady for that good answer. Mr. Speaker, through you, in this budget are their lapses in this budget that help to balance this budget?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and yes there are lapses, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk about them. As you know, my good colleague, and I have talked about lapses many times on different occasions. We, both the underlying budget that we're talking about now and my good friend's budget both had lapses in them in different categories.

There's one called an unallocated lapse. We used essentially the same number as the Governor, $ 40-million dollars in each fiscal year. In the legislative area, we have a $ 500,000-dollar lapse, the same as the Governor, I believe. In the Judicial Department, we have a $ 3-million-dollar lapse in the first year and $ 8-million dollars in the second year. We also have a lapse for targeted savings of $ 55-million in the first year and $ 60-milliion in the second year similar to those documents we've seen before. What we did a little differently, Mr. Speaker, is we also put policy toward a lot of those lapses. For instance, we reduced a lot of the human resources functions to agencies. We eliminated executive secretaries and Deputy Commissioners. We combined and consolidated different agencies within the Governor's office like Communications and Public Relations, and we utilized a lot of the same things that are familiar in the Governor's budget that he presented earlier in the year.

Through you.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Yes, I thank you Mr. Speaker and I thank the gentlelady for that answer. So, I guess I'm a little confused because if we do have a surplus in the budget. I'm confused, if we have a surplus, why do we have the lapses where we can actually move that off the books?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and that's a great question. In the last three days, this document has changed a couple of times, and one of the reasons it changed, Mr. Speaker, is just when we thought we had it all set, we had a notification from the comptroller's office that unlike the announcements of weeks ago that we had a surplus in 2017, that surplus has disappeared. And, I had to make up $ 35-million dollars because we had rolled the surplus forward from 2017 into 2018, and so Mr. Speaker, the answer is simply this. We need to be prepared so that we're never back to a deficit mitigation plan again or when the Governor wants to do a 5%/5%/5%.

We think it's critically important not only that we leave a surplus and be prepared for the worst-case scenario as we just learned, and frankly I'm very disappointed that hasn't become public information but also because we also believe it's important to make sure we don't go into our Rainy-Day Fund. So, this is our first line of defense, and that's why we felt it was important to leave a surplus, keep the policies of the unallocated lapses that were realistic and accountable.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentlelady for that answer. So, I guess I'm moving toward the question of if we had some surplus, and I do understand we want to put something in the cushion, but are there any savings going into the rainy day fund because we all know how important replenishing the Rainy Day Fund for those future days out.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, one of the things that I've been struggling with over the last few years in my role is what we do with one-time revenue. And, so there's two places with one-time revenue, and I wish we could take it and divert it and deposit it right into the Rainy Day Fund, but we follow the same course of action that my good colleague and others have followed putting it into the general fund, so there's nothing here that's a direct deposit.

But, what I can tell you is if we were enacting this budget, if we were in the executive branch implementing the policies of this document, we would stop the never-ending cycle of putting one-time revenue into the general fund. We would make sure it goes into the Rainy Day Fund in the future, but there is a small, those two little sentiments that unfortunately we were not able to do an immediate deposit into the Rainy Day Fund. But, we don't touch the Rainy Day Fund. It's fully, I think it's over $ 235-million dollars. Is that correct? Thank you. $ 235 million dollars in each fiscal year is what the Rainy Day Fund or if you're a budget geek, the Budget Reserve Fund is fully funded in each year, and that's why again we felt that first safety net of having a surplus was really important to give predictability, especially to state agencies.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and with that I'm going to hold reserve any other questions that I might have. Thank you. Thank the good gentlelady.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good evening. A few questions to the proponent of the Amendment, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I was particularly interested in an area of the budget that is of particular concern to me because I happen to have the pleasure of representing the town of Mansfield, which is the host community of the University of Connecticut. We have 15,000 undergraduate students there, and while they temporarily reside in my district, I point out that they're residents of all of your districts. So, I know that these are important questions for you as well. I was wondering, through you Mr. Speaker, if the proponent of the Amendment could tell us what we are doing to the block grants of the constituent units of higher education in the State of Connecticut.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I too know how critically important the education of those students are because Mr. Speaker, in the last few weeks, like many of you, I have watched my youngest child go off to school. First, it was my daughter; she's graduated from Seaton Hall, and now she's living in China. Then, three days later, I had to drop my baby off at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. My son is a freshman at UConn and he's hoping to enter the engineering program there. Before we brought my daughter to the airport, we as a family were walking the grounds of UConn and marveled at how beautiful that campus is and certainly how much it's changed since my brothers went there back in the 80's.

We do cut UConn, no doubt about it. We can't afford to continue to make those kinds of huge investments. We need to take care of what we have already invested in, so let me give you a couple of examples of what we do. We have stopped the expansion of UConn NextGen, but we've also done some other things that we think will have long-term savings. For instance, we've decided in this document, the tax payers of this state can no longer afford tuition waivers for employees at UConn. That saves $ 7-millioin dollars over two years. We also believe the tax payers need to expect a little bit more from our very well-educated and wonderful professors at UConn, so we've added their requirement that they teach one more class, just one. That's going to save the tax payers of this state, Mr. Speaker, $ 15-million dollars. So, we have made some cuts to UConn. I'm going to get the total cut for the good representative if that's the underlying question that he has as well and if I'll have a moment to do that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Go right ahead, ma'am.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I just wanted to confirm the number. It's significant; it's $ 45-million dollars in each fiscal year, but again what I say to you is their campus is beautiful, it's huge, it's expansive, it's not just at Storrs. There's satellite campuses all over this state. One of the tiniest states in this country, and we have campuses all over it, and that's a wonderful thing. We're not saying those satellite campuses should close. We're just saying we need to make sure that we're taking care of what we have. An example I would use to you is in your own communities. If you allowed your public schools to just keep on growing, but you never did maintenance, you never prioritized those efforts, you'd just have buildings, pretty soon how are you going to maintain them and upkeep them.

And the last thing we do, Mr. Speaker, that I almost was remiss to say is when we went through the appropriations process we have a lot of very talented staff at UConn, but they have very high salaries, and I'm sure they're very well-deserved. But if UConn is going to choose to pay $ 100,000 or more in salaries, we put a trigger in that says they must also pay for their fringe benefits. That's how you get people to start making hard choices, so yes, Mr. Speaker, we do cut our flagship university, the university that I am a proud mother of a freshman student. I was proud to wear my UConn t-shirt, but this budget has to make choices. We have to prioritize spending. We've been investing hundreds of millions of dollars into that campus. I want to make sure we keep it beautiful and maintained.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think that was a long-winded answer that said $ 45-million dollars cut in each of the next two fiscal years from the University of Connecticut. I'm trying to avoid another open-ended question. I guess I would just point out that, according to the OFA, we cut $ 75-million dollars in the first fiscal year. This Amendment cuts $ 75-million dollars in the first fiscal year from our constituent units, which include our community colleges, our state university system, the university of Connecticut Health Center, and the University of Connecticut in the first part of the biennium.

In the second part of the biennium this Amendment would cut $ 125-million dollars from higher education. These are unprecedented cuts in our higher education system, a system that we depend on to create a future generation of workers for the State of Connecticut.

Mr. Speaker, through you, a question to the proponent of the Amendment. She mentioned in her last answer that there was a cost shift of fringe benefits from the general fund support to the University of Connecticut, and I wanted to ask her about line 5528 in the Amendment. That Amendment says that cost shift shall be funded from a source, other than the amounts appropriated to the University of Connecticut and its Health Center. I'm wondering, through you, Mr. Speaker, if she could describe for us what other sources of funds the University of Connecticut collects that we would be shifting this cost to?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I could have a moment? Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I'm just verifying, when we talk about other sources as it relates to something different there's a ton of other sources that UConn gets a lot of federal funds included, but in this specific question for this I kind of went over it when I talked about the fringe benefits.

There's a block grant that we give to UConn, and then what they usually do is they try and capture most of their staff in that block grant so then the state picks up the fringe benefit costs. What we're saying here is, any employee that makes over $ 100,000 dollars, instead of that fringe benefit, which by the way is the highest in the country, 80%.

The other day I had a question from somebody; they said Melissa what does PS mean in the budget, and I had to say it means personal services. That's where the salaries are, but then you have to go to the comptroller's budget to find the fringe benefits. The 80% is buried somewhere else. We don't have a true view of what these agencies salaries are when you talk about fringe benefits, and so what we're saying again through you Mr. Speaker, is that $ 100,000 dollars or more. If the University chooses to pay somebody that, if that's what they deserve, and I'm saying if they deserve it then they should get paid that. But, that's a choice the University makes; when they make that choice, they are going to pick up the 80%.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, a question to the proponent. Do sources of funds, other than amounts appropriated by the University of Connecticut to the University of Connecticut and its Health Center include tuition and feeds?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, could I ask the good Representative to repeat that question?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, do sources of funds other than the amounts appropriated to the University include tuition revenue and fees collected from students?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and not to my knowledge, but you know I always like to give the trust but verify answer, and I'm happy to get that completely, but that's not my knowledge.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I guess that's the danger of asking questions is sometimes you get different answers. Through you, Mr. Speaker, amounts appropriated by the University clearly includes tuition and fees. The University of Connecticut does have sources of funds, other than the amount appropriated by the University of Connecticut to the University of Connecticut by the state and the largest other source of funds is tuition and fees. In fact, for the first time in many decades students pay more for the operating budget of the University of Connecticut than the state does. That is a sign of the times for sure, and this puts that on steroids.

This is a huge cost shift from the taxpayers of the State of Connecticut who are investing in future generations, to students and families at the University of Connecticut but also to our community colleges and our CSU system. For middle class families, because I would say that we do a pretty good job with federal grants of making sure that low-income families can go to college with federal Pell grants and other kinds of federal aid but middle-class families rely on the public subsidy that we make in our public institutions and they also rely on public scholarships. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the proponent of the Amendment about Section 150. If she could describe for us what Section 150, what the net effect of Section 150 of the Amendment does to our public scholarship program in the State of Connecticut, the Willis Scholarship Program?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the question. I would also say I apologize, I misunderstood the earlier question, and I would have answered if I had had the opportunity to talk about the Board of Trustees and how they set their policy, so I apologize for misunderstanding that earlier.

Again, we made another hard choice in this budget. We just can't afford to continue to do $ 50-million dollars of scholarship money in each fiscal year; it's roughly that. So, what this policy is doing is it's saying we're not going to pull the rug out from students that are already counting on those dollars, but we're going to close it to new applicants.

Again, not an easy decision. Not an easy decision, but we have to start living within our means. So, while we don't change the course for kids who are already counting on it, we do have to make the tough choice to close that door for new applicants, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be able to qualify for something else, and it was a tough decision. It is definitely one of the toughest in our budget.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD (54TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, that concludes my questions for the proponent, but let me just recap what we've gone over. Hundreds of millions of dollars of reductions to the block grants, the operating subsidies for the University of Connecticut, for the community college system, and for our state universities and UConn Health Center. The cost shifts of fringe benefit costs from tax payers and our general fund support to students who are paying tuition and fees at the universities and doubling down on that pain an end to our public scholarship system that provides some help for needy families who cannot afford to go to college currently without that support.

Mr. Speaker, this is a recipe for disaster. This is about increasing faculty and student ratios. This is about reducing program offerings at every public institution in Connecticut. This will result in skyrocketing tuition rates and fewer scholarships, and this will result in diminished opportunity for middle-class families to get a college education in the State of Connecticut.

Mr. Speaker, we have heard that this budget proposal is about moving Connecticut forward. Given the picture that we've just painted for what we're going to do for higher education, it's hard to imagine how this budget will move Connecticut forward. Our future is dependent on our future generation, dependent on them getting an affordable college education, dependent on having them fill the jobs that are necessary for employers in the State of Connecticut and this ends that pipeline, if you will. It puts at risk that pipeline. I strongly urge my colleagues to reject this Senate Amendment. It certainly does not move Connecticut in the right direction.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I may, through you, some question for the proponent of the Amendment?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed sir.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To my good colleague, you won't be surprised my questions are in the area of education, starting with ECS. As I read the Bill, it appears that there's a 1% minimum aid ratio included in your formula. I'm just wondering if you could explain what this is and why you've included it?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

So, thank you Mr. Speaker. So, we have developed a new ECS formula, as I was talking about before and while the formula's embedded in the policy we also have the task force that is set to develop that with all the stakeholder's including Education Committee, etc. But the minimum aid ratio is when we look at all the different factors and let me just go through them for a moment, and I hope I'm answering your question and I'm not misunderstanding it.

We provide a weight of 30% for students that receive a free and reduced lunch. It contains an additional weight of 5% for those communities that have 75% or more of its population eligible for free and reduced lunch. We provide a weight of 15% for English language learners. We provide an additional 3% to 6% for communities that have a pick index of over 300, and we also weight the grand list at 70% and medium household income at 30%. We're trying to be proactive for what we know is coming through the court system, and in doing so, we've taken additional money that we've had and backfilled so communities can plan for that. But, essentially, this formula is going to help some of our most needy areas, especially our urban centers.

So, the formula's embedded, the ECS formula, and we have backfilled it with additional funds. If the council does not create that formula by a date certain, then this one would kick in.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleishmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the comments from the good ranking member of appropriations, she actually did not answer the question which was just about one factor in the formula, the minimum aid ratio, which as I understand it is set at 1% in this formula, so I'm asking is that correct and if yes what does it do and why would one seek to do this in policy terms?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, and I apologize for the misunderstanding. So, we view that 1% as a safety net for towns that otherwise would not get those additional funds and that's specifically what it is.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Through you, so in other words, the districts that are receiving the 1% minimum aid ratio would otherwise receive 0 through the operation of the new formula. Is that correct?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would go back to the beginning of my discussion, which is what we really wanted to do was empower the stakeholder's by creating a council. That council has one year to develop an ECS formula, which will be seated just like every other council. Certainly, I would expect the chair of the Education Committee, etc. , CEA, CABE, superintendents. If they don't pick a new formula with one year, this is a trigger. So, while yes, the formula is embedded, it is our hope that those stakeholders would develop a formula with input from all, including the Education Committee.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, so I'm a little confused. It was a yes/no question. So, yes or no, the 1% minimum aid ratio ensures that districts that would otherwise get zero through the formula in this Bill now would get an ECS grant?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I apologize for getting too in depth. So, the answer to that question is yes. Just like past formulas have had a zero, that's exactly what it is.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, do I understand correctly that communities that are considered fairly well off in terms of their property tax wealth or their income like Glastonbury, Greenwich, and Southbury would all see increases in their ECS grant were Senate Amendment B to become law.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Not in the ECS grant, specifically. We actually have taken 22% from the Educational Cost Sharing Grant and put that into Special Education. So, if you wanted to use the term education funding, then I would say yes, but that's only for two years to allow people to held harmless to make the plans while the ECS formula is being developed. If they don't develop it by next year, the trigger is the one in this document.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, thank you. According to the runs that I've seen, the formula that's in the Bill before us would increase funds for Glastonbury by $ 250,000, for Southbury by half a million, but for Greenwich by over a million dollars. On the flip side of the equation, in terms of districts that might lose money, if this formula operates as proposed am I right in understanding that districts like East Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport would all lose money?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

So, certainly, when we were doing a run we were very cognizant of past practice of picking winners and losers, and so in order to create that sustainability it was important that the formula stay intact and then backfill it to hold communities harmless, but the other part of what this formula does is it rolls out over 10 years.

So, after 2019, just the opposite is going to happen very significantly, but our communities need to plan for that. So, it wasn't one person in a room picking winners and losers, it was developing a formula that would help mainly our urban centers in the out years. We backfilled it so that our communities could count on funding for the first two years, but the way the formula is written, Mr. Speaker, through you, if it's triggered with no action by a task force, then the answer to that question is yes for the very short term.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the good ranking member for her response. My understanding is that if this formula were to operate as proposed in the measure, absence some commission, very speedily rewriting everything, East Hartford would lose $ 4. 9 million. New Haven would lose $ 5. 4 million. Bridgeport would lose over $ 7-milliion dollars. Those are some of the neediest, most struggling districts in the State of Connecticut, Mr. Speaker, so if one is looking at equity, if one is looking at the future of Connecticut, if one is looking at doing things differently so that we ensure our young people are well prepared, it's not clear to me how this approach would help us. But let's switch over to special education. It's a topic that, again, has had a lot of bipartisan attention and concern. If this measure before us were to pass, would there still be a special education excess cost formula?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, no.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and as I understand it there would be a new formula and do I understand correctly that would have a base of prior year Special Ed expenditures and then a co-efficient that related to the relative wealth of the community?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentle ranking member for her response. I would point out that while this approach was initially put forward by the administration back in February, they stepped away from it for a simple reason. All of us in this chamber have been working to figure out ways to have good Special Education while controlling ever-spiraling Special Ed costs.

If you go ahead and create a formula whose foundation is prior year expenditures you are creating a perverse incentive. You are encouraging districts to put more into Special Education because they'll see more dollars in the subsequent year. That's why the administration stopped talking about this new formula. That's why it wasn't included any Democratic proposal. That's why so many people have concerns about completely throwing away the Special Education excess cost formula, which is extremely popular. I've heard from superintendents from districts that are non-partisan that have Republicans on the Board of Ed, Democrats on the Board of Ed. They like the Special Ed excess cost formula because it's essentially an insurance policy against unexpected high costs. There's no such insurance in this measure.

