CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE

Monday, September 15, 2017

The Senate was called to order at 2: 28 o'clock p. m. , the President in the Chair.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will please come to order. Members and guests, please rise and listen to me for a moment, for a moment of prayer.

I bless all of you that we come through this day and leave in a better place at the end. I hope that all of us are well and go home to our families. God bless you all and we all say Amen. Thank you.

At this time, I'm going to ask, Senator Kissel you want to come up here and lead us in the Pledge?

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

(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.

THE CHAIR:

At this point, I ask are there any points of personal privilege? Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH): Thank you very much, Madam President. It's with a very heavy heart that I stand to ask this chamber for a moment of silence. Recently, we lost a brave young man, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Petty Officer and certified rescue swimmer Dustin Louis Doyon, age just 26. He was aboard the United States ship John S. McCain off the coast of Singapore when it was struck by a tanker and we lost 10 seamen including Petty Officer Doyon on August 21, 2017. He leaves his mom and dad and his sister, many, many friends and shipmates all of whom loved him. He was laid to rest just this past Tuesday, and I know that Lieutenant Governor you were for the funeral services, our Governor was there for the funeral services, United States Representative Joe Courtney, Representative Tami Zawistowski from down in the House, First Selectman Melissa Mack from the town of Suffield, and many, many others.

By all accounts, he was a wonderful, very positive young man. His shipmates gravitated toward him and befriended him. In listening to the testimonials, he always had a positive outlook on life. He had his whole life ahead of him, and it is a tremendous and tragic loss that we lost him through this unfortunate and terrible accident that took place in August. I know that I probably would have a very hard time doing what his dad did after the funeral mass. There in the church, Sacred Heart in Suffield, he stood up for about at least 15 minutes and related stories of Dustin's life from the day he was born, through his childhood, and related these stories. I would have broken down throughout that, but his dad did a fabulous, fabulous job, so I'm asking my colleagues here in the circle and through you Madam President, if we could just have a moment of silence for Dustin Doyon of the United States Navy and also think of his mom, dad, and sister, family, friends, and shipmates.

THE CHAIR:

Would you please stand for a moment of silence for a hero?

[silence]

Thank you all. Are there any other personal points of privilege? Senator Berthel.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I rise for the purpose of a point of personal privilege today.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR BERTHEL (32ND):

Thank you, Madam. It is my distinct honor and pleasure to introduce a constituent from Watertown, my friend, Janelle Wilk. Janelle Wilk serves on the Board of Education in Watertown. Also, is part of the executive committee for the board serving as it's board secretary. Janelle was not unfamiliar to the chamber up here or downstairs. She has been in Hartford in prior years as an advocate for those that are suffering with MS and actually does advocacy work on behalf of the MS Society here in Connecticut. So, she decided to pick today to come up to take in this unusual day's work, but I guess it's not like any other day for us necessarily. So, if the Senate would please join me in extending a warm welcome to our friend, Ms. Janelle Wilk. Thank you. [applause]

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Janelle. Thank you for coming up and a lot of people start on the Board of Education. I just want to tell you that. [laughing]

Okay, are there any other points of personal privilege? Seeing none, Senator Duff. Oh, Mr. Clerk do you have anything on your desk?

CLERK:

We have Senate Agendas both No. 1 and No. 2 both dated Friday, September 15, 2017.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I move that all items on Senate Agendas No. 1 and No. 2 dated Friday, September 15, 2017, be acted upon as indicated and that the Agenda be incorporated by reference of the Senate Journal and transcript.

THE CHAIR:

So, ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move if we can please call Emergency Certified Bill 1501 please.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Bill No. 1501. It is LCO No. 10053 introduced by Senator Looney and Representative Aresimowicz.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fonfara.

SENATOR FONFARA (1ST):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I ask that the record reflect that I will be recusing myself pursuant to Senate Rule 15. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. We'll see you leave the chamber. Senator Kissel.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. I also rise to recuse myself under Senate Rule 15.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. We'll see you leave the chamber.