Let's move to state supports that we've been providing to our district so they can do a good job. Right now, the state provides primary mental health care for children who have mental health issues in the schools. Is there any funding for that program in this budget? Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

If I could have a moment please, Mr. Speaker? Thank you. [pause]

I apologize, Mr. Speaker, we have seven versions of our budget, so we just want to make sure we're giving accurate information in the last seven months, so hold on please.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Of course.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Mr. Speaker, I have my staff looking up the answer to that question, and so not to take up time in the debate if the good Representative would like to go to his next question and we can get the answer to that one while we continue?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that seems very reasonable to me. Another key state support that we've developed in the last five years is called the Commissioner's Network, which involves the state providing a series of support to the schools that are the most in trouble, the lowest performing schools in the state with districts that say please help us, and the Commissioner sends in master teachers, former outstanding principals, others to help the school turnaround. It's a tool that districts have turned to in the last five years for their schools that they are having the toughest time with, and it's been an important part of our efforts to close the achievement gap. Is there any funding for the Commissioner's Network in this measure before us?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I do appreciate the question. There are a couple of areas where we have eliminated funding and then backfilled the education funding. We put in way more education funding in our budget overall over two years, but there are line items that have been there for a long time that we have zeroed out. It is, again, our hope and desire that the new council in charge for developing an ECS formula will take in consideration all of these things. So, in this particular case, we have not included funding under this specific line item, although we've increased education funding overall and it would be our desire and hope that task force would take that into consideration.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the ranking member. I would point out that the ECS formula is designed to distribute dollars to districts. The Commissioner's Network was a more specific intervention developed for the schools that are the lowest performing in the state, so many of them are in the districts that already identified as those in greatest need of help, and they are the ones that are the worst off in those districts, so we're talking about schools that are not getting the job done for their children. This is a special intervention we created to support those schools, and it is zeroed out in this budget.

We have put resources into kindergarten through third grade reading assessment because, on a bipartisan basis, we've recognized that early reading is critical and that assessment allows us to see where children are when they come to kindergarten, whether or not they've gone to pre-k and how they're progressing toward third grade reading mastery, which we all know is a critical benchmark since children who failed to reach proficiency in third grade are far more likely to run into troubles and end up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Are there any dollars in this budget for our kindergarten through third grade reading assessment?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I do want to say that I do appreciate the questions from the good Chairman of the Education Committee. I know how hard he's worked on these issues and how dedicated he is to them. We rolled many of the accounts he probably is going to continue to ask me about into ECS into that additional funding stream because we have that formula, and we do take into consideration in the base formula bilingual education and other areas which have special needs. Our formula addresses a lot of the issues that you're talking about with a set formula that's already here, and we hope these stakeholder's will meet and come together and develop those recommendations, but again we had to make some of those tough choices. But a lot of these accounts, the money, everything was rolled in because we believe that the formula took some of these very serious considerations into account.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. While I appreciate the sentiment that the ranking member just expressed, she's really mixing apples and oranges because the kindergarten through third grade reading assessment is not something that any district can develop on its own. It is a state responsibility to develop statewide assessments, and if we don't fund it, there will be none. So, while I appreciate her hope that the new commission creates a new education cost sharing formula, whether or not it does so or whether or not the formula that's in this Bill goes into effect we will lack a kindergarten through third grade reading assessment thanks to the defunding in the Amendment before us.

Talent development, this is another state responsibility. It allows us to provide mentoring to new teachers through something called the team program. It allows us to provide professional development for all teachers in Connecticut. Is there any funding for talent development in the measure before us?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and this is an area where we do eliminate funding, but I also would like to go back and just say this. We prioritize low-income students in this ECS formula. We didn't do it in a vacuum. My colleagues in the Senate spent time with CEA and others to try and find a way to make hard decisions, and frankly there's some of my colleagues in the more affluent areas that are not fans of this ECS formula because it does prioritize other things like the challenges frankly that we know our kids are facing in low-income areas.

So, for the first time ever, we're using the ECS and the investment of that public investment to help those communities, but yes, the short answer is yes, we do remove that funding, but it wasn't done so in a vacuum. It was done so by putting together an ECS formula that we felt was more important to get to the heart of what we think is really hurting education and that's helping those that are the most needy.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the ranking member. You know, I don't believe that it's her intent to mix things in different categories. She's the ranking member for Appropriations, which covers the entire state budget, and I wouldn't expect her to know all the details of every sub-committee, but Talent Development is not something that every district can do on its own. Talent Development is not part of the ECS formula and has not been.

That is a state responsibility. It is a state support provided to all of our districts. The best program was the first induction program for teachers in America and it was considered the best for a long time. When it started to flag, we replaced it with the team program, which is a program for brand new teachers that pairs them with experienced teachers and ensures that they have support so that they can go from being newbies to being excellent teachers, which is what we want in the State of Connecticut.

Past that first year, teachers have all sorts of things they have to handle for which they need professional development. That professional development is provided by the State of Connecticut through its talent development support. So, no talk about the ECS formula is going to help us with the fact that this Amendment before us zeroes out what is currently a $ 6-million-dollar function of our state to support our local districts.

But my good colleague talked about concern for the students who are struggling the most and who have the least. So, one of the programs we've had in place since the early 90's to help those students is the priority school district program, and I would ask the ranking member what happens to the priority school district program under Senate Amendment B?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again I go back to we took a lot of different line items, took that funding, and put it in a reinvestment into over education funding to increase spending in education.

So, in this case though we felt that again we wanted to provide some predictability and sustainability. We don't do it in the first year, but we do reduce it in the second year. And, also Mr. Speaker, before I forget, I want to go back and answer that earlier question that my good friend and Chairman of the Education Committee asked, which was about the primary mental health and he's right. We do eliminate funding for that, but I would note we fully fund our school resource centers, fully fund them, and a lot of the primary mental health and those kinds of services are coming from our school-based health centers, and so we made a decision that we needed to fully fund those and that was our intent through that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Fleischmann.

REP. FLEISCHMANN (19TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the ranking for her two responses. First, with regard to priority school districts, so as I read the Amendment that's before us, it would drop priority school district funding by $ 4-million in the first year of the biennium and $ 23-million in the second year.

Priority school district funding in total in the fiscal year that just passed was $ 42-million. So, a $ 23-million-dollar cut is a 55% cut. Now, we know these are tough times, so what is it we're talking about here that's getting cut 55%, that's getting cut $ 23-million dollars? We're talking about a grant for the 14 poorest districts in the State of Connecticut.

Now, where did those dollars go? Did they go to general ECS purposes? No, they don't. We're very clear in statute about the places those dollars can be expended. Those dollars help ensure that those struggling districts have full-day kindergarten, that they have early reading programs, and other programs to help kids stay on track for reading, that there's pre-k available in some of those schools. It's a series of things that those districts will not have if we take away those dollars and no amount of talking about the ECS formula is going to save our poorest districts from this draconian cut.

With regard to primary mental health care, it's true that some of our school-based health clinics provide some mental health care, but very few schools proportionately have such health clinics.

Primary mental health programming that we provide as a state is to help all those schools that don't have clinics and it's zeroed out in the Amendment before us. Mr. Speaker, I know a lot of other people have concerns. I just want to summarize my sense of what I've heard tonight. When it comes to the new education cost sharing formula that's in Senate Amendment B we are essentially taking from the poorest districts and the poorest students to help some of the wealthiest. Not only through elimination of priority school districts, but by the changes that we seen in the ECS formula. When it comes to Special Ed all of us in this chamber have been talking about how best to control those costs and help districts cap those costs and yet we have here a formula that creates a perverse incentive for those costs to increase, and indeed, many experts foresee spiraling increases if we were to adopt the formula in Senate Amendment B.

Last, but certainly not least, I've worked with friends on both sides of the aisle in this chamber and the Senate chamber to close the achievement gap, and I think virtually every person of good conscious recognizes that is a core problem that we have in our education system in Connecticut. What does Senate Amendment B do? Does it close that gap? Does it direct resources and supports to the districts and schools that are most struggling? No. Does it ignore the achievement gap and act like it's not there? No, I wouldn't say it does that either. I would say this measure before us is going to increase the achievement gap by shifting priorities away from schools and districts that are in the most trouble and moving dollars toward schools and districts that are in less trouble. We're moving things in the wrong direction. Mr. Speaker, I find this profoundly upsetting and disappointing, and I hope my colleagues will join me in rejecting this Amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Abercrombie. Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We heard in the opening remarks about this actuarial report that was commissioned. I've been asking for a copy of it. I still don't have one. I'm hoping one can be handed over while I'm asking some questions; although, I don't intend to delve into it greatly as I understand the Republican proposal with respect to collective bargaining. It's booking savings of 144-millioin in fiscal year 2018 and $ 177. 8 or something like that in fiscal 2019. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Mr. Speaker, I was locating the actuary analysis and we have someone walking it over to the good Representative right this minute. So, I'm sorry, but if he could please repeat the question, and he'll be getting a copy of the actuarial analysis momentarily and don't mind my chicken scratch on it, Mr. Speaker.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll repeat the question. I just want to confirm in the first instance the savings. I'm sorry, I just got this, it's a one-page actuarial report? This is it?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

It's a one-page analysis. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what I didn't realize is that when you want to get an actuarial analysis, you can get it through OPM. They have a contract with Cavanaugh Macdonald, which is the source of the document you have before you. I just have the one page; I don't have all the backup data. OPM is in possession of that backup data, so if you look at the far right column you'll see the savings in the first two fiscal years, and I'd be happy to answer any questions he has.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, while I'm not sure the good Representative will. For example, what was the size of the projected state workforce in 2027 upon which this report is based?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Again, Mr. Speaker, I don't have a copy of that because when we were working with OPM at the end of the day the document that was provided to us from the Governor's office, which came from Cavanaugh Macdonald was that sheet of paper. What I do have before are the makeup of the changes that don't happen until 2027, and I'd be happy to talk about those four things if the good Representative would like me to discuss that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I do have some questions on those things. I think that we'd be remiss if we didn't figure out how we were coming up with $ 144-million dollars in the first year and $ 178-million dollars in the second year on this one-page piece of -- I'm just a little flabbergasted, Mr. Speaker, only because when I brought out the SEBAC agreement I had the actuarial report. I had two of them, and we had an OFA report that also buttressed what the actuaries were saying. This is a printout of a one-page Excel spreadsheet with not much on it. I appreciate it has the numbers that are claimed as savings in fiscal year 18 and 19, but again, when we did SEBAC we had a bit more than this, but let me see if I can get a little bit under the layers of the onion here. Does the good Representative know what the rate of inflation will be in 2027, what the assumption was there?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the comments from the good Representative, but I will say this. We have released this document for days. If the good Representative wanted stacks of paper by experts by the analysis he certainly could have called me. I have provided all of that, the same data he has in front of him to his other colleagues. I don't have that with me. I'm happy to get it. It's the same person and produced the same savings that you spoke about on this floor, went through the same process through the Governor's office. We did not contract the actuarial analysis separately; it was done through OPM. They have the data. I'm happy to get it. I'm sorry I don't have it at this moment.

The experts, the paid actuarial analysis that OPM handled through their office had four components; one was suspending COLAs until the funded ratio of SIRs equals 80%, increasing employee contributions to the national average of 7%, eliminating the current practice of providing higher paid state employees, a larger percentage of their final average salary and eliminates overtime from the final average salary compensation, and I would just say Lisa Egan was our contact. I'm sure you've spoken to her many times when you were putting together your SEBAC points, and I'm sure she would be able to give you the same information.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. I appreciate those are the talking points with respect to these savings. In fact, that's one of the reasons I asked about the inflation rate in 2027, as the good Representative mentioned, we're eliminating any COLA for retirees, so that inflation rate's three, four, five, six, seven; who knows what it's going to be 10 years from now. There is no cost of living adjustment at all for employees, and in fact, when you retire and you don't get that, I think as most people here can appreciate, you're underwater. There's other parts of that, and again just to repeat them the increased contribution rate, the no overtime, the no COLA all condense down into this, which respectfully from my point of view this isn't voodoo economics, this is economics that would embarrass a witch doctor. I mean this is -- so just to get to the numbers again we're booking $ 144-million dollars in savings under this budget in fiscal year 18, $ 177 in fiscal 19 by making changes in 2027 that change the contribution rates now. Is that correct?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am not an expert certainly in the SEBAC analysis, but I have to say Mr. Speaker, I don't appreciate the tone in which that question was delivered. I walked over an actuarial analysis, my own copy, when he asked for it. I'm sorry I don't have the data like that.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

The gentlewoman will suspend. The chamber will stand at ease. [Pause]

[Gavel] The House will come back to order. Representative D'Agostino had the floor. He had asked a question of Representative Ziobron. Representative Ziobron, do you care to respond?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the good Representative could repeat the question please?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino, would you kindly repeat the question?

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Just to be clear, the changes that we're making in 2027 under the budget that resulted in a reported savings of $ 144-million in fiscal year 18 and $ 177-million in year 19. The changes result from removing certain items from collective bargaining in 2027 but changing the contribution rate now as a result of those changes 10 years down the road. Is that correct? [loud background noise]

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

I'm sorry, Representative D'Agostino, I didn't hear the last part of that. [Laughing]

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

I'll try one more time. Simply put, through you, Mr. Speaker, the changes in 2027 result in change contributions now and that's what undergirds the savings in 18 and 19. Is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

When we had this debate a while back when we talked about the larger SEBAC, the idea of making changes like that effect current pension evaluation can be done through collective bargaining but when you do it unilaterally you expose yourself to suit because you're making changes to collectively bargain for pensions and work that's being done now. I appreciate that there's an actuarial analysis.

My question, through you Mr. Speaker, is was there a legal analysis done? Did anybody ask the Attorney General the risks of suit that might result from making those changes and booking them now?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No, we did not get that information. We did spend some time talking to stakeholder's including looking at what happened in Rhode Island, you know the little state next to us. So, I guess there's a mixed answer there. No, we did not start talking about any actions as described by the Representative.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Now one other important point I think to recognize is I understand what's being proposed here with respect to collective bargaining. Through you, Mr. Speaker, just a sort of set-the-stage- question. The Retirement Commission that we have and have established by statute, the Retirement Commission sets the state's required contribution to the pension fund.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is that correct?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Yes.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is it also correct that the Republican budget proposal with respect to collective bargaining in Section 320 directs the Retirement Commission to make certain changes to those contributions?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm looking at now it saved this bipartisan budget we have before us today in Section 320. I believe what he's asking me is correct.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, is the good Representative aware of anybody who was aware of when they were discussing this language aware of the fact that the authority of the Retirement Commission is also embedded in the collective bargaining agreement.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I personally didn't review that but our staffs have reviewed every single contract, not just for our own budget which has become the bipartisan budget, but also in preparing for the debate with SEBAC our staffs did read those contracts. I personally did not.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO (91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, the reason I raise the point is again a legal one because in this budget in Section 320, which directs the retirement commission to take certain actions, including with respect to the normal rate of contribution, doing it by statute is one thing but because the authority of the retirement commission is in the collective bargaining agreement, that's a unilateral change, that's not collectively bargained. That effects the current agreement and that will land us in court, so I appreciate that there was no legal analysis done, but I'm confident that the Governor and the Attorney General understand those risks and would never allow the state to be subject to that kind of exposure because it would result potentially in hundreds of millions of dollars in liability. My last question, Mr. Speaker, is just a simple one, more general than just collective bargaining. When was this budget filed as a Bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The one we have before us, I believe while I was watching the Senate debate earlier today it wasn't technically filed as an Amendment until I think some earlier today this afternoon. However, Mr. Speaker, several days ago both the caucuses at the time when it was a former Republican budget and not the bipartisan document you have before you had a full press conference. We posted details, posted information, and then if you go back 141 days we would have a similar framework but not this specific concept because, of course, we didn't have a SEBAC deal, which was done before we did a state budget before you.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, were there changes to the document since then?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, were there changes of the document since the Senate Republicans filed this Amendment this afternoon? Is that the question?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry. Maybe I misunderstood the prior response. That was the first filing was with the Senate or was it filed before then as a Bill?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

I'm sorry. If he could repeat that question. I'm sorry, I'm being distracted.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sorry. I'm just trying to get clarification as to when this Amendment was filed as a Bill. Am I correct then? Was it the first time with the Senate today or was it a time before then? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Well, through you Mr. Speaker, when we found out at 1: 00 o'clock this morning we were coming back today, I think it was filed appropriately with accordance to the rules that are being done up in the Senate and it's my understanding it was done appropriately.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, have there been any changes to the document since that file?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Not that I'm aware of.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative D'Agostino.

REP. D'AGOSTINO(91ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to discuss an issue of importance, I think, to this chamber and to the State of Connecticut, which is the issue of money and politics and the resulting and related issue, unfortunately, of political corruption. Mr. Speaker, in 2005, shortly after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland from political corruption charges. This chamber, on a bipartisan basis, passed a suite of good government and campaign finance reform measures.

With the support of former Governor Jodi Rell, the centerpiece of which was a citizen's election program. In the intervening years, the Citizen's Election program has been the most successful example of public campaign finance in the United States, a model for other states to look to. This Bill, before us, this Amendment before us, completely dismantles that program and seeks to take us back to the campaign finance environment of 2005. I have a lot of concerns about that, but as I was reading about those provisions, I discovered even more concerning provisions, provisions that seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with what we're supposedly here discussing, which is the budget of the State of Connecticut. There are provisions of this that have to do with campaign finance that I find deeply concerning, and I want to ask through you Mr. Speaker to the proponent of the Amendment a few questions about some campaign finance provisions.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, in Section 204 of the Bill, the Amendment increases the amount an individual can contribute to an exploratory committee from $ 375,000 to 1,000 dollars. Through you, Mr. Speaker, what public purpose is being served by this change?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What public services through the change it's simply a change. The public service, I would say would be that in these fiscally trying times, we no longer can expect tax payers to pay for our bumper stickers and mailings and we have to make a choice. One of the frustrations that I had when we've talked about policies in this chamber has been about, for instance, candidates were unopposed. I wish I could tell tax payers we can afford CEP. I've used it. I know most of my friends have as well. We eliminated the program. This particular section I'm not sure specifically about the public good. We make a change.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

While I appreciate the gentlelady's answer, I'm disappointed that she does not know the public purpose because there are sections of this Bill that seek to open a floodgate of special interest money into the campaign system, sections that seem unrelated as far as I can tell to the budget of the State of Connecticut. The next section, Section 205 goes beyond, and it specifically allows corporations to donate money. It increases the amount from $ 375 dollars to $ 1,000 dollars to an Exploratory Committee.

Can the gentlelady please explain to me and to the chamber, through you Mr. Speaker, the public purpose that's being served by allowing corporations to increase a larger amount to Exploratory Committees in the State of Connecticut?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, when you eliminate CEP, we had to go back and look at what was already in place. This is not a new practice. It went from $ 375 dollars, not zero, to 1,000 dollars. We want good governance. We want democracy and action. Unfortunately, with a $ 5-billion-dollar budget deficit this was one of the choices that we had to make.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Section 209 you'll note allows; actually 206, forgive me, allows an organization to spend up to $ 1,000 dollars. This organization, perhaps, like a business and industry association and a donation to an exploratory campaign. Section 209 allows a political action committee to go from $ 375 to $ 1000 dollars but I'm particularly concerned about Section 211 and 212, which increase the power of leadership PACs allowing, in the case of a state Senate election, a leadership PAC to donate $ 20,000 dollars; each leadership PAC to donate $ 20,000 to a state senate candidate in the primary and another $ 20,000 dollars to that state senate candidate in a general election.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, what does this have to do with the state budget?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, what we're doing here is we're saying if we're going to eliminate CEP, we have to deal with the reality of candidates on both sides of the aisle trying to be able to raise money in different ways. This is simply doubling what already was allowed, again, not something that we would go to right away, but you can't eliminate what we have grown accustomed to without offering an opportunity to still run campaigns and exercise campaigns and do those things, and I would just say that there's companies who support one side of the aisle.

There's other companies that support the other side. It's not a partisan issue, but we're trying to deal with the reality that we have in Connecticut that removing CEP would require candidates to have to raise money in different ways, and we're trying to be cognizant of that in this language.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the gentlelady for that answer. You know I think the reality is that this Bill opens up a floodgate of cooperate money of special interest money. It dramatically expands, and as the gentlelady just said it doubles the amount of money that a leadership PAC to $ 20,000 dollars, $ 40,000 dollars primary and a general that a leadership, one leadership PAC and there are several can spend on behalf of a member of the state senate at a time in which we've seen more attempts by special interest than ever before to corrupt the political process.

I find that deeply disturbing, but I also have another question. I don't know where this comes from, but Section 201 removes a provision of the Larceny Statues that makes it a crime to steal Citizen's Election funds. Now, I know that the intent of this Amendment is to eliminate the Citizen's Election program, but does the gentlelady know if by removing, stealing Citizen's Election funds from the Larceny Statute, does she know if that section, Section 201 might have the unintended effect of allowing someone currently under investigation or currently being pursued for an offense to escape without consequences with public funds?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This section is prospective, so if that is the case, currently someone who has committed a crime it certainly does not do that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Lesser.

REP. LESSER (100TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the answer, through you. You know, Mr. Speaker, I look back and I look at this Amendment and I look at the sections related to campaign finance and money in politics. I look at that section with a sadness because this state has challenges. We certainly have a lot we need to do but 10 years ago, 15 years ago, we were the laughingstock of the country because of a long, sad, and deplorable history of public corruption.

We had members of this body that got in trouble with the law. We had mayors who got in trouble with the law. We had a Governor go to prison, and in response, we lead the country. We passed groundbreaking, bipartisan, wonderful public finance laws. Now, in the intervening years, I'm not going to pretend that either party has had an impeccable, spotless record on the issue of money and politics. There have been times when I have opposed efforts by my own party to weaken the law, but we have something, and in dismantling the Citizen's Election Program we are inviting special interest money back into politics. The gentlelady has admitted it. She said we are expanding the ability of corporations to donate to campaigns in the state. We are doubling as much as $ 40,000 dollars the amount that a leadership PAC can donate to a state senate candidate. This is the wrong direction. I have grave concerns, and I thank the gentlelady for her answers.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. The distinguished Chairman of the Fiance Revenue and Bonding Committee, Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. ROJAS (9TH): A couple of questions on the revenue side of the budget.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess first a comment. You know it's often been said that budgets are often a reflection of priorities, and as I was sitting here thinking about the discussion between Representative Fleischmann and Representative Ziobron about ECS funding I was particularly struck about the impact that this budget would have on East Hartford Public Schools where I grew up, where I live, and sadly where 60% of the children are qualified for free and reduced lunch. Certainly, a community in need, and I was particularly struck because three of my own children attend East Hartford Public Schools, so it's personal. So, when we talk about priorities, I juxtapose the situation in East Hartford against recognizing that there's going to be an increase in funding for Glastonbury Public Schools.

Certainly, while the children in Glastonbury are no less deserving of a quality education and support in any way that we can give them, the affluence in Glastonbury suggests there doing pretty good on their own.

Yet, this budget prioritizes giving funding to a community like Glastonbury that has enormous resources over a community like East Hartford that is struggling where poverty is exploding; has been exploding for the last 20 years, where 15% to 16% of the children are disabled. It makes me question what the priorities are. On the revenue side, Mr. Speaker, how much new revenue is included in this Amendment, in this budget?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

To whom are we addressing the question, Representative Rojas?

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

To the ranking member of the Finance Committee.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis, do you care to respond?

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good evening. The net revenue changes in the budget before us produce approximately $ 1-billion, 39-million dollars in fiscal year 18 and $ 118 billion dollars in fiscal year 19.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, looking at general fund revenues I have a number here that says this budget has $ 1. 469 billion dollars in revenue which is $ 114-million dollars more than senate Amendment A. Is that accurate, Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

One moment, Mr. Speaker, if I can. Mr. Speaker I'm not privy to what the total amount was in Senate A. If the kind gentleman could point to where he is located in Senate B I'd appreciate that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Perhaps, I have a document that the Representative doesn't have, but it was a different fiscal analysis that was provided to me where in Senate A we have a revenue of $ 1. 355. 1-billion dollars for a difference of $ 114-million dollars between the two Amendments.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

[laughing] is there a question there?

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

I can move on with another question if that's good.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis do you care to respond?

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

I certainly appreciate that he has a different documentation than I do. I do understand that there are new revenues if you will in each one of these budgets, but let's be very particular about where these revenues perhaps are derived from. They're certainly not derived from tax increases that were proposed in Senate A. They were done through other means, and I think some of them mirror each other quite a bit.

You certainly have an agreement with the hospital association and the State of Connecticut that we reflect both in our budget or the bipartisan budget that is here before us in Amendment B rather as well as the revenue that was reflected in Amendment A, I believe, are the same in that regard. But, we certainly don't have the amount of tax increases or tax changes if you will to the tune of $ 182. 9-million in the first year and $ 263-million dollars in new tax changes that were in Senate A compared to actually reductions in those taxes of $ 2. 2 million dollars in fiscal year 18 in Senate Amendment B and $ 34. 4-million in fiscal year 19 in Amendment Number B.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Representative Davis referenced the agreement that was reached with the hospital. That's a pretty significant revenue item that's included in both budgets. How was the revenue generated in that agreement?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe it's generated through a hospital formula that is agreed to by the administration as well as the hospital association a way to generate that funding. Through you, Mr. Speaker, if he had a specific question I could answer that.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you. Is that revenue generated through the provider tax?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe it is generated through the provider tax.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, it's just important to recognize there are taxes in that budget, and I know that Speaker Aresimowicz and Representative Steinberg spent a great deal of the entire legislative session in this past summer working with the hospital association to come up with that agreement, which was historic in nature, which was agreed upon with the hospital association. Was Representative Davis personally involved in those negotiations or that work or anyone else from his caucus?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and unfortunately, we weren't involved in those direct discussions. We were certainly apprised of the developments after they were included in their budget and one that we adopted in ours after long discussions with the hospital association. I know I specifically talked to the president of the local hospital of mine who encouraged its adoption into our budget as well or into this Amendment here today, but we were not privy to those discussions that were ongoing that lead to this specific agreement, but we certainly had ongoing dialogue the entire time.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. How much of the revenue would be considered a one-time or sweeps?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In Senate Amendment B, one could say that perhaps there is $ 465. 4-million in fund transfers in fiscal year 18 and $ 460. 4-million in fiscal year 19 and that is in comparison to Senate Amendment A that featured $ 513 million in fund transfers in fiscal year 18 and $ 500 and 8. 2 in fiscal year 19. Those were the numbers for Senate Amendment A.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

I'd like to thank the Representative for his answer. So, relying on one-time revenues in sweeps potentially could cause some problems for us outside the biennium. Is that possible?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. These fund transfers, if you will, were done deliberately in many cases specifically to areas that we think we could possibly not run into those problems in the future. For instance, one would be in the CIA account which shifted $ 2. 5-million dollars from the CIA account into the General Fund and now going forward we will be appropriating directly for

Dairy Farmer Program from the General Fund.

That would be one example of how those numbers could be somewhat deceiving as to how they actually get implemented and carried out in the out years and the future. So, perhaps, certainly some of these could be considered fund transfers that were one-time; however, I think looking at it, it's not necessarily completely accurate because we are also setting aside a portion of the hotel tax and putting it into a tourism fund to fund tourism across the state. That is quite different than what was proposed in Senate Amendment A, which I believe raised the hotel tax and then used those funds to then fund the tourism program, so yes, it's reflected in the numbers that I just gave you as a fund transfer; however, it is done so under the same tax rate and done in a sustainable way in the future.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier in the debate, the question was asked whether the budget was balanced over the biennium, and the response at that time was certainly yes. Can you tell me what the budget looks like outside of the biennium? Are there surpluses projected or are there deficits projected?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

One moment please, Mr. Speaker, as I just take a look at our documents here. Through you, Mr. Speaker, it's my understanding that most of any potential deficit numbers that you might be able to see in some of the analysis were done on off-budget accounts that reflect deficits. It's my understanding that Senate Amendment A actually featured significantly larger deficits than what are proposed in the out years and it's also important to note that OFA cannot accurately estimate economic growth that potentially could come from a budget that does not feature massive tax increases on the State of Connecticut, one that actually puts us in a better position to possibly attract major corporations, one such as Amazon that would be looking at having a stable economic environment.

I think it could certainly be argued that we here, today, are perhaps doing that through this type of budget setting that tone that we are serious about economic growth here in the State of Connecticut by adopting a budget that keeps us within our means.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Looking at the OFA fiscal note, it does note that in fiscal year 20 we have a $ 1. 2-billion-dollar deficit under Senate Amendment B, a 2. 1-billion-dollar deficit in 21, and then a growth, which is higher than actually Senate Amendment A of 2. 8-billion dollars in fiscal year 22. Is that accurate, Mr. Speaker?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Mr. Speaker, I believe those are what is included in the OFA document. I didn't have the opportunity to hear the exact numbers, but they seemed like the ballpark numbers, but it's also important for us to recognize that this is a historic evening. This is a budget that it was agreed upon by in a bipartisan manner in the state senate. This is a budget that sets us in a completely different direction than what the state was in previously. Previously, the state was in a perpetual deficit, year after year, after year. We were brought in here time and time again; I think multiple times over the last several years to close deficits from budgets that were passed by the majority party repeatedly, especially since 2011 through massive tax increases that yet still found us in massive deficits.

What this budget does, it begins to climb us up out of that hole, and it climbs us out of that hole by instituting structural changes like a real spending cap, like a real bond cap, and other structural changes that we've been pushing for many, many years. So, to say that we can overnight turn around the State of Connecticut, I don't think anybody's made that argument. I think this is a long time coming that we have finally said enough is enough, the State of Connecticut deserves better and that's why we're presenting this budget here today, and that's why the Senate passed this budget and a large majority supported by three Democrats and 18 Republicans.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

[Phone ringing]

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to thank him for his responses. Can you explain the Municipal Stabilization Grant and how towns are selected to receive them?

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

One moment please, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That would be what one could call a Hold Harmless Grant. It was developed in a way to make sure that any city or town that would have a reduction in municipal aid; whether it be through Education Cost Sharing Grant formula changes, Special Education grant changes, or perhaps some of the other changes that we have for municipal grants in our budget. This was a way to ensure that those towns for the next two fiscal years have stable funding, so that they can make the decisions moving forward that would put property tax payers in the State of Connecticut in better footing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is it the intention to fund those grants after the biennium?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well that goes back to the earlier discussion that I think the kind Chairman of the Education Committee and the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee had regarding the ECS formula and other education funding formulas. The idea there is that they would have a task force develop that type of formula, determine what the municipal aid would be for each one of those municipalities and then roll that out going forward after hopefully in the second year of the biennium if not in the years out. So, though right now the idea is that we're trying to stabilize our economy and stabilize our towns for the next two years, especially when phased with these draconian cuts that I don't think any of us wanted to have happen on October 1st. Those grants will be reevaluated, hopefully, when the ECS formula is reevaluated by that commission.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The municipal revenue sharing fund was put in in place a couple of years ago, and as part of that fund there was an attempt to actually engage in property tax reform rather than property tax relief. So, as part of that fund, we included funding for a car tax cap. It impacts almost 40 communities and fire districts around the state, certainly Manchester and East Hartford benefit from that property tax cap, and you eliminate that. Do you eliminate the car tax cap? Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Through you, Mr. Speaker. Excellent question by the kind gentleman from East Hartford. We do eliminate the cap on the car tax, but it certainly is important to note that it empowers the municipalities to then take control of their own taxation rather than have Hartford or the state come down and tell each one of those individual municipalities how they are supposed to set their mill rates in their towns.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I'd argue that no town is really independent of the state given how much municipal aid is part of our budget year after year after year in helping to mitigate property tax cost. So, if we got rid of the car tax, that would essentially be a $ 68-million-dollar tax increase on residents from those communities. Does that sound accurate?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wouldn't certainly characterize it as that. I would say that it's an opportunity for towns to decide whether or not they want to bifurcate their mill rates. Some might want to keep their mill rate at a lower rate and raise the other mill rates on real property and bifurcate it for cars and keep it at that low level. They might choose to raise that if that's what those local legislative bodies choose to do. But, we also provide additional funding, hopefully, in the out years which changes an ECS and other things that can help backfill some of those issues. So, I would say that it's not a direct property tax increase on individual communities because it empowers them to make that decision. If they want to make the cuts in their communities that might be possible to offset some of that money that is no longer coming from Hartford, and there are a number of towns that do not meet the current mill rate cap, so this change would have no impact on any of those property tax payers in any of those towns.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Rojas.

REP. ROJAS (9TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I haven't met a chief-elected official from a community who would increase those car taxes if the state removed the subsidies, so I think its fair to say that those car taxes would essentially in some communities double pretty quickly if this subsidy was to be eliminated. So, there's been a lot of discussion about structural change, which I think is something we all agree with but recognizing that there continue to be deficits in the out year I'm not quite so sure that the structural changes are really going to have the effect that I think people hope that they're going to have. So, I would caution members of the chamber in voting on this amendment because I really don't think it's going to result in the kind of changes that folks think its going to change and certainly it has tax increases in it and I would ask my colleagues to vote against it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly stand here in a very conflicted space. This is not the budget yesterday I thought we'd be taking up here in the chamber, and quite frankly, this wasn't covered in freshman orientation, as well. [Laughter]

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Point taken, Representative.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

You know I find myself here now knowing that my towns are suffering quite a bit, and we have an executive order looming on us that I think we all agree is not going to be good. So, kind of, before I share some of my other thoughts I do have a few questions for the proponent of the Amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed, sir.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I was wondering if you could just take a minute and talk a little bit about crumbling foundations and what this budget may do for that knowing that it's a pretty significant issue facing the residents of both my district and much of Northeastern Connecticut.

Through you, sir.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd gladly answer his questions if he'd like to direct his questions toward me. Through you, Mr. Speaker. You want me to just talk about what we're doing for crumbling foundations? Within the bond package, at the end of this Amendment, you'll see that there is $ 20-million dollars a year dedicated to crumbling foundations. Likewise, we have a 2. 7-million-dollar payment from the banking fund that would also help fund a new program for crumbling foundations. What would be created is an executive administrator office within the Governor's office that would oversee a program that would provide direct relief to home owners across Eastern Connecticut that are struggling with the tragedy of crumbling foundations and what's important to note what is different between what's in Amendment B and what was in Amendment A.

This empowers those individuals to have a say in how that grant criteria and how it's going to be done is effectuated. First of all, it's done through an executive administrator, one that the crumbling foundations associations have asked for, one that local municipalities keep asking for that we have one person here in the State of Connecticut that we can hold accountable and make sure that this gets done properly. But, also, it requires that any kind of grant requirements or eligibility be sent back to the Planning and Development Committee and the Housing Committee to review and approve before that program was to take place, so it gives the power to the people to make those decisions through their elected Representatives and perhaps through hearings in those committees to be able to make the best decision possible to help fix foundations in a timely manner. It's also important to note too that in the previous Amendment A there was a $ 12-dollar surcharge that was put on insurance policies across the State of Connecticut. This Amendment does not feature that and instead has an extra $ 10-millioin dollars a year in bonding beyond what was available to those home owners in Senate Amendment A.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you, and I thank you for that answer. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is this is a program and a strategy that the CRCOG has been on top of or has been discussed with a lot of the proponents and it would be easily put into process?

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I've had very many conversations with CRCOG, and I look back on our last one just a few weeks ago where Representative Currey of East Hartford was at the meeting and rolled out what essentially is similar to what we have in Senate Amendment A to the council region of governments and they were a bit perplexed about exactly how it would work and the response that we received repeatedly was that you should have one person in the state government who's responsible for this, one person that we can look on and take care of this and it should be housed within the Governor's office. So, that's kind of in response to those discussions that we've had for many, many months in looking back on even the most recent discussions.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Thank you for that. I was also hoping an issue that's of great importance to my area, Dairy Farming, and the community Investment Act; which I know is a very different approach is taken here in this budget. Could you just take a moment and kind of review how we're going to support dairy farmers and if the CIA is in fact changed around are there provisions for some of that act?

Through you, to whomever is the most appropriate.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Davis.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll gladly answer and then of course the kind ranking woman of the Appropriations Committee could certainly follow up if I do not hit all the high points, but my understand is that the CIA account will be administered as it is. All the programs in it will be administered as they are here today. What this budget does is it takes that money from the CIA account a fund transfer of $ 2. 5-million dollars and put it into the General Fund and then actually kind of guarantee that we're going to continue to have those Dairy Fund Programs and put it into the general funds so that the dairy programs across the state are funded as a regular appropriation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. DAVIS (50TH):

Thank you. Through you. Follow up to the Appropriations Chair. Thank you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed.