SENATOR KISSEL (7TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you. Good afternoon, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

I'm also asking for leave of chamber under Senate Rule 15.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. We'll watch you leave the Chamber. Senator Logan, good afternoon.

SENATOR LOGAN (17TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon. Pursuant to Rule 15, I will be abstaining from this vote.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, sir. We'll watch you leave the chamber. Okay, it can't be a long debate nobody's here anymore. [laughing] Senator Osten, good afternoon ma'am.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Madam President, I believe the clerk is in possession of LCO Amendment No. 10080. I would seek to move the Amendment and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 10080 offered by Senators Winfield, Osten, and Formica.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, the Amendment will --

THE CHAIR:

I'm sorry, ma'am, did you move the adoption?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I don't know if I did or I didn't, but I would move adoption of the Amendment and seek leave to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I think I tried to do that earlier but --

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on adoption and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, this Amendment deals with a few technical changes to the underlying Bill and essentially provides, get's rid of the word competitive, strikes procurement and substitutes that with solicitation. It removes the Office of Attorney General and adds in the Office of the Consumer Counsel. I urge adoption of this Amendment, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further on the Amendment? Will you remark further on the Amendment? If not, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of the Amendment, please say Aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Amendment passes. Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, now we're onto the underlying Bill as amended, AN ACT CONCERNING ZERO CARBON PROCUREMENT. This Bill deals with a very important issue concerning the state of Connecticut and is clearly affiliated with the economic stability of the state of Connecticut in regard to our energy and in regard to, quite frankly, jobs in Eastern Connecticut and around the state. And, I first would like to thank Senator Winfield for working on this piece of legislation to ensure that we were doing what is really most important to all members of this circle and that is rate payers and making sure that we are protecting what rate payers would be paying for electricity.

In addition to that, I'd like to thank my seatmate and colleague, Senator Formica. He and I have been working on this issue since January. It is similar to a piece of legislation that passed out of the Senate during regular session. We recognize how important Dominion is to the energy climate in the state of Connecticut and to the fiscal stability of Eastern Connecticut. Quite frankly, this piece of legislation will allow us to save 1,400 jobs in Eastern Connecticut. This stabilizes and will not see 1,400 jobs or any layoffs at what is called the Millstone Plant of Dominion. It, in addition to that, impacts 4,000 other jobs in the state of Connecticut. These jobs are good-paying jobs. I cannot say enough that this is a job's Bill and an economic stability Bill that will allow us to protect our energy resources here in the state of Connecticut.

I would also like to be able to talk a little bit, in a very short manner, because I know that we have other Bills that we want to spend a little bit more time on, but this is working in conjunction with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this is in concert with the Office of the Governor. He has indicated that he also is interested in making sure that this large employer who protects 4,000 jobs statewide and provides 1. 5 billion in economic impact annually. So, I seek -- I would also ask all my colleagues to support this piece of legislation so that we can ensure that we will be stabilizing our electricity environment here in Connecticut, stabilizing jobs providing 1. 5 billion dollars in economic value and I would seek to yield to my seatmate, Senator Formica, on the issue of Dominion that we have worked in concert with each other all regular session and into the special session.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Formica, will you accept the yield, sir?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Yes, thank you I will.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and thank you Senator Osten for your tireless advocacy of this very important issue along with my co-chair on Energy, Senator Winfield, and all of the people who have worked hard in conjunction with this effort, the Governor's office, DEEP, PURA, the Consumer Counsel. This is truly a bipartisan effort in what is not only as the good Senator referenced a Jobs and Economics Bill specific to Southeastern Connecticut but impactful for all of the state of Connecticut and New England.

This is Millstone Station owned by Dominion is the provider of 50% of the power to the state of Connecticut. It's baseload power is critical to moving forward the economic recovery that we hope to have with the jobs that are anticipated to be created at Electric Boat, at Sikorsky, and all of the other large manufacturers throughout the state as well as the small businesses and small manufacturers who rely on good, stable baseload energy and Millstone Station provides 50% of that each and every day. We know that nuclear is time-sensitive and that nuclear plants around the country have closed. There have been five and they're suffering from economic competitiveness and hardship.