REP. BOYD (57TH):

Chair?

REP. DAVIS(50TH):

Ranking Member, sorry.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Whatever. Representative Boyd, frame your question.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

Is this equal to or exceeding or less than what we're currently doing to support Dairy Farming.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I will say that there's only one chair in the house in the Appropriation's Committee, and that's my good friend, Tony Walker. So, this CIA issue is one that I'm glad you've asked specifically about because that is one of the last-minute changes that was made to our document yesterday including an appropriation for $ 400,000 dollars for fireman's funds. So, in our original document, when we had to make some tough decisions we wanted to be able to protect dairy farmers, and while I am one of the biggest proponents of open space and historic preservation, originally, we thought we were going to have to make the tough decision and eliminate or sweep the CIA fund. So, in the base document that this is based off of, in order to be able to preserve dairy farm funding we appropriated it. Normally, the CIA or the Community Investment Account for those who are listening is an off-budget account. It doesn't really show up in the Appropriations spreadsheet.

So, in order to make sure and to verify that money was going to be appropriately dedicated to dairy farms we actually put it in as an appropriation, which normally doesn't happen. And then when we went back after discussions with the Connecticut Hospital Association and we updated our document to match their request we had surplus, more surplus than what we would have now in this document and because my priority is the Community Investment Act, we completely eliminated the sweep. So, technically, this document doesn't do anything. The difference is it's because the original document appropriated for dairy farms we left that and why? Frankly, because we knew if we didn't do it poor OFA would be redoing our documents for the next two hours and in light of the fact that they are on overdrive, we decided to do it this way, but it is a basic net met; no sweep to CIA, and it's an appropriation to dairy farmers.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Boyd.

REP. BOYD (50TH):

I thank you for the answers. I stand here very torn because this is not a budget that has a lot of things that I like in many areas. I'm really concerned about UConn. I'm really concerned about funding. I'm really concerned about questions around collective bargaining. I also know I struggled yesterday with the budget that was proposed through negotiation and there was a lot of things I struggled with in that area and didn't know if I could support.

If this does move forward, reading in the paper, it sounds as if we may find ourselves back here in fairly short order, and I would urge all of us on both sides to sit down and try to draft a document and a final budget that is really a bipartisan effort that needs to make the changes that we need to make in our state and even though I've been here for nine months, I think for a lot of different reasons both the kind of fiscal reality of the state, which is surrounded all of this and the political reality that we're going to have a fresh chance to start from the beginning. You know, in my time, I've found out we very quickly label each other, and that's been a difficult piece, a little idealistic coming to the capitol. I always looked at myself as, Kennedy said, an idealist without illusions, and certainly that's been tested. I don't see how we can't look at ourselves and be champions of working families but also set a state that is a great place to do business that corporations want to be.

I don't see how we can't have a budget that's fiscally responsible but also provides safety net and programs for those that need it. We can believe in collective bargaining but also realize that there's some economic realities and every business is different. Unfortunately, I don't think we can afford the State of Connecticut that we're accustomed to anymore, but I know we need to be innovative. We need to invest monies in lots of different areas, and I think we need to sit down and look at things and realize that our goals are not mutually exclusive of each other and so as I try to weigh what we do here today, I know we have an obligation to put something in front of the Governor's desk. We have an obligation, and I'm not sure I can go back to my towns and say we headed a budget, and we didn't do that. So, running the risk of being the new guy, running the risk of being accused of not being a good Democrat or not being a good fill-in-the-blank as I sit here and listen to the rest of this debate, my decision really needs to be what are we going to do next.

How are we going to go after the new problem, because even if we get through this biennium this is only the tip of the iceberg? We're going to have some serious challenges ahead, and we're foolish to think that if we as one party or another can actually solve this in silos; we can't do it. So, the idealist in me is not completely dead in my hope that we can move forward and put aside any political posturing that may happen, forget that elections actually happen, and try to figure out something that works for all of us. And if we all disagree with some of the executive orders and the direction that comes from the executive well that's already one thing that we can work together on to try to override. So, I'm going to listen very carefully to the rest of this debate, but I'm taking this pretty seriously, and I need to put what the next election is out of my mind because we have serious issues and this by far has been the most difficult decision I've had to make in this chamber. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Hampton.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Good evening.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. HAMPTON (16TH):

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to make a few comments on the Amendment. In support of this Amendment, I was trying to think of some lofty quote from FDR or Lincoln or somebody to get us through this, but I was thinking earlier about my dad, who I talked to earlier. He is a retired physician. He's 82 years old. He's very cranky. [Laughter] And, we learned early on the hippocratic oath is do no harm. Do no harm. And, I thought of that when I took my own oath in the year 2013 when I took the oath of office, not to my party; I'm proud to be a Democrat. But, I took an oath to the constitution and to work for all of my constituents, Democrats, Republicans, people who probably don't even know me or not even within the sound of my voice, but we're doing harm to our state and it has to stop. We have to stop the bleeding, and it's been mentioned earlier, this budget is not perfect, but I stand in support of it because it puts in structure reforms that we desperately need.

Structure reforms has become such a cliché. I'm so tired of hearing the term. We're all tired of hearing it and talking about it. So, we have to start implementing those structural reforms, pension reform, capping our bonding and spending. Our constituents are screaming for help every day. I talk to seniors, young people. I talked to my nephew the other day, 24 years old, I said Sean will you be staying in Connecticut? He laughed. He said Uncle John that's funny and shrugged it off, and at first, I thought it was funny and then it really just sickened me. I have no reason to stay in Connecticut. Retirees can't stay here. Businesses are fleeing. How much more messages can we receive to realize that we have to change the trajectory of our state to rise to the occasion to embrace bipartisanship, a compromise, to move the dialogue further along, to raise our state, to raise our people, to raise our businesses.

We can't always equate businesses that are bad. Not all businesses are bad. We need to support our businesses. We need to support those most vulnerable. We need to implement predictability. Out towns want predictability. Our schools want predictability. Our must vulnerable need predictability. Our seniors, those with mental illness, and a special cause to me those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They need stability and predictability. They need us to rise above partisan ranker and to get the job done, and I believe this budget is a compromise and moves us in the right direction to raising the state up to where it should be to returning it to its former glory. So, I stand in support of it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I encourage my colleagues to do so as well.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative De La Cruz.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I have one question for the ranking member of the appropriations.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed sir.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was going to ask. Earlier you talked about the cuts and how they may affect off campus sites, like my district Avery Point. I do want to thank you earlier for your comment that you gave more money to Groton schools. It's good to see people recognizing that we are the main military community in the state, and we do thank you for that, but we also have another college in the area. It's another learning institution; its called Avery Point, and it's part of UConn. I was wondering if you know what the effect of a $ 309-million-dollar cut would be, and I know you mentioned how it's a satellite college and I'm just wondering where your thoughts on something like that would happen or if you guys thought about that?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I didn't have the opportunity to talk about the Board of Trustees implementing a plan, and so obviously it's going to be up to them because we block grant UConn, but I will say if you look at our bipartisan budget, which is Senate Amendment B you're going to notice a specific line for Avery Point, but it actually has to do with shellfish testing because one of the things we've heard from constituents in your district, through you, Mr. Speaker is the struggle for shellfish, the industry, and so by having testing lab at Avery Point, specifically, we're hoping to generate some cohesive working relationships there, getting up that sort of lab, so that specifically Avery Point isn't our budget, but it's really for shellfish testing.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative De La Cruz.

REP. DE LA CRUZ (41ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and just some comments on that. I do thank the gentlelady for thinking of Avery Point, but what I will say is obviously when you block grant an institution they're going to make decisions in their best interest and what they think is going to be the best for their college, and I would be safe to say that they would probably first start cutting the satellite campuses. How that affects us, I have a quick re-little story. I'm not going to take too long, but a young lady whose mom passed away as a sophomore started her junior year at a new school at Fitch High School. She excelled and ended up going to Eastern Connecticut, four-year-degree, was saddled with some debt and decided to join the National Guard. That was about five years ago. She's currently a Sargent.

She made a decision recently to go to Avery Point because they have a nursing program. The reason she chose it is because she actually lived in Groton. The young lady is my niece. She actually is going to move back in with us and take advantage of being close to a satellite school as so many middle-class folks do. I think once you start affecting the community college; the main campus is great, and I think that's a great experience but a lot of kids can't do that usually because of financial reasons, and I'm really afraid of the effects of her being forced to now be to the middle. Again, I heard how small this state was. I'll point out from Groton to UConn is over an hour. Most middle-class kids in my section do not have cars where they're going to be able to go to college, so they'll be paying room and board, which will be a huge expense for them. From Groton to Danbury; I don't have a time, I can just tell you to pack a cooler and probably pack some clothes, maybe some camping gear because as you guys all know, we don't have tolls in this state, so our roads are nowhere near the quality of the other states around us.

I think about why I ran and why I'm here, and I think we all should think about that. I think the moment that I decided to run was about three years ago, almost four years ago now, when we found out my son was addicted to pain killers. It was a tough moment for me; it was a moment that I was able to get through. I remember calling, finding out that you think your child is going to die because you see all these other children dying around you in your community and finding out that your son or daughter has that same affliction that these young people are going through and crying. The first thing I remembered to do was to call my union. I'm a union sheet metal worker. I've been doing sheet metal for 30 years, and in my deepest, darkest moment when I thought everything was lost and I thought my son was going to die I called the union hall. They recognized that there was a problem.

They had so many members complaining about it that they said you know we need a special person. I called that special person. They got my son into rehab. He went to a beautiful place in Marwood, PA. They took care of him. It felt like a hospital setting. He felt better about himself. So, I live in a neighborhood that there aren't a lot of people with a lot of money but there are a lot of people in the same situations.

One of my great friends' son was going through the very same thing, and when I got my son to that rehab and got to see the place and the quality, I said you know what this is okay, you guys are going to be all right. Go to Marwood. There was a guy behind me in line, and he was paying $ 5,000 bucks. You know I paid $ 500 because I have collectively bargained insurance that is excellent, but it gave me that branch. That's how I got my son there. Well, he called. He called me back and said Joe, I don't know why you told me to call this place, you know my insurance must not be what yours is. They told me $ 30,000 dollars or tell him not to come. That was the answer. That's the day I started to sign and I had done nine municipal budgets already, so I had always been involved locally. I didn't know if I was going to have the time to run and be up here in Hartford. To tell you the truth, I don't have the time, it's been very hard. I think all of us can say that.

But to talk to a friend and realize that you're much better off than him, you're in a better position than he and his wife is to deal with the problems of their child and what they're going through is devastating. In the union, I wasn't in the union first, I did LOB in 1989. I was non-union for eight years. When I got into the union everybody was calling each other brother, sister, brother, sister. I didn't really know what that meant and now after going through what I went through with this insurance issue, I call people brother and sister because I want every person that I meet to do as good as my brother and sister, as good as I'd want them to do.

I don't think it's right that people don't have the insurance we have. I mean I think it's one of those things that we all should have, and it's hard for one guy in one house to walk right next door and their kid not get the same treatment, and it's the only disease that really happens with. I know we have the citizen's election petition. I wanted to say something quickly about that. I agree. Before I got involved with politics and I found out you get $ 5,000 bucks or $ 28,000 bucks or whatever it is if you raise $ 5,000 bucks I said wow that's just sounds like it's wasted state money until I got involved in running. I ran in local town politics where they raise about $ 50 dollars and buy you signs and you go knock on doors, and I get that. Local politics, there's not a lot of big money in it, but I went against an opponent who was in an incumbent who had mailers out who people knew. So, if you're running against an incumbent and a lot of us have done that, without a Citizen's Election Petition, I think that would be very difficult to do. You need 150 people at least to raise $ 5,000 dollars with a maximum of 100. I had to get over 200 people for me to get to that $ 5,000-level. My constituents don't have that. I'm hearing numbers of or they can just give you up to $ 1,000.

I don't have friends that are going to give me even $ 100 dollars. I have friends that owe me $ 100 dollars. [Laughter] And, I'll probably never get it back, but they're still friends, but that's my limit. You can only owe me $ 100 dollars; then we're not friends anymore. What scares me about all the talk about structural change, and I think everyone in this room has heard me talk about how Florida, we bring them up all the time, about how much smarter they are than us. Their taxes are so much lower, they're so much better, well you know I did some research myself. If you're a brand-new state trooper in the state of Florida you start off at $ 38,000 dollars which qualifies you for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. So, when people are going down to Florida saying that the taxes are cheaper, I would agree, probably but is it because that we're subsidizing their police force, their teachers. We have a young lady that moved from up here down there and she's making $ 1165 with a master's degree teaching preschool in Florida. So, what concerns me is when people walk around the state and just keeping pounding on the fact that we need to be more like Florida, I gotta remind you that structural change sometimes will bring you different change and maybe change that you're not expecting. If we followed and took the murder rate, and you guys know what actually happened with our family, and I've looked up all these other things too. If we applied, remember now if we start cutting programs that have proven that Connecticut is a leader in education we're low on the poverty list. We have done a lot of great things. We never pat ourselves on the back. We're like that self-conscious person that walks in and says hey Joe your shirt's ugly and you go oh my God it must be ugly, I'll take it off and change it. I'm not that guy and we shouldn't be that state. Let's start patting ourselves on the back. Let's learn from other states things we can learn. What I'm worried about is we have this tier 4A now and we agreed with a SEBAC deal that I think a lot of the union folks are not very happy with. I think a lot of people gave up a lot of things during this process and now we're asking for even more. Now we're asking them to give more and let me remind you, those folks that have collectively bargained insurance are folks that when it hits the fan they're going to get the care that they need as opposed to someone that doesn't have good insurance, and I think if you structurally change a lot of the things that happened in this state, whether it's cutting wages or cutting different things or making college unaffordable, one of the structural changes we may bring is the murder rate from Louisiana. In Connecticut in 2015 we had 125 murders and if you took the Louisiana 10. 3 per 100,000 we would've had 391 murders. So, sometimes the changes you guys and we all in this room talk about we don't think of the results of those changes and that has to be part of it. We are Connecticut. We're different, yeah, you're right we are different and maybe we're more expensive in some areas but let's at least please3 look at other states and make sure we're not opening a rabbit hole of making our state employees qualify for their Earned Income Tax Credit to try to be competitive with other states because that's a losing proposition.

I thank you guys all for listening to me. I am obviously not going to support this budget. There's a million things in here that I don't like. I've gotten calls from constituents, again, we realize that the school funding for Groton is the most important thing on the top priority, but it isn't the only one. I'll probably get cooked when I go back home saying Joe that's your only priority but there's other things involved, and this budget addresses things in the wrong way in my opinion. I, again, would love to work with everybody and get to a bipartisan budget, but this one's just way too far away. I look forward to debating and getting something on the floor that we can all vote for. So, thank you Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Stafstrom.

REP. STAFSTROM (129TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I had a bunch of questions, but I guess on this side of the aisle maybe we're not as accustomed to getting in line to ask the questions, so I was late on the mic, so I think they've all been asked. I do want to make a couple points. You know we hear often in this chamber, and we've heard it a little bit tonight that we need to change the way we do business in the State of Connecticut, and I think there's a lot of people who agree with that statement. I think the issue is we may disagree on what changes and how to change the way we do business. To me, one of the biggest problems facing the State of Connecticut and we've seen it with young people leaving the state. We've seen it with companies who are searching for larger cities and more dynamic places where they can seek employees is that we went decades in the state with ignoring our cities as economic drivers.

We had a race toward suburban culture, suburban office parks, and we benefitted for years of the flight of companies and individuals out of New York, out of Boston, into suburban office parks. The world has changed. The 21st century has changed, and we need to make significant and substantial investments in our core cities as economic drivers if we are going to reverse the economic fortunes of the State of Connecticut and see the rate of growth that I think we all would like to see. Mr. Speaker, this budget does not do that. This budget, in fact, goes the exact opposite way. It raises car taxes by $ 68-million dollars on people who can least afford to pay it. Right now, if you want a car valued at $ 10,000 dollars in the city of Bridgeport, you pay $ 370 dollars a year in property taxes on that car; your 10,000 dollar five-year-old, six-year-old, eight-year-old Honda. If you live in Greenwich you pay $ 180 dollars a year. It's already unequal. Under this budget, that car tax in Bridgeport will jump to $ 543 dollars, a difference for the same car between Bridgeport and Greenwich of $ 363 dollars, the exact same car but the mere fact you cannot afford to live in Greenwich and you can only afford to live in Bridgeport means you will pay $ 363 dollars more on a car tax.

To me, Mr. Speaker, I would rather pay $ 6 bucks a year on my cell phone bill. Mr. Speaker, in addition to making it more expensive to live in our cities, this budget also makes it more expensive to visit our cities. Right now, if you attend an event at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, which many folks in the southern part of the state I'm sure have, you go to a big concert, you know that every restaurant in downtown Bridgeport, every restaurant in Black Rock, every restaurant in Fairfield is full on nights there are major concerts at the arena. This budget increases the tax to go to an event at Webster Bank Arena. It budgets $ 2-million dollars for repealing the admissions exemption at Webster Bank Arena, the XL Center and other venues throughout the state. Again, an additional tax of $ 2-million dollars to visit the XL Center and Webster Bank Arena in two of our state's largest cities.

We've heard, Mr. Speaker, that this budget takes a Robin Hood approach to ECS. It exacerbates the achievement gap we already have in the state by cutting funding to the cities that need it most and by increasing it to some of the cities who need it the least. When you already have a mill rate of 54 like you do in Bridgeport or 60-something like you do in Waterbury or 72 like you have in Hartford, there's very little room to go to increase spending for your education. We rely on the state because we already pay a ridiculous amount in property taxes over and above what any of our suburban neighbors do, yet we struggle to maintain aids in her kindergarten classes that our suburban neighbors do not. We struggle to retain our teachers because we can't afford to pay them as much as our suburban neighbors can. This budget, Mr. Speaker, makes it harder to educate the kids of our state's largest city. Again, making them less attractive to young professionals, to families, and to companies. And, the final point, Mr. Speaker, I want to make on this is we've heard a little bit about education and higher education funding. The Bridgeport region where I come from and where many of the folks in this chamber come from, the Fairfield folks, the Stratford folks, we don't have a four-year state institution in our region. As our state's largest city, we do not have a four-year public college in that region. Instead, what we have, is we have three superior private institutions. We have my alma mater, Fairfield University, we have Sacred Heart, and we have the University of Bridgeport. They rely and the folks going to those universities rely on a stream of funding from the Roberta Willis Scholarship Fund. This budget, Mr. Speaker, closes out that fund. It makes it more expensive for middle class kids and poor kids from our area to go to college in the area they live. It places a strain on the budgets of those three universities, which I've spoken of.

And, as I have spoken, as I'm sure many from the regional delegation of Bridgeport have to the presence of those universities they implore us to maintain it because they rely upon it in order to educate those kids and maintain services and employment levels at the level they are in our region. Mr. Speaker, the good Finance Chairman said it earlier; budgets reflect our values and to me this budget does not reflect a value of growth in our state's economy. It does not reflect a value of growth of our urban centers as the economic drivers that we all need them to be in order to continue to grow the state and in order to maintain young professionals and folks in our state and in order to attract the large cooperation's, medium-size businesses and the small businesses that rely upon them to grow our economy.

So, Mr. Speaker, for those reasons and for several others, I stand in opposition to the Amendment before us.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a few questions to the proponent of the Amendment.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Proceed sir.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you. I have to tell you I had a few hours to contemplate what I was going to do, but I just want anybody who's looking in on the cameras to know what we're contemplating. What's in this is what we're trying to contemplate and one of the areas that I figure I'd narrow this down to is trying to focus on maybe some of the key points near and dear to my heart; one of them being housing. And, in this document, there's over 200 pages that has references to the new alignment of the Housing Department, so I'm just going to pick a few because it's pretty involved, but that's where I'm going to start anyway so you know.

Anyone who's been here in the General Assembly more than six years knows that prior to that that the Housing Department was run out of economic development like it's being proposed to be rose back underneath. So, my first question is what was the thought process in putting it back under Department of Economic Development?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank my good friend and colleague for the question, and before I answer it I will say to you I certainly understand your frustration holding up that stack of papers, but unfortunately as you already know sir it's impossible for us to file that ahead of time, we have to do it as an Amendment, so here we are. The concept simply was this, we need to shrink the size of government and live within our means. The Department of Housing, some of the actions of the Department of Housing could happen under DECD. We make significant eliminations to managerial top-executive levels, like for instance Deputy Commissioners, executive secretaries, so the thought process behind consolidation of agencies, which this is one is really to save the support staff, human resources, back office staff, and it's an effort to save money. If you were to look at all of the agencies in our budget, it seemed that that might make the most appropriate sense if we were consolidating to look at DECD.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you. Through you, Mr. Speaker, so as a result I get what you're actually referring to. Could you tell me how many employees in the Department of Housing there are now and as a result of this how many that you propose to eliminate?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm sorry I don't have the details that my good friend is asking for. Like any budget, the executive branch will be implementing this policy, and so obviously it would be our hope that the Governor, our Governor of this state who is from another party would understand those intentions and implement the policy accordingly.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, it's not that I was really actually complaining too much about the size of the document, I just wanted to point out that for anybody tuning in that we have a lot to consider here, and just in one area I wanted to point out that just talking about the Housing Department which is over 200 pages, but at any rate, I see what you're speaking of in terms of trying to actually reduce the size of government in hope of saving some money, but when you start talking about the situation we're in, I'm looking forward to okay whenever we come up with a budget and stabilize the situation that we're in, we're going to need to actually spare some economic activity to actually continue to grow the economy. One of the areas that is very profound in economic indicator in terms of any economic forecast is housing.

So, I could tell you that prior to the six years ago when we actually moved the Department of Housing out onto its own to be its own entity to focus primarily on housing that housing in the State of Connecticut was pretty stagnant. There wasn't a lot of activity, but since then we've had more than hundreds of millions of dollars spent developing housing in the State of Connecticut, thousands of jobs. Thousands of jobs all around the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of sites all around the state. Hundreds of towns and cities have benefitted from the activity that this Department of Housing has been diligently getting done. So, that has been helping even in our little recession that we experienced. We still were able to have a pretty robust housing initiative. So, I guess my point is that one of the areas that I would be very cautious about is tinkering with this and trying to put that back in some kind of bottle some kind of way when it's been one of the bring points in the State of Connecticut and even in a recession they've done quite well. That's just from an economic point of view. I just had a couple of questions about some of the other services tied to the agency. Specifically, I just wanted to know about some of the interaction with other state departments, but some of the line items I'm really concerned with is what we're going to do for the homeless youth. Has that line item in our budget been reduced?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you for the question. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I don't believe we've reduced that line item. I'm double checking with staff right now. It's certainly an area we know sitting through the appropriations process through the public hearings that is an area of concern. I'm double checking but my answer at the moment is I don't believe we have.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker, because one of the things we in Connecticut should be proud of is that our actually being the first state to end homelessness for Veterans. Our second initiative was to end chronic homelessness. So, we've come a long way toward solving the homelessness here in the state and really hoping that we could continue on that mission because we've done so many great things. So, while you're looking up the numbers for the homeless, in terms of youth I would also like to know about any of the money that we actually provide for organizations in the municipalities that help address homeless. Have we cut any of those line items?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I did verify the data that my good friend has asked for, and we in fact flat fund them which means that there's the same exact appropriation, 17, for homeless youth in your question. I would also say, through you, Mr. Speaker, that certainly there's been a huge investment in housing over the last few years through the bond commission and when we are in appropriations, as you know when we're meeting jointly we talk a lot about the different programs through CBDG and other federal partners that we have. You know I'm not aware anywhere in our document where we make any sort of significant declines, and again to implement our policy we're relying on our Governor who happens to be in another party to implement our policy, and I hope that's the best I can do to answer your question.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well and just to be more specific, the money you talk about in terms of the bonding that we use in the State of Connecticut relative to housing really is to actually help build up the aging Housing Authority housing stock and many municipalities have been applying to that and we have made a commitment of over $ 30-million dollars a year over many years but that is supplemental to actually the other housing that is being built, which by the way, besides the activity we had and the jobs that were built, actually what that means to our grant list really we're hoping to actually build that tax base through a natural phenomenon building housing.

So, I mean, this is one of the ways that we should concentrate our efforts. What I'm trying to actually share with colleagues here who haven't been here maybe more than six years is prior to us having the Department of Housing, which their primary mission is just housing period to put them back in DECD they're going to go back to a back-burner situation where guess what they're not going to be the prime objective of economic development, they're just not. That's why we didn't see the activity that we have now. I have a couple more questions in housing before I change my focus. One of the things that have come up in the last few weeks is an issue about RAPs for individuals that have HIV aids and their rental programs. I just wanted to know if there have been any cuts to that assistance to that community.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You bring up a good point. So, what happens in a lot of this area and also in the State Department of Education Agency, we do a lot of consolidations and merge lines and sometimes its very hard to follow. So, I think that is in this case as well because we're trying to merge and consolidate. There is no reductions to that. In fact, all the housing money is still appropriated there, but there may be a consolidation in that line item and I certainly wouldn't expect you to know that dealing with two pounds of paper on your side of the aisle. I can assure you that when we looked at our document through you, Mr. Speaker to my good friend, we tried to prioritize as best we could and this is an area where we chose to prioritize. And, as you know, a $ 5-billion-dollar budget deficit requires tough decisions, but we tried to spare that sensitive safety net as much as we could.

Through you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can appreciate that answer, but I want to hear this perspective when we're talking about this community because right now we have a very good housing program where we actually have continuity of their housing solution and if we actually cut this program and make them homeless that means they're going to be out on the streets and when you have people with HIV AIDS out on the streets just running around without a place to live, it's no longer going to be a housing solution, it's going to be a health issue because there's going to be more spread of HIV AIDS that's going to be happening. There's going to be more spread. Right now, we're really managing that well, but if we make that community homeless, something that we have a pretty good handle on now is going to be a major health issue in the state.

So, I just want to make people aware of that aspect and that we should do everything not just for compassionate reasons but for public health reasons. My last couple of questions in terms of the housing is there association with other state agencies? Right now, there's overtime because the way you have to codify the agency itself. There are a lot of MOUs with other state agencies. In the area of RAPs, I'd like to know if there is language in here that has any memorandums of understandings of how to interact with other agencies like DSS or DMAS when it comes to RAP or any other housing services. Do you account for that in your document here?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker, we have targeted significant savings in overtime as a generality in our document. When you add it all up, we save $ 25-million dollars in each fiscal year for overtime. When it comes to how agencies interact with each other, one of the things we did in an earlier reiteration of our budget document was get a list of all the attorneys that are embedded in some of these agencies, and I was pretty shocked; it was about 120, maybe more. It was hundreds of attorneys throughout the agencies, and so the idea was maybe we could put them all in the Attorney General's office and cut that in half, but we kept an attorney in each agency so that there could be coordination, so we didn't eliminate them. So, that's an example of trying to be as thoughtful as possible understanding that these agencies have to communicate, that there is that opportunity but also something that every town is doing in this state which is shared services, and I think that we have, while it certainly would be maybe more effective in the delivery of the model that you're suggesting, in these times we felt that we had to consolidate and have shared service just like many of our municipalities.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you for the answer and through you, Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate what you're trying to accomplish, I'm just trying to say that the reality is that with many of the other agencies that you're trying to tuck underneath other agencies that interact with subsequent other agencies there are interactions that they have know where it's a straight line as to who's responsible for what. There's going to have to be -- and certainly some agencies have those memorandums of understanding of how to do business but when you start tucking all these agencies within each other it's going to cause a little chaos there in terms of who has the ability to do what.

So, I'm saying while it may look like it's saving on the outside, when you have to figure out who has the right to interact and perform what duty and then to actually codify and have to come back here legislate that memorandum of understanding it gets a little pricey because we've seen that over years just in trying to account for all of the interaction with the other agencies with the Department of Housing. That's just one department, so when you do it for multiple it's going to be a little chaotic for a while. I wouldn't think that it's just going to tuck in nicely and everybody's going to be able to perform all their duties with no repercussions.

I'm going to move on now. I know that you know about CIA funds, which is near and dear to my heart too. You may not think about that for an urban legislator, but I believe strongly in it. I heard you talk earlier that you accounted for putting aside $ 2. 5-milliion dollars for the CIA funds, and I would just like to know if the typical programs that are accounted for under CIA all of them are accounted for in this budget?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that question because it was a little confusing to understand. In my earlier reiteration of what was formally a Republican budget proposal before it was adopted as a bipartisan document earlier today, we had not used the original hospital tax proposal as you had. In having conversations with the Connecticut Hospital Association, we updated our document and that provided us the opportunity to have additional savings, which we then applied in part to the Community Investment Act. In the previous reiteration, we had swept the Community Investment Act for $ 19-million dollars in each fiscal year, but we had taken $ 2. 5-million specifically and normally the CIA is an off-budget account, so there's not appropriation as you well know you don't see that. So, we had appropriated $ 2. 5-million dollars for dairy farmers specifically, and we had swept it all until yesterday when we were able to find additional savings and my priority, personally, like you is the Community Investment Act. So, we're able to backfill and replenish that sweep. So, while you see the $ 2. 5 coming out, essentially, it's a net met. The system is the same the programs are the same nothing has changed. It's just frankly a lot easier for our staff, not just ours, but the non-partisan staff to be able to do it in that way, so that's how we accounted for it.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you, and through you, Mr. Speaker, just to be clear, it was mentioned that the dairy farmers and supporting them which you know for Connecticut dairy farmers I think we should be supportive of them. I love milk. [laughing] besides them, also there was initiatives for open space and initiatives for believe it or not, housing. So, I want to know if those initiatives are accounted for as well?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

I'll figure out how to use this microphone in a minute. [laughing] Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. So, yes, to answer your question, absolutely. So, the other components of the Committee Investment Act are open space, affordable housing, which I know is your passion. There's also another one, which is historic preservation, which a lot of our smaller communities' use. All of those aspects, in addition to supporting our dairy farmers are all intact and in place at fully funded levels.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Okay and probably one of the last areas I wanted to talk about or have a question about is the platform to employment. Is there somebody who can speak about if that program has been cut in any way, how much, and what was the thought behind it?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I had to turn behind me because I wanted to make sure that this was not one of the programs that we had consolidated as I was trying to explain before, and I've been assured that program is still standalone and fully funded at 2017 levels.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Butler.

REP. BUTLER (72ND):

Thank you for all of your answers. I don't have any other questions, my last observation which is near and dear to my heart is the conversation regarding the cap on the mill rate, especially for property tax when it comes to cars. I've heard the debate about that and I don't think it was quite put in perspective that I saw it in. Quite clearly, we need property tax reform in the State of Connecticut. That's something we need. I don't see how it's fair that the same car that I own if somebody in the town next to me can pay half the amount of taxes just based on our local mill rate. When we talk about all the other state aid that all the municipalities get, state money goes to paving roads, building bridges and guess what we all drive on the same roads and bridges and get money for repairs. So, why should I pay more for my car than the person in the neighboring town just because they're a smaller community and have maybe a better mill rate.

In just about every municipality around me, every town pays probably almost half as much in taxes on cars than we do in my municipality. You can make a lot of explanations for why that's so, but the bottom line is it just isn't fair. It just isn't fair. We had a mechanism in here that was great to recap it at 37 mills and if there was 40 towns that was able to take advantage of this, just look at where we are today. We're almost in October and I don't know how many of those cities have sent out car tax bills. So, by not having money to these municipalities once their faced with the reality if this passes that they have to fill that gap their going to have to send out a bill in Waterbury; it won't be 37 mills. In Waterbury, they're going to be sending out tax bills for $ 60 mills. That's pretty profound. That's pretty profound.

When my colleague from Bridgeport spoke about the mill rate being 50 there, 70-something in Hartford, it just isn't fair and for us to actually put that off and take it away now at this late stage of the game just isn't right. It isn't right at all. So, to not have that in this Bill is being punitive to all the cities that have a mill rate that's greater than 37 mills. So, I hope everybody knows if this passes and actually becomes law that for those people who vote for it and may live in a city like Waterbury or Bridgeport or Hartford okay you're going to have to explain to your residents why you're not paying 37 mills for your car, you're going to be paying 60 mills, 72 mills, or 54 mills. That is going to be a rude awakening for, the answer was 40 municipalities have a mill rate over 37 mills. It's just not fair. Just that one aspect, I think, really, really is important. To me directly it's important, but also, I can tell you that many people used to put off buying cars just because of paying these high mill rates. The car industry had a little boost because people said hey listen we could go out and buy a new car now, it's only 37 mills. We don't have to pay 70 mills on a new car.

I could just say that if for nothing else, I don't think this should be supported for the cuts to UConn, the cuts in education. What I think is going to be really devastation to the Department of Housing and other agencies that are going to be tucked under other agencies and this mill rate is the last straw. We need property tax reform, and we need it now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Steinberg.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Good evening, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Good evening, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

A few comments on the legislation before us today.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Go right ahead, sir.

REP. STEINBERG (136TH):

Thank you. Needless to say, I was a little surprised at the legislation we've been discussing this evening. It's always been important to me. You know I'd like to read the Bill, maybe not like to read, but I feel it's kind of a responsibility. I've kind of been focused on the Democrat one. The good news is I've had a chance to see earlier versions of the Republican Amendment before us, and I think I've got at least a fairly good fill, even though I'm not totally caught up. I was actually very excited. Some of the structural reforms that are in there I think are absolutely critical, a breath of fresh air, part of the solution that we're going to turn things around here in this state. So, I admit frankly I was one of the Democrats who was not prepared to vote for what would have been Senate Amendment A. I had vowed, for example, not to vote for a budget that included teacher pension sharing.

I view that as potentially a path to which eventually municipalities will be writing checks to the state. It's not a place I thought we ought to go. For that alone, I was not prepared to vote for what might have been the legislation before us. I also had concerns about some of the taxes that popped up at the last minute that hadn't had public hearings and really needed further scrutiny. It was very hard for me to contemplate not support it because of the hard work that a lot of people put into this. I had some personal interests having been involved with several sections of the implementer that I think would have been very constructive and productive, I hope eventually will find their way back into the budget. So, I looked at what is before us today with great anticipation, and certainly my desire was to vote for what has been described as a bipartisan budget. Alas, I found things in this budget that I also have problems with.

For example, the Citizen's Election Program. To scrap the Citizen's Election Program, in my opinion is very poor policy. Not too long ago we had a program that was the model for other states in this country and for which we can be very proud. There are people here in this room, elected officials, who would not be here were it not for the Citizen's Election Program. Yes, it had some flaws. Yes, we actually weakened it in some significant ways, not long ago, which I voted against. But to jettison this program rather than to reform it, and there are logical reforms that could be put in place is basically the death nail for any number of folks who would represent the state well from considering to participate and to become elected officials. I would hope that we would certainly reconsider the prospect of eliminating a program that has been so successful for this state and for many years we were very proud.

I also have reservations and concerns with regard to the savings that are preferred that count on concessions or changes to labor agreements starting in 2027. It reminds me a little bit of the popeye story with Wimpy. I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. I'm not sure we can truly incumber future legislators, and I think its problematic to assume as much as $ 140-million dollars is really going to happen in that context. So, I got a problem with that. I've also never really been a fan of the transportation program, which I don't think is a sufficient solution given the depth of the crisis we face in transportation infrastructure. So, I have a dilemma. I'm not really satisfied with this budget either. I've never been a cockeyed optimist, but I still believe that we can have a consensus budget, not simply a technical bipartisan budget but a true consensus budget that attracts lots of votes from both sides of the aisle, whether the Governor likes it or not. Something that reflects the spirt and the intent of the legislation before us but also incorporates many of the really strong policy components that are also part of the Bill the Democrats have been proposing. That's the budget we need for Connecticut.