This Bill will provide an opportunity for this station to continue operating over the short-term until we can transition to a future which is made up of renewable energy and that is the most important part of where we are today. We need to be stable today. We need to preserve these jobs. We need to preserve the energy and we need to have an eye on the future because we all know that renewables are the eye in the future. But, solar and wind at this point are intermittent energy sources, which means that only when the wind blows and the sun shines do they provide energy to all of the people that are hooked up into their outfits. Millstone provides baseload power, which is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so that is so important. Until such time as the intermitted power combines with battery storage and in this Bill we provide for an opportunity for storage, which is a new language and I think which is in a very important addition to this particular Bill. So, we know what the job situation is here, and we know how critical it is and we know how hard everybody in the state is working to provide and keep jobs.

This does not provide any subsidies, this simply provides an opportunity, and opportunity to enter a procurement process that the state already undergoes. It will not crowd out Class I renewables with whom they share the opportunity. It will now crowd out hydro. It will simply provide a lane that gives the opportunity for stability and predictability in our baseload power supply. So, I know that everywhere I go everybody doesn't know my last name anymore. They think it's this issue, but I think that's so important to the state of Connecticut. I believe that keeping this baseload power supply is the most important issue that Connecticut faces today. I know later this afternoon we're going to face an equally important task, but that's how strongly I feel and I certainly urge adoption by my colleagues and adoption by all of the General Assembly. Thank you, Madam President and thank you again to Senator Osten for your hard work on this.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Suzio, good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Thank you. I rise to make some comments about the --

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. This is, perhaps, one of the most interesting and most challenging legislative Bills that I think we've debated this session. I have some questions, if I may present them to the proponent of the Bill?

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Through you, Madam President, there's been a number of arguments advanced for passage of the Bill and some of them, quite frankly, sound pretty convincing. However, one of the arguments is, if I understand it correctly and I want to repeat it here and find out if the proponent agrees with my understanding. The argument is that Dominion is basically paying a lot of money to third party people who are involved in hedge contracts to assure the stability of the pricing of the energy they're delivering. The argument, as I understand it, is this legislation will allow them to eliminate the middle man in the transaction and all the fee money that's being paid for these hedge contracts will be freed up to save substantial costs to the company, some of which may be passed on to consumers. Would that be an accurate description of that argument or do I misunderstand? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. The answer would be yes.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Then, again, through you Madam President I was wondering if we can determine or have any idea what these cost savings might be. I'm not asking questions about Dominion's profitability or anything like that, but we know that they've been spending millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars for these contracts, and I was wondering since the argument is saying that they can save costs which might be passed on to consumers, I think and I hope that we have some idea of what those costs are. So, through you, Madam President, do we have any information pertaining to what Dominion has spent on hedge contracts, for example, in 2015 and 2016? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, I have some knowledge of sometimes that middle man that is referenced in hedge funds and other things and the fact that we could eliminate the middle person does save money and quite frankly part of this is that rate payer's that DEEP will only accept this if the rate payers are paying less. We're not interested in rate payers paying more. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. And, again, through you Madam President, so, the argument is that the economics of the situation. Are we, by eliminating the middle man there will be substantial cost savings and the question is how might this benefit consumers? Is the argument that those cost savings would be passed on to consumers? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Through you, Madam President, yes.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Again, through you Madam President, apparently, we don't know what the cost savings are, so my question to the proponent would be how do we know what the potential savings would be for consumers and what mechanisms are in place to assure that the cost savings are passed on to consumers rather than retained 100% by the company? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President, through you, through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Office of Consumer Counsel, they would ensure that the rate payers would benefit from a contract such as this. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you. Again, through you Madam President, I read through the Bill and I see that PURA and the regulators are supposed to take into consideration the cost to consumers as one factor. There are other factors taken into play as dictated by the legislation before us, but my concern is just that there's nothing that I can see that assures that there'll be any savings that are passed onto consumers. We know that the company itself may very well save hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating the middle man, but I don't see any mechanism in play that assures that rate payers in Connecticut will benefit and to what extent they might benefit. Maybe I'm overlooking that, other than the provision that PURA will be reviewing any proposals how do we know that the savings themselves or at least some reasonable portion of those savings would be passed on? Is there a formula that I'm overlooking that might say that a certain percentage of the savings must be passed on to consumers? Is there anything that mandates the savings be passed on to consumers? Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Very simply, Madam President, and through you and thank you very much Senator, because I really like talking about the pieces of this Bill that provide for a benefit for rate payers. This is not about the company of Dominion or it's plan to Millstone. This is allowing the plant at Millstone to participate in providing energy for in the best interest of rate payers. As a matter of fact, that's the first line of this Bill. Best interest of rate payers means the benefits of a contract or proposal outweigh the cost to electric rate payers. This is an ability to provide those rate payers with the benefit. It's not about the company making more money, it's allowing them to participate in the procurement process and it's as simple as that. Neither the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection nor the Office of Consumer Counsel will approve something that will increase costs to ray payers. That is just that simple. There is no need for a formula. We have these organizations that say from the very beginning of the Bill that this is about the best interest of rate payers. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Suzio.