I implore and engage my colleagues to view this not as the end of any process but as an opportunity for us to sit down together, put aside the politics and really think about what's best for the State of Connecticut. I think we're actually pretty close to reaching consensus on any number of these things, but this budget is not it either, and unfortunately, I can't support it. Thank you very much.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Vargas.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to oppose the Amendment. I'd like to speak to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle on their proposed budget. But, first of all, I'd like to say that I have great confidence in my leadership. Our speaker and our majority leader sacrificed this summer working very hard to make sure that we all had an opportunity to have input in what should have been a bipartisan budget. I believe they worked in good faith to make that happen, and I believe that there was really not the will; politics got in the way.

This budget is a disaster. Representative Stafstrom spoke about its effect on the cities. Representative Haddad spoke about its effect on our kids, our college kids, the future. I agree with them. This is a budget that cannot be supported. The fact is, Governor Malloy, has already stated that this is a dead letter, and that he will veto this budget. The Governor makes some good points on why he's against the budget, some of the same points that were made by people who spoke previously.

I have many concerns. One of them is the lack of funds for the Citizen's Election Program, which is going to allow the proliferation of dark money. I think that's a disaster for the Democratic process. You know there was a lot of talk that came out from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle about the 2011 taxes and how we had raised the taxes and yet not been able to produce the kind of revenue that the state needs.

Well, if we're honest about it, it's because salaries in Connecticut have continued on a downward spiral since the 2008 disaster on Wall Street. If salaries go down and people that made $ 80,000 have to settle for a job that pays $ 60,000 those that made $ 60,000 have to settle for a job that pays $ 40,000. If salaries continue in a downward spiral, it's no surprise that our state income tax is not producing the revenue that our sales tax is not producing the revenue. We have to be about the working people in Connecticut.

There's a truth in the fact that no matter how high taxes are you can't get blood out of a stone. We have to help Connecticut working families earn a living wage. Now, we talked different ideas. CBIA opposed taxing the big box stores, which was an initiative my colleague, Peter Tercyak, talked about. When I came to Hartford in 1972 as a young teacher, almost every neighborhood had a neighborhood pharmacy owned by the neighborhood pharmacies who paid property taxes to the city of Hartford who spend their money supporting other businesses in the Hartford area. Today, the CVS', the Walgreen's, the Wal-Marts, all these big box stores are like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking every profit out of the State of Connecticut for Wall Street investors who may live who knows where, Saudi Arabia? Germany? Who knows? But the money doesn't recirculate in our economy, yet we subsidized the workforce to these big box stores.

We subsidize them through our tax payer monies, yet CBIA parades the small business people and said oh this will hurt; you know raising salaries will hurt the small business. No, raising salaries would help the small business person. Those small neighborhood businesses would be helped if people in their neighborhoods had a little discretionary cash that they could spend in their businesses. Sometimes we're victims of our own biases, our own prejudices, and we grow up with them and we don't even see them. This attitude that is reflected in this budget which has let Hartford go bankrupt. I represent the city of Hartford, the south end neighborhood, which includes little Italy. Many of you may be familiar with Carbone's restaurant in the south end, an institution there. It's a working-class neighborhood. Let me tell you something about the city, and I mean this as no criticism of modern-day West Hartford, which is a great community. It has a strong middle class, but some of you may not know the origin.

When Reverend Hooker founded Hartford, West Hartford was part of the city of Hartford, but at that time, most of the wealthy, white Anglo-Saxon protestants who lived in that section during the 1845 Irish famine when immigrants started coming into the center of Hartford decided that they didn't want to share their wealth with those papists, dirty scum immigrants that were coming into the city and petitioned to make West Hartford a separate town. I 1854 the legislature granted the town of West Hartford its own charter and it came into existence. Today, West Hartford has a vibrant middle-class community. It's very diverse.

So, it's no reflection on modern-day West Hartford, but this attitude has always existed, especially when people who live in the center cities happen to be many of them Black and Puerto Rican, different, just like those WASPs looked down on those Irish immigrants and you know the sad thing is as time goes by many people forget their immigrant roots. Many people suffered as Italians, as Jews, as Irish, as Polish now adopt the same attitude as the WASPs who, by the way, themselves were immigrants. And, here we are, today, 2017 and some of these attitudes have become so cultural and so engrained in this country that people actually believe it's a good thing that the city of Hartford goes under. Well, let me tell you something about the city of Hartford, the city of Hartford is a city of 120,000 people of which maybe 30,000 are carrying the tax burden and those 30,000 are carrying a tax burden for a region that's 1. 5-million people. That's why it doesn't work. That's why it needs help. We have the hospitals. We have the recreation. We have the XL Center. We have the Meadows Theater. We have all these services. We have the halfway houses.

You know it's a great thing to live in Avon or in Simsbury and Farmington, but you know what if you get a pink slip there's no low-income housing there for you. You got to move to Hartford to find an apartment for your family. You're one paycheck away from being disinvited from your country club. I represent the city of Hartford, and I'll tell you what, if Hartford becomes the next Detroit and by the way we had a commitment of $ 50,000 dollars from the corporate community if we were able to balance our budget, $ 10,000 every year for five years that's going to go away and disappear. Our mayor, Luke Bronin, is going to have to declare bankruptcy if we don't get the state aid and you know what why are we in the hole? Because as the State of Connecticut has exempted properties from taxation, we were supposed to be reimbursed through the pilot program, which has never been fully funded. So, the problems are structural created by our own institutions. They hypocrisy oozes, it oozes.

People have told me many times Ed why don't you keep your opinions and go back to where you came from, and I'll say yeah maybe one day I will go back to Brooklyn, New York. Maybe they can deport me back to Brooklyn, New York. [Laughter] I tell you what, if Hartford goes under, there is not one rural area, one suburban area that's not going to feel it. Some of you may say well maybe the inner ring suburbs will feel it and maybe West Hartford, Wethersfield, Bloomfield, Windsor, the inner ring suburbs might feel it but you know what if the inner ring suburbs like East Hartford you know if Pratt & Whitney leaves, if Traveler's leaves, if we become a next void here think about where the employment centers are.

It's the center cities. If we lose those $ 5,000 jobs; Aetna has left here temporarily while their leadership went to Boston. By the way, that's the other narrative we hear from the other side of the aisle. We hear the narrative that we're a high tax state, high salary state, and that's why people are leaving, no. People left, where did they go? Boston. Higher taxes, higher salaries. Where did Aetna, the CO go? Manhattan, higher salaries, higher taxes. That's not why people are leaving Connecticut. They're leaving because the young people want vibrant cities. They want us to invest in our urban areas. Now, I know the urban areas are very ethnic and maybe they're more diverse than some other communities out there but you know what the cities are going to survive.

The cities are going to survive because this budget, which is a disaster, is going to go down and we're going to work on a budget and it should be a bipartisan budget. I know our leadership has done everything in their power to try and make this budget a bipartisan budget. I know that they will continue to sacrifice what's left of the summer, which they've sacrificed away from their families to continue to try to reach across the other side of the aisle. But let's stop the hypocrisy. This is not a real budget for the future of Connecticut. You know the northeast corner, nice and quiet, go and ask those little towns, those little rural areas, Columbia, Bolton. How many people there work in the city of Hartford?

If Hartford becomes the next Detroit and those pink slips start going it's not just going to hurt the inner city and its surrounding suburbs. It's going to go far and wide. I know people that commute 45 minutes a day coming to the city of Hartford to work. I know people all the way from Springfield, Massachusetts on the other side of the border that come for a job in the city of Hartford. Thousands and thousands of jobs in this city, and what are we going to do? We're going to tell the city of Hartford drop dead with this budget, not with my vote. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Mushinsky.

REP. MUSHINSKY (85TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, am very interested in bipartisan efficiency. As you guys know, I've worked for many years on a bipartisan committee that only did efficiency, which no longer exists and we got some very good ideas out of that committee. For example, the Parks Passport came out of the report on protecting the state parks and it was based on a Parks Medallion idea used by several other states to keep their parks financially whole, and because it's a good idea it's found in both the Democratic budget and the Republican budget.

Well, one of the other, really good bipartisan ideas was how we help older workers and long-term dislocated workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own and our committee report looked at what are the most successful retraining programs for these people and who does the best job at the best cost, and who was it but Platform to Employment, which has a 94% placement rate for these people. They work with 400 employers. They have retrained more than 1,000 workers for a new career and they make an average wage of $ 22. 45, which in my part of the state is almost enough to support a household. The cost of living in my part of the state is $ 24 dollars an hour and this is almost that level. So, this has been a very successful program. We make more in income taxes from the wages of these rehired people. Their average wage for the year is $ 47,000.

We make more income than we spend on the program, per person, and these workers are not only less stressed out and happier and helping their families. They're also no longer dependent on state assistance. They are freestanding employees working productively, but this budget that we're discussing right now eliminates the program. It zeroes out a successful program that has 94% placement rate for unemployed workers. No other job program can even match this program. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this budget eliminates this line, which previously was under Department of Labor as opportunities for long-term unemployed.

The line is now missing. The money is zeroed out and why we would eliminate a job program that produces a net revenue gain to the state had bipartisan support and reduces dependents on entitlements, I have no idea. This is just a headscratcher. This is probably the most egregious thing in this Amendment in addition to eliminating the Citizen's Election Fund, which throws us back to the days when legislators and their challengers had to approach lobbyists and special interests to raise money to run a campaign. I, for one, never want to go back to those days. I much prefer small donations, honest donations, and a fixed amount of money for each candidate, which makes it fair and transparent and makes us more independent of special interests.

So, for those two reasons, the killing of a perfectly successful job program and the elimination of clean elections, I will be opposing this Amendment, and I hope that you will too, but I continue to wish to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle on any good efficiency ideas. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, madam. Representative Tercyak.

REP. TERCYAK (26TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise to make a few comments about this budget. There's many things here that I don't like. One thing I do, while I don't like that it eliminates the tax deduction for utility companies in co-generation; at least it doesn't try to resuscitate the most on special deal giving them rate increases. After that, it just looks worse and worse. There were already cuts contemplated to the Earned Income Tax Credit remember? Richard Nixon started it. It was Ronald Reagan's favorite anti-poverty program.

This GOP Bill triples the cuts that were contemplated. It's easy to say let's have the professors do just one more class. It's especially easy to say it if you do no work to see if that would jeopardize UConn's status as a research anniversary, as we climb higher and higher on the ladder of public universities. This budget eliminates teen pregnancy programs that the Department of Social Services. In New Britain that's Pathways/Senderos. It follows the national model that's so good that the founder has been in the White House a couple of times talking about it and receiving awards. It eliminates our MOMS program, Mothers of Multiples. In New Britain, we have the second highest rate of children born to single mothers. We've got the second child, the third child.

We have a program that makes a difference in that, that's succeeding, and it doesn't survive this budget. We talk about getting rid of tuition for UConn employees, but we don't check to see if that will violate collective bargaining rights. It did in 1999 when I was working at Capitol Region Mental Health Center and the Department of Mental Health took it over from UConn and the state thought that, therefore, would it have been promised to those UConn employees then their children didn't apply anymore. They worked in the same department but they didn't have the same union. We were wrong. Our mayor's already bragging about how she lowered the car tax to 37 mills. I suppose we can take the blame for raising it ourselves.

We have a responsibility here. We need to pay attention to what's going on. We need to listen to the echoes of history. We need to look around at where we are and assess it. How did we get here? What are we going to do to get where we want to go? We think in that way; how can we talk about doing what we're planning on doing in our schools? I just want to mention one area in particular because it requires us if we make these changes to both ignore America's history and our history and to say we don't believe there's anything we can do to effect where we're going. I was born in 1954. Everything that happened that year wasn't bad though. That was when the Supreme Court decided Brown vs. Topeka, and ordered the integration of our schools. In community after community, schools were reluctantly integrated, but they looked to that Supreme Court decision and there was one part in there that the Supreme Court threw in that nobody had ever said. The Supreme Court said that the schools said that African-Americans were going to were inferior.

When those schools were shut down and when those students were integrated, that line about the schools being inferior was the justification for firing African-American school teachers.

Why does it matter? Studies say that if you have as many as one minority school teacher when you're a minority student between the third grade and the fifth grade you're less than half as likely to drop out. You're phenomenally more likely to make a difference and move on and achieve. African-American students are half as likely to be put in Gifted and Talented programs, although this problem isn't as severe when they have African-American teachers who can look at students and see people like themselves and evaluate them not as different but as the same. At the time of Brown vs. Topeka, teaching was one of the few professions that was available to African-Americans. In the south, there were over 81,000 African-American teachers. Within the decade there was less than half that many.

We have never recovered our percentages and numbers for teachers of color north or south in my whole life, and I'm an old man. I asked the kids north or south; it's not there.

This budget, hopefully is unaware of that because otherwise how could we say we're going to end minority teacher recruitment. How can we eliminate minority advancement programs in higher ed? How can we eliminate minority teacher incentive programs? We know what works. We know what has failed and gotten us to where we are. We need to be paying attention to this. We need to be looking at our differences, acknowledging them, and getting beyond. Whether that's the son of immigrants looking at people whose people have been here forever or whether that's white looking at black. We need to be frank about where we are. This budget doesn't do it. This is one more way we are setting up our cities and the children who are going to school in our cities to fail. We know this to be true.

These programs were not started just cause we thought they were good; although I'm not above starting things just cause I think they're good. These programs were started because the studies were clear, the statistics are there. We make these cuts and this budget in this area of education, in the Earned Income Tax Credit, in other ways in tax fairness. We make these cuts at our own risks, at our own jeopardy. We may have our problems in this state right now, but we're honestly looking at how we got here and until today, we've been honestly trying to acknowledge the failures of those who went before us and to do our best not to perpetuate those failures. This budget changes that course. I won't have any part of it. I hope everybody votes no. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Candelora.

REP. CANDELORA (86TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for the first time in 10 years I get to rise and say that I'm in support of this bipartisan Amendment. It's been 10 years since I've voted for a budget in the State of Connecticut, and it's taken me this long not because I wanted to stand here and be in opposition to what's been done, but I've always stood with the belief that the direction that we've taken our state in the last 10 years has been the wrong direction.

One of the concerns is each year, and I've had an integral part of these budget processes and crafting Amendments on our side of the aisle to try to respond to what's being proposed that these decisions have gotten to be more and more difficult every year, and that's because our situation continues to get more and more dire. I don't disagree with a lot of statements that have been made on the other side of the aisle to concerns with the budgets or some of these proposals, but we cannot let the perfect get in the way of the good.

I think there's a lot of good in this budget. It was just spoken about the training program for minority teachers. This budget does not eliminate the program, but it moves it over into CHFA, so it can continue as an offline item. We believe that program is important for the State of Connecticut, but we have to find a new way to fund it because we don't have the operational costs to do it, and so that is one of the creative ways that we've come to try to protect our programs that do help our cities. I think we can't forget the impact that the other alternative Amendment that was put on the table. Shifting teacher retirement to our towns creates a $ 300-million-dollar burden to all of our communities, cities, and towns.

In the alternative, we felt that's an obligation that the state needs to continue to pay, and so as such, we have proposed eliminating the cap on the car tax. Believe you me, that car tax elimination doesn't just impact cities, it impacts all of our towns. Because of the first proposal that the Governor had made back in February, I know my community has already passed a budget that has had a significant mill increase that has not only pushed them over the 32 mill increase, but in this next budget year, they'll probably be over the 37 mill increase as well.

Despite that, knowing that revenue is going away, which is only $ 70-million compared to the roughly $ 300-milliion of teacher pension obligations that could be thrusted upon them, CCM and COST have come out in support of this budget. Why? Because we are putting forth an infrastructure that protects their tax revenue source, the only one, good or bad, the property tax, and at the same time it's providing some reform and mandate relief to get us through the next two years.

This dialogue is going to be far longer than just a one-night dialogue and we all go home. This is going to be another 10-year dialogue because it took 10 years to get us to where we are. I do believe, and that's why I have voted no on all of those past budgets because we've been in the wrong direction for 10 years. I would hope that the other side of the aisle would give serious consideration to this Amendment. At the very least, as a ceremonial attempt to create a true bipartisan effort that has been lacking in this building.

We've heard about the ECS formula and the impact that it would have on our cities. Quite frankly, I think certainly on this side of the aisle it's no secret that I was probably one of the biggest opponents of this portion of the budget, but you know what it is a dramatic change. It's a change that's needed, and I think one of the reasonable parts of this budget is that we're not just saying we're going to change this formula and do it the way we think is best without a public hearing. We're putting together a task force and telling the stakeholder's you have one year to make the change. If the change isn't made, this is the policy that we think is best for the State of Connecticut. I've served on ECS task forces, and nothing ever has been able to be done because we always run into the problem of being revenue neutral.

If you look at this formula, this formula takes into consideration English language learners. It takes into consideration student populations. If we look at the trends, the student populations are growing in the cities and shrinking in the suburbs. If you run the CCS formula out over time the cities are getting more money to support education. Now that might not bode well for my town in the future, but we've provided my communities with the tools to save money as we see reductions in education.

Reforms like allowing shared superintendents or not having a superintendent at all. Those are big-dollar savings. I think there's a balanced approach here, and I think it's simple to get up and oppose it, but the alternatives tonight aren't good because we only have two weeks before this executive order goes into effect. We've had since January to craft a budget, and a budget hasn't been produced that could pass out of both chambers at this point. Today we have an opportunity. We have a budget that's been given to us by the Senate. It's not perfect, but I think it is good, and I think it should pass. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Urban.

REP. URBAN (43RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a few comments on the budget before us. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've had the opportunity to teach at the State University of New York, and at our own UConn system economics for many years before I became a State Representative. So, the cuts that I see in this UConn budget really disturb me, and they disturb me because I know that that kind of higher education is the path to success for many of our lower and middle-income students. Not only the path to success for them but the path to success for us because, as I grow older, I realize that they're going to be the ones that are going to be taking care of me and my husband and my family.

So, in teaching these kids, I would tell you that the stories that I heard, the things that they had to deal with in their families, the jobs that they held to get through school, their total commitment to trying to make a difference in their lives and often times they are the first college graduate from their family. They would give back to me and they still give back to me on what it meant to them to be able to go to the State University System, graduate, and get a job and actually have a family and take care of their family.

So, I am extremely concerned about the amount of cuts we make there, and in particular to the scholarship program because I will tell you that so many of the kids that I dealt with were only there because they could be there on a scholarship supplemented by the jobs that they held. Then, as the Chair of the Committee on Children, I need to go to the other end of the spectrum. There are a couple of programs there that I'm concerned about, but one that I'll mention because it leads into what happens when you take education and go to a college and that's the Birth to Three Program. In this budget, it's cut by 50%. Birth to Three is a program for children who are in trouble from the very time that they're born.

We are able to intervene in that program whether there are developmental delays, where there are issues with the family, and if we're not able to do that, those children are going to end up in school not prepared with delays, experiencing no success and in many instances, they'll be on a path to our juvenile system. So, there we are on the other end of the spectrum that, again, gives me pause when I look at this budget. Also, Representative De La Cruz had talked about Florida, and I've probably talked about this many times on the floor, but I'm going to talk about it again. We think that Florida is like the promised land, but if I said the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Survey that comes out every year, Florida is ranked number 40 in the country on how they take care of their children and their families. Connecticut is ranked number five in how we take care of our children and our families.

Unfortunately, I see many things in this budget that is taking us backwards in how we take care of our children and our families. I would also like to associate my remarks with Representative Steinberg when he talked about the Citizen's Election Program. I think that was the first vote that I took here 18 years ago was to vote for the Citizen's Election Program, and you know what, I had students from UConn because I had to stop teaching at UConn but these were my former students who were there the day I took that vote. They were there because when I was teaching Economics, I would tell them you know guys follow the money. You want to know why things are going a specific way, follow the money. We need to get that kind of money out of politics, which we did. We've taken a couple of detours, which we needed to correct, but we certainly don't need to get rid of the Citizen's Election Program.

Then, finally, we need a path to the future. We need a path to sustainability, and there are many things in the budget from across the aisle that I applaud and I can see places where we can work together, so don't think I don't recognize that we need to go there.

I have proposed and discussed with our side of the aisle sustainability, performance budgeting. You guys have heard me talk about this so many times. Whatever you want to call it. I don't care what you call it, but we can do it. We can only do it if we get together, so I am hoping for a consensus budget where we can get together and take the State of Connecticut forward together. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise with a few comments and questions for the proponents of this Amendment. I live in East Hartford, a very diversified community, and one of the greatest challenges we have in our legislature is education, which is something very dear to me because it's the foundation of the state and our country. I've heard comments about we need to go in a different direction, we need to change the way we do business. We need to be bipartisan. So, as a Representative from East Hartford whose mayor testified last year that our per capita income; and this testimony was before the Appropriations on Education Funding, 158 per capita funding at 1% greater unemployment than the state average, and the 11th neediest community in the state based on temporary assistance for families, 161 out of 169 in education funding, which is about 19% less than the average, fifth highest in equalized mill rate and a grand list that was stagnant for the last 10 years.

I heard during the comments between Representative Fleischmann and Representative Ziobron that there's a reduction in three of the neediest cities East Hartford being one with $ 4. 9-million dollars, yet there are three more affluent communities receiving more money. My question is how does this improve and change the direction and also the way we do business in Connecticut that will improve our neediest students and our certain moral obligations?

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron, do you care to respond?

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm always happy to respond to the question from my colleagues on the other side and certainly my questions on this side of the aisle. One of the things that's hard to understand and it took me a little while to get comfortable with it was the way we roll out the education funding in this budget. And, so again, you have the task force. We have the formula embedded, so we're not picking winners and losers. The formula is embedded and then we heard from our colleagues how important it was in 18 for communities to be able to be sustainable and predictable. They've already passed their budgets, they don't have time to plan. We have to find a way to give them flat funding so they can take the time to develop a new ECS formula. If that task force, in fact, does so by next year. As I've explained previously yesterday after conversations or maybe first thing this morning. After conversations with the Connecticut Hospital Association, and the hospitals around this state said we'd rather go with your plan on that side of the aisle.

So, we said okay. That provided us an opportunity to have additional dollars. We took those dollars and said we need to make sure okay let's hold 19 harmless to the 17 number. So, you have ECS formula, plus special education, and when you add those two sides they should be net. They should go back to the 17 number, but the formula increases funding for some towns but only in these two years. Starting in 19, that formula kicks in, a lot of towns see a decrease over time. Double checking your community, through you, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to be sure I understood East Hartford.

So, you have education funding, but then as you well know sitting on Appropriations for as long as you have, there's also municipal aid and when you take all of those columns and add them up, East Hartford has $ 240,000 dollars more in 18 than in 2017 for total municipal aid. When you look at 2019, it's flat funded to the 2017 levels.

If the commission or task force or whatever politically correct name you want to give to this body of folks. If they don't choose another ECS formula by next year, communities like yours are going to see 10 years of increased education funding because your urban area is specifically what the formula was trying to address. I know I said it earlier, but we've been here for several hours, so if you could just give me a little indulgence. I just want to highlight the areas of the formula.

It has a foundation grant of $ 9,638 dollars. Then, we have a weight of 30% students who've received free and reduced lunch. It contains an additional weight of 5% for those communities that have more than 75% of its population eligible for free and reduced lunch. We're trying to get to the very communities that your talking about with that component of the formula. In addition, it provides a weight of 15% for English second language learners and then it provides and an additional 3% to 6% for communities that have a PIC index of over 300.

This formula was not created in a vacuum. It was created to help address communities like yours that need help. In fact, some could argue on this side of the aisle that if this formula gets implemented if the task force doesn't do anything. There would be a lot more money going to communities like yours than what happens currently. So, it was done as thoughtfully as possible, but again I would say to you the formula is not long-term enacted unless the task force votes to do so.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for your comment. East Hartford is one of the stressed municipalities under education funding, one of 30. It also has two of the commissioner's network. That funding is gone. So, how is the education funding this budget helping that issue?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, currently the way the Education Cost Sharing Grant works, as you know, and then they offset it because they pick winners and losers. So, this one takes 22% of the ECS formula and puts it toward special education. And so, when you look at the base ECS, I think one could argue that it does help those educational needs, especially for communities that have high utilization of special education. By the way, unlike what currently happens, communities don't have to wait for expenditures to hit 4. 5 times before they get reimbursed. Again, I know this is an issue, I mean jeez look it went to the court case. We had a judge say you haven't been following a formula for years, for years, and years and years. This is an attempt to be proactive, anticipate what may come down for the courts and try and help our neediest communities.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The two Commissioner's Network's schools have had tremendous improvements. Reading and things that the town couldn't afford to do. This Governor took aim at schools like that in which is a process that everybody from the principle, the teachers, the administration, the Board of Education all have to agree to. It's not a simple process because the government will take over if there's not improvement, but there has been. What I'm asking is how does that, what you just described, help those schools directly?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of the things, to answer your question, Representative, that we haven't talked about is providing municipal aid relief. So, while yes, we have taken the Commissioner Network money and put it into the overall pot of education dollars where we actually increase spending and education, we also provide municipalities a huge opportunity to save money with mandate relief. So, I would say to you and to other Representatives who are struggling with this, we are taking off the burdens, the strings attached, the chains, whatever you want to call it to municipalities to create their own destiny.

So, while in that case, the Commissioner's Network technically you look at that line item and it may say zero. All that extra money went into education funding, and now your communities get to chart their own course and work with their boards of Ed and not be dragged down by doing special professional development courses or if they have a community less than 2,000 and they don't choose to have a superintendent. Maybe that's another way. We have a full package of municipal mandate relief that goes along with this document. We're proud of that, and we hope communities take advantage of it.

Through

you.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for your comments. How does this address the court case where the Coalition for the Connecticut Justice and Education funding get addressed?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and that's an excellent question. That's an excellent question. It gets addressed because the court cases said you don't have a formula. You're picking winners and losers. If you recall, my first year on Appropriations, you had special communities getting special money. I'm not going to name them out here. I don't want to call any attention to districts that were treated differently than others, but at the bottom of the budget there were line items with grants, $ 1-million here, $ 2-million here, $ 3-million here. Coincidentally, lined up with certain varieties of the way our committees are made up. This has a formula. It is a strict formula. Because we enact it underneath the bottom of this budget and then backfill it to make sure municipalities are held harmless to 17 allocations, the formula is enacted and then what we do is to say okay if you don't like the way we've broken this formula up to address the issues that the Judge Moukawsher pointed out in his ruling. You have a task force in place to redefine the formula themselves. We don't load it up with one stakeholder versus another. We do it just like it's always been done in this building. Of course, I would expect the good Chairman of The Education Committee to be involved in that. No doubt about it, but we cannot continue to allow these task forces to gone ad nauseam, never come to an agreement, never produced anything except for a piece of paper on a shelf. So, there is a trigger. If they do not provide a new ECS formula by April 1, 2018, this one is enacted. That's kind of the shoe hanging over this to make them get to work. It is serious. So, to answer your question, that's exactly what this was formulated to do.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for your comments. You mentioned there's additional education money in ECS. How much additional education money is there?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to make sure I understand it. So, earlier I was describing education funding, and frankly even on this side of the aisle I had to spend a lot of time with my friends here to make them understand that you can't just say ECS. When you're going back to your superintendents, to your teachers, to your communities, you have to talk about it as a whole, education funding. So, you take ECS, you add the funding that we've allocated for special education, which you're going to see a large increase in, especially for the two years because that's the pot of money that we've been able to backfill because we don't want to touch the formula on the ECS side. So, when you do that calculation, we put in $ 68-million dollars more in education funding in the first year, which is 2018, and roughly $ 130-million dollars in the second year but you have to take ECS and special education to get the whole pot.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of the things I heard the discussion with Representative Fleischmann and yourself was the communities who are receiving large increases. The justification for that.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Ziobron.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, the justification only comes in the two years because if you take those same communities and you roll out the formula for 10 years until it's full enacted because we phase it in. We've got to give communities a chance to understand what's coming, not just for the ones who are losing money, but what about the one's that are gaining multiple millions of dollars a year. We don't want to just throw money at a problem. Listen, I started my career very accidentally in public service like so many of us in this room, as a member of the Board of Education. I remember sitting there talking about money, money, money, throwing money at education doesn't mean you're solving the problem unless it's done with purpose. And, so I would say to you that this attempt is trying to satisfy all the questions you just asked, and listen it hasn't been done for decades, that's why the judge said if you don't do it, I will.

Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Genga.

REP. GENGA (10TH):

Thank you. Thank you for those answers. I hear you and I understand what you're trying to accomplish, but what I also understand is that you mentioned here the 30 neediest schools and the two in the Commissioner's Network that are now outside. That's not a priority anymore. That priority is gone, but what we're doing is we're taking away from the neediest, it sounds like to me, to help the affluent and that is unacceptable. I would also ask you about the word bipartisan, because this, you say, is a bipartisan Amendment. I learned very early in this session that both sides were saying we've got to work and be bipartisan. One of our very first actions in front of Appropriations on January 24th, early in this session we were addressing a problem with a pension payment plan that was out of whack and we were having extraordinary amounts which this state couldn't afford.

So, we had a public hearing; you were part of it. We also had several professionals, a consultant who was brought in to address the issue who said this plan that's agreed upon between the administration and the SEBAC is a good one, and it's a positive, and it's a plus. Moody's, Standard & Poor's, the president of Webster bank, CBIA, and other professionals all said this is a positive, this is an improvement for the state. And, I said boy this is where we're going to really find out because I've been through this on a local level, the exact same thing, not of the same magnitude. The first person that spoke up was the Republican President Pro Tempore of the Senate who said this is a good thing, I've changed my mind, I see this as a positive. The Co-Chairman of Appropriations, Paul Formica, same thing. The vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan 40 to 12 with 12 Republicans. I said that's a great day, we're beginning good. We got into this session and it wasn't one of those 12 who voted for it, and I ask you why. I'm going to ask you the same question that you've been asking all along. Who do you represent? When you have all the professionals in front of you, all the information, you make an informed decision and then turn around and tell the people just the opposite. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Reed.

REP. REED (102ND):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm just going to speak for a few minutes on this Bill, and I have to say I hate this Amendment. I hate our Amendment. I hate the Governor's Bill, and I think most of us feel that way. I mean this is where we are. This is where we are because there is not enough money, and there hasn't been enough money coming in. All of our projections have been off. Our revenues have been off year after year after year.

I, like many of us, voted for tax increases. I have to admit that. I thought well okay the economy's coming back, and I absolutely applaud Governor Malloy. I find it beyond financial mismanagement that leaders from both sides of the aisle for years and years and years never paid into our pension funds, never paid into our pension funds? How is that possible? Governor Malloy came in and said we've got to start doing that. We've got to start doing that. I voted for that first tax increase, I have to say. I took a lot of heat for it because okay we need to do that, we need to fix this. Guess what? Not only did it not fix it, the situation got worse. We all know the score. You know we can't keep banding together the short-term budgets without teeing up a long-term solution. Yet, we do this again and again and again. It's painful to hear the programs, we all love these programs. I mean we pit programs against each other. Are we going to kill your program, are we going to kill your program? What are we going to do because we don't have enough money? Many years ago, I probably bored people with this, but I was a journalist and I was in New York City and one of my beats was finance, so I was down on Wall Street a lot talking to financiers. A gentleman named Felix Rohatyn who helped save New York when it went off the brink in the 70's. I used to occasionally talk to him about certain things and it's so clear that there's a level of intellect in certain financiers and a level of innovation that I think we really need to start engaging.

So, I began to call some folks, and I took our number down to New York and started showing them to some people who have a track record now. Among them, a gentleman who was brought in to the Treasury Department when President Obama came in, and helped restructure AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the United Autoworker's Union, and the U. S. Auto Industry. He has a house in Connecticut, so I shamed him into giving me some time, and he began looking at our numbers. He and some other folks I also spoke to, I spoke to several financiers. They pointed out to me, and he's been working with Detroit, and he's been working with Puerto Rico, and he pointed out to me that we're on the same track as Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is effectively bankrupt because we are paying for our operating budget with bonding and that's a path to disaster and we know that because it keeps going on and on. Again, I hate this Amendment, but one of the things that I have to applaud our Democrats upstairs was that they put in some provisions to demand that we start thinking about bringing in some outside expertise to do an RFP to find some folks who are really restructuring because we're not the only state whose had this problem, who've been helping states who have these problems and who have a successful track record. We need that because this is a short-term budget we're doing here. This is just kind of let's get on with it. This is a let's get on with it budget. Our big problem is if we don't do something, for 30 years we're going to have a budget deficit, and that's how serious it is.

So, we're talking about other states. I grew up in Connecticut, but I've also had the privilege of living in other states. I went to grad school in Seattle and one of my first jobs was in San Francisco and I spent many, many years in New York City. They're all fabulous. I actually lived in Florida briefly in a television job I had down there, a right-to-work state. Incredible news state because there's so much murder and crime, I should mention, but I had some really good experiences living in other states but I have to say there is no state like Connecticut.

This state has the kindest people. We have people in this state and all of the people who are working in their communities, all of the people who are doing amazing things in this state. We have some of the most environmentally gorgeous treasures. We have high education. We have high standards. We have standards of living here and quality of life here that many other states can only dream about. We have that. We have people who deserve our best, and I think part of doing our best and serving our community in the best way possible is to start moving forward.

This budget has come before us. It's time to pick a short-term budget and get on with it. I totally believe in a bipartisan budget. I actually spoke to legislators in states like California and Virgina who have had to resolve budget deficits and they said they could only do it in a bipartisan way. That's how they did it. We need to do that. We need to come together because right now this is the blame game, and this is what our constituents hate. They don't want to hear the blame game, they want us to fix what's broken. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, ma'am. Representative McGee.

REP. MCGEE (5TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand for the purpose of a few comments. Dr. King said to an audience similar to those of you in this room in Montgomery, Alabama in 1957, he said and I quote “Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” So, as I ponder and I reflect on those words, I think about the work that we do here as the elected leadership of the State of Connecticut and I look at this budget, and I see cuts to programs that support minority teacher incentive programs, minority advancement programs and higher education and the list goes on. As one of the members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, this is devastating.

I've heard throughout the entire night, on the other side of the aisle, people talk about education, those people and what they need and we're helping and it's just appalling. When we talk about bipartisan policies and politics and Bills and budgets, etc. this is not bipartisan effort. And, so as I stand here and I think about the young people that I have to return to in my district, it's disheartening to learn that this budget would cut such programs like Teen Pregnancy Prevention, and again the list goes on. But I'll let that sit there. What are we doing for others? I think about the countless people that come in and out of the city of Hartford, but yet I hear colleagues say why would we help the capital city from going into bankruptcy? Why would we help them? It was their fault. I hear it, and it's disheartening. And, so as the elected body, whether we're Republican or Democrat, we need to do a better job working together number one and number two recognizing that we have to invest in our capital city.

I would be remiss if I did not thank those of you on both sides of the aisle to even consider helping the city of Hartford. Many of you come, you drink your wine, you go to our games, you drive on our streets. We all have skin in the game and that is how do we support our city? Most importantly, and I'm going to go back to how I started off with my comments, what are we doing for others? And that's something that I hope will resonate with each and every one of you in this room. Unfortunately, I won't be supporting this Amendment. Prayerfully, I hope each of us can work together to some common ground to really bring Connecticut to the place where we ought to be. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Thank you, sir. Representative Morin.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Good morning, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Morning, sir.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

I'm going to make a few comments and then I may have a couple of questions. First, I think I wouldn't be even halfway decent if I didn't thank the chairs and ranking members of both of the Committees of Cognizance regardless of where you are on the issues, the amount of dedication and work that goes into it, certainly at least deserves my appreciation. As I look through this, and it's quite a document. I'm not as good as Larry, I don't have it to hold up and show, but it's quite an impressive amount of paper and I can't profess to know everything that's in it in this short period of time, but there's things in there that give me great pause. Something I think we all talk about in this beautiful chamber is what are we going to do for our young people? Connecticut's future is young people. Connecticut's got an aging population. We need to attract young people. We need to keep college-age students living in our beautiful state. That's pretty admirable, those are great goals. I happen to agree with them.

I'm really blessed. All of my kids decided to come back home, all three of them working in great professions, and then I kind of look at some of the things that are done in this Amendment and I say if we really are looking to make Connecticut attractive to young people, and we have a chance to listen to what makes young people tick and why they want to be here, maybe some of these things aren't such great ideas. I guess the question would go to the ranking member of the Finance Committee. We spoke about, I know that the car tax mill rate is gone, and the fine gentleman mentioned that it's going to give municipalities an opportunity to -- I can't remember exactly what he said, but to figure out to handle this stuff and maybe do things a little differently and set their own way. Did we do anything in this document, and if it was answered before please -- I just didn't hear it. Did we do anything to affect the pilot programs, especially for our cities?

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

I believe, Representative Davis, that's directed at you.

REP. DAVIS (57TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I think my microphone is on now and thank the kind gentleman from Wethersfield for his questions. Being a young person myself, I'd like to think at least, I might be over 30 now but I still consider myself a young man. [Laughter] No? Not a young man? The way that our municipal aid is structured the actual pilot programs themselves have some cuts in them; however, we do backfill those municipal grants to hold the municipalities either harmless or give them additional funding in both fiscal year 18 and fiscal year 19 for a total municipal aid. Through you, Mr. Speaker.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Morin.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the answer. So, and my train of thought on that is we want to attract young people and keep young professionals living in our cities and we want to encourage them, young people, especially people just starting out as they get out of college or university or whatever they're doing. They don't make as much money as many of us. I think trying to attract people to live in our urban settings having that set mill rate for your automobile taxes I think is something that was quite enticing to young people. I think about staying on that looking at cuts to what we're doing to higher education, especially to UConn.

I read something the other day, the University of Connecticut is ranked one of the top public universities in the country. That's something to be proud of.

Oftentimes, in the world of politics, it's kind of discouraging but we don't want to hear anything that's good, we just want to make each other look bad. It's kind of sad, but I'm just, that's not my intent here. My intent is we have, I believe, if I'm correct it was the 18th ranked public university in the United States, and we're going to decimate it with these cuts.

I know there are a lot of conversations going on and we've been here for a long time, but I've been relatively quiet, and I would hope that you're paying attention to this, I really would because we all sit here and say how it's so important to keep these kids in this State of Connecticut and we're going to cut programs and cut educational opportunities for those same young people that we're trying to keep here. Where is the sense of that? I understand the comments. You said government has to get smaller, but are we biting our nose despite our face? I personally think so. I think that when we continue to talk about how important it is to support young people and to get them to stay here to do these types of things is horrible. UConn Health Center, our flagship, a teaching university, a teaching hospital that takes some of the greatest minds and creates some of the greatest doctors I'm afraid, and I don't know if it's true but the size of the cut that's being proposed. I'm not sure that UConn Health Center is going to be able to stay open. Some might say if they can't substantiate themselves, they can't exist on what they're doing, so be it, maybe they don't belong here. But look at what's happened just in the last few years with our partnership with Jackson Laboratories. Having Jackson Lab right next door providing brilliant people that they're recruiting to work in cancer research practicing and teaching at University of Connecticut Health Center, working at Yale New Haven, working at Connecticut Children's.

We're putting that at risk to downsize government. I think government is here to help people. That's how I look at it. I guess there's enough. I think other people have said many of the things that I did want to say. I represent Wethersfield, and we have some very affluent citizens in my town and we have some citizens that are not so affluent. I'm looking sometimes in this building and in general people don't look kindly on those of us, the young people, or people --

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

You can't hear me? I apologize. [Gavel]

REP. MORIN (28TH):

That's probably my fault. I'm getting old.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

I've gotten some complaints, well taken, that it has gotten a little bit noisy in here, so if we can all take our seats.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll wrap up. I know.

DEPUTY SPEAKER GODFREY (110TH):

Representative Morin.

REP. MORIN (28TH):

I know the morning is here. You know when you talk about cutting programs like to help eliminate teen pregnancy and many of my colleagues, and I've heard it privately. I've heard it publicly that we don't think it's appropriate that people are a drain on society. Why do we have these social programs? Why do we do this? Well, why would we want to cut funding to programs that help people maybe not get in the situation that we're complaining about? I don't know. You guys had to come up with a document. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the two folks standing over there. I just don't agree with the document. I'll leave it at that. To my colleagues, I want to thank you for listening to me, and I'm certainly if you couldn't tell already, I'll be voting no.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Will you remark further on the Amendment before us? Representative Klarides of the 114th, you have the floor, madam.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Now I know how you guys feel huh?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

No comment.

REP. KLARIDES (114TH):

We wrote the book though, you're reading, so. Mr. Speaker, we have to make a decision today, and when we make that decision we need to ask ourselves what do we want of the State of Connecticut? Do we want a brighter future or do we want to keep doing what we've been doing? Kicking the can down the road. I know this has been a tough year, we all knew this was coming, and guess what next year's going to be a tough year and the year after that is going to be a tough year.

We don't really see an end in site, but what we know is we have some choices to make. What we've seen this week in the legislature have been a few choices. One of them has been this looming Governor's executive order that will take effect on October 1st. The other was a Democrat House and Senate budget that was called in the Senate that was put on the board today. And, we heard a lot about the fact that if you did not vote for that Democrat budget, you were voting for the Governor's draconian cuts on October 1st. I guess I was slightly offended on behalf of my caucus, but not surprised that those were only two choices we heard about but we now realize there were three choices. There was what was previously the House and Senate Republican budgets, which is now the bipartisan budget, and it disappoints me a little bit when I hear that it's not a bipartisan budget because three Democrats voted for it. I didn't realize there was a standard by which we decide what's bipartisan. I thought bi means two and partisan means partisan. I guess I was wrong.

That budget that passed in the Senate today had a few things in it. The budget that we are debating today had no taxes in it and I know by listening to this debate today that we all define taxes in a different way. But, just as important if not more, what this budget has in it our structural changes. Now, I know one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle today said they're sick of hearing that. I agree with you. I agree. We say it all the time. We say it so much because it may be the most important thing we do. What are those structural changes we hear about? Spending caps, bonding caps, municipal aid relief, municipal aid mandate relief for all cities and towns no matter how big, whether they be urban, suburban, or rural. We talk about business as usual when we talk about structural change.

We had a very good ECS debate today, but the problem with ECS guys is we have this formula. Every year we discuss there's a problem with the formula. Every year we have some sort of conversation, debate, task force, as to how we're going to change the formula and nothing ever gets changes. It's worse than that. What happens is, we calculate the formula, we find the numbers, and then we realize my town lost some money. I can't do that, and what happens is depending on who's in charge at the time, those particular towns and cities go around the back door, make sure those towns and cities are filled.

Now, that's great, listen I understand the impulse. None of us want to lose anything. None of us want to go back home and say something was cut, but that is not a way to structure education funding. That's not a way to do it. That's part of the reason the court made the decision the court made. They said the formula is not being followed. That's the old way of doing it. Don't take from me, take from him, take from her, don't take from me. And, we are political bodies, so I understand that's difficult. That is not exclusive to one party. Again, none of us want to go home and say we lost anything, but the problem here is we are at a crossroads, and I do not believe I'm being dramatic when I say that. This has been coming for a while. I am a bipartisan criticizer. I recognize that there is fault all around for many, many years, but the problem is for the past seven years it has been made worse. I heard some debate about well you have a deficit in the out years, I know you have a deficit, we don't have one, yours is bigger than ours, ours is bigger than yours. We are not going to solve this in this biennium, but we have to start somewhere, and we have to start with some serious decisions on what we want this state to look like. We're going to look back on these days in 2017 and we're going to look back and say did we decide that the future of this state is pessimistic or optimistic? We present you with this bipartisan budget that came down from the Senate. I understand that what happened today was out of the ordinary, and I think we all felt surprised, happy, sad, any one of a number of emotions. Besides those tax increases that we do not have, and those structural changes that we do have, we have a budget that looks to the future of the State of Connecticut, a budget that protects people based on what we believe are the core functions of state government. We have a budget that promotes, supports businesses in this state and allows people to want to be here instead of running out of here as fast as they can.

We all hear it. We hear it every day; I can't wait to get out of here. I can't wait until my kid gets out of high school, we're leaving. I can't wait until my husband retires, because we're leaving. It makes me sad. I'm sure it makes all of you sad. We're in this room, I believe, because we love this state, and we want to help make it better. We want to have state that no longer has those headlines, GE's leaving, Aetna's leaving, Alexion is leaving. It kills me every time I have to see it. I'm sure we all feel the same way. We are debating and we'll soon vote on a budget that was endorsed by CCM, the Connecticut Council of Municipalities by COST, Council of Small Towns, by the Connecticut Association of Realtors, the people that actually know who's going out and who's coming in. So, when I hear us talking about I don't know any First Selectmen or Mayors who like this. I don't know anybody who's talking about this in a positive way.

Well, there's a reason those people have endorsed this. This will be moving Connecticut forward. Is it going to do it in two years? No. Is it a perfect budget? No, but I don't think any of us are under the delusion that document exists. We can either move Connecticut forward or we continue with this process of doing a budget for tomorrow for next week for next month and coming back here every year with not only the same problem but a worse problem. I was very concerned about what I saw in the past few weeks. We saw budgets that had sales tax increases and then no sales tax increases. We saw budgets that had conveyance taxes and then no conveyance taxes. We've seen budgets as of today that had cell phone taxes, hotel taxes, cigarette taxes, real estate taxes and maybe the most disturbing is the teacher's pension money that is being put on our municipalities. Now, I have to tell you whether I agree or disagree I respect everybody's opinions and concerns. We heard about Campaign Finance Reform that is the most successful in the state, excuse me in the country. It's certainly the most strict. I don't think that necessarily makes it the most successful but here's my problem.

I have availed myself of this. Most of us have availed ourselves of this, and maybe at some point when we have the money to spend, we can reconsider that but paying for pins, hats, and bumper stickers is not something I can justify when we are looking at cutting the elderly, children, municipalities, education, and everything else that everyone of us in this room regardless of party believes is a priority of state government. We heard about this car tax. Now, I understand there are certain places that think it's great and certain places that think it stinks. I get it. Once again, the difference between certain kinds of towns and city governments.

Here's the problem, though. The car tax cuts $ 136-million dollars. The teacher's retirement burden on cities and towns is $ 270-million dollars. I didn't hear anybody talking about that today. We heard about the Teen Pregnancy Program, certainly something we feel is important. We did not cut that. I will submit to my colleagues in this chamber this is not a tough choice. We make tough choices, this whole process is a tough choice, but the choice we have before us today is for a Connecticut of the future, a Connecticut for the future, and for us being with Connecticut in the future, a Connecticut where individuals and businesses want to be here instead of a Connecticut where we have to drag people in kicking and screaming because we know the policies of the past have been bad policies and they have put this state in a position where businesses cannot afford to be here and they know that they have our backs against the wall. I don't like that, but that's the reality we're in and we have to deal with that on a case-by-case basis. What we can do, what we can do is pass this budget to start that structural change moving forward not burdening the State of Connecticut any longer with tax increase after tax increase and give our state back to the people of Connecticut. I urge adoption, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Madam. Representative Ritter of the first district, you have the floor sir.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will probably not be as long as the minority leader because, and I don't mean any disrespect by that because I think I have to give a practical summary of where we are. I had a whole thing on merits, and I, like many, had many different speeches. It's been unpredictable, so I'm not surprised by the unpredictability of it all, so I had three or four different things, and I feel bad because Todd Murphy, whom I work with in my office, had a lot of talking points we worked on and we were prepared for anything that may happen. People say no taxes, well we could argue that. If you live in Waterbury, your car tax is going up 23 mills, but we're not going to talk about that. UConn gets cut. Representative Haddad, the Chairman of The Higher Education Committee talked about that. Teen Pregnancy, I heard, you know we talked about those cuts. We could go on and on about things that make us uncomfortable, just like if we on the other side could go about our budget things that make you uncomfortable.

So, let's all acknowledge, and I agree with the minority leader we could list and we will list and enumerate dozens of things we don't like and vice versa. We also had a choice on our side of the aisle. This institution is important and democracy is important and respecting one another is important. We did not have to vote tonight and that would have been wrong. We're here, we debate, and we're not done debating. It's going to continue to talk, not because we're trying to get to a common ground and we have to have these conversations, but it's important to respect this institution and the hard work that this caucus did, this caucus did, and that caucus did. So, no one wants to deprive that.

I was asked out by the media are you gong to do this? Are you going to PT this? No. Last night at session, the speaker of the house was given a standing ovation by all of us. We may not agree all on the same policies, but we agreed that run a chamber a certain way and we respect one another. So, we're going to vote, and we're going to continue to talk about these things. The reason I don't have a long speech and I'm not going to slice and dice here's line 24, here's line 360 is we have a problem ladies and gentlemen. It's called numbers. So, the Senate passed a budget that got 21 votes. Admittedly, it's the first budget to pass this year, this calendar year for this biennium. The Governor came out five minutes later and he said I'm vetoing it, I'm not signing it. Okay, so people could say he should sign it, and I disagree with him. Then tonight we'll vote on a budget, Senate Amendment B, and we'll see what the results are and let's say it goes down. Admittedly, we'll probably PT our budget and we'll go home and we have no document to vote on.

There's no document the Governor can even deal with, but he's already said he'll veto it. Let's say it passes, okay, and he's going to veto it. We're just kind of back in a circle, and in normal circumstances, let's say it was April or May we would continue to dance. Eventually, we'll either cross-pollinate with each other and we'll figure it out or someone's going to cut a deal with the executive branch down the hall. But, October 1st, and we've talked about this. It may not be exactly October 1st, right? There's probably no cliff that you fall off on a certain date, but it's the month of October, okay. So, whether it's Halloween or the 1st we're going to get there.

The Governor doesn't have the ability to pay bills for the State of Connecticut. He doesn't have the ability to do it. It's not his fault. There's no magic tricks. He can't do it. So, what's going to happen? If you live in a wealthy, affluent community your cuts probably aren't that large because you don't get a lot and the minority leader's point. We've struggled to come up with an ECS formula. It's caused problems on our side of the aisle. You have very diverse communities in Connecticut. We're a small state, but it's diverse. You drive 30 miles, you're going to see three different kinds of communities. So, you'll probably be okay, rural community, small community, not a lot of people.

Your cuts probably aren't that big. The cities, the Governor said look, I got to prioritize, so I'll probably go to the alliance districts. It's really the ring suburbs. It's the Newington's, the Manchester's, the Enfield's, who we represent both sides and people are shouting other towns from back there but those are the ones that have the population numbers that lead to massive cuts that they've never seen before and they have no way to respond. It's both of us. So, we have a quagmire ladies and gentlemen and what happens? We've met in a bipartisan way. I think some people in this chamber and up there truly want to see if we can get there over the line one way or another and a bipartisan way with the executive branch. There's some people who don't. They may say the do, but they really don't, and that's okay, I get it. This is very political, but also, it's very real. So, in May we have a lot of time to do this back and forth to say oh let's keep voting on things, let's keep passing things, we're past that time. So, we have a few weeks' time to begin to really think about this. The hospital deal is one thing I do want to mention because it's in both of our budgets. Again, our budget's probably about 80% compromised at this point because we talked about taxes. We both have it. It's probably half the number for both of us in revenue.

October 1st is a big date that does matter in one instance. If we don't get it done, the hospital deal is not as good ladies and gentlemen. Due to federal rules and when we have to get the application in. So, if we all want to help our hospitals together we got to find a way to vote on it, probably before then or the deals not as good. So, ladies and gentlemen, I know a lot of you are thinking alright so what do we do because whatever happens tonight we're back to square one. If we ran our budget admittedly it wouldn't do anything either because the Senate already voted no. I don't deny that. So, we don't have a product that has the constitutional requirements to be signed or do override a veto. We have to comply with that. We have to figure out a way to get there. So, I'll just summarize with saying that there's a practical reality that has not been addressed. This, unfortunately, or if we vote on ours it doesn't do any good. So, to those towns that don't lose a lot, you're not sweating at night. You want a budget but you'll say well we'll figure it out. Rainy Day Fund, they budgeted properly, town manager says we can handle it.

There's about 30 communities that will close schools, they will lay off teachers, and it's very real. You know the municipality that I represent has struggles. There are going to be a lot of towns struggling just the same just the same and a 3-mill tax increase in those towns is going to hit hard for those families. So, we've got to find a way. So, I'm looking at all of us. Let me know where you want to go. Let the minority leader know where you want to go. Let the speaker know where you want to go. Let the Governor know where you want to go, but if we don't find 24 and 101 or 76 and 19 with him, we can do this all day and we all fail. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. Staff and guests to the well of the House. Members take your seats. The machine will be opened. [Ringing]

CLERK:

The House of Representatives is voting by roll. Members to the chamber. The House of Representative is voting by roll. Members to the chamber.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

If all the members have voted, please check the board to ensure your vote's been properly cast. If all the members have voted, the machine will be locked and the clerk will take a tally.

The clerk will announce the tally.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule B.

Total number voting 150

Necessary for Adoption 76

Those voting Yea 78

Those voting Nay 72

Those absent and not voting 1

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Amendment passed. [Gavel] Will you remark further on the Bill as amended? Representative Miller of the 145th, you have the floor, Madam.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, if I may, questions to the proponent of the Bill please?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The Amendment is now the Bill. Go ahead Representative Miller.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

I just have a question. Through you, Mr. Speaker. Is the K to 3 reading assessment in this Amendment or in this Bill as amended?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Representative Miller. Representative Ziobron, I believe that question is for you Madam.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I just need a moment because there's been a lot of, if I could, there's been a lot of consolidations of line items in our budget. We have heard over and over tonight that Teen Pregnancy was eliminated