SENATOR SUZIO (13TH):

Thank you, and through you, Madam President. I don't want the proponent to misunderstand what I'm driving at. I'm not suggesting that Millstone might increase it's pricing. What I'm suggesting is that I don't see any mechanism to guarantee that the hundreds of millions of dollars that it might be saved by this legislation by eliminating the middle man that there is any guarantee that any of those savings will be passed on to consumers.

If, indeed, Millstone does generate tremendous cost savings by eliminating the middle man one would hardly expect that their rate's bids would go up. They should go down, but there is no mechanism in the legislation that I see that guarantees that Connecticut consumers will get some benefit from this.

There is a protection that rates won't go higher, but there's no assurance that rates will go lower, and yet if Millstone's costs are constant and we know that they are and that one of the big variables is the pricing of these contracts, one would think that since Millstone's costs are going to go down that there would be some guarantee in the legislation that savings or a reasonable portion of it would be passed on to consumers, but to the best of my knowledge there is no guarantee in the regulation that savings will be passed on. There's only a vague provision that the rates will be in the best interest to consumers, which may be that rates are stable. It might be that they're not going up.

One of my concerns about this legislation pertains to the fact that I recognize and do believe there will be substantial savings to the company. I just don't see a guaranteed mechanism that will be passed on to consumers and that's why I have reservations about this Bill. All other things that are being said about the company are true. They're an important employer in Connecticut. They provide good-paying jobs. They contribute to the economy. Those are legitimate considerations to take into account as well, but I for one would have liked to have seen something in this provision or in the proposed Bill which would assure that the considerable savings to be generated by eliminating the middle man will indeed be passed on to consumers, and unless I can see that, I will be voting against this Bill, Madam President. Thank you very much.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk please call for a roll call vote and the machine will be opened.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally?

THE CLERK:

Senate Bill 1501.

Total number voting 31

Necessary for Adoption 16

Those voting Yea 23

Those voting Nay 8

Those absent and not voting 5

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. [gavel] Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I move for immediate transmittal to the House of Representatives, please.

THE CHAIR:

Seeing no objection, so ordered, sir.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, would the clerk now please call Emergency Certified Bill 7501?

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. -- I'm sorry, Senate Bill No. 7501 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONTINUED OPERATION OF ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE STATE. It is introduced by Representatives Aresimowicz and Ritter, Senators Looney and Duff.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten, good afternoon again.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. Madam President, it's my great honor to stand before you, and I believe that the clerk is in possession of LCO No. 10069.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

LCO No. 10069, Senate Amendment Schedule B and it is offered by Senator Osten.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Osten.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Madam President, I move the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Motion is on acceptance and passage. Will you remark?

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Madam President, I believe that this Amendment could simply be adopted by the circle without any summarization. Through you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President I agree with Senator Osten, but will refrain from making any comments until final passage. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

So, at this time --

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

I believe a voice vote would be in order for the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

There will be a voice vote. For corrections, it is Senate A that we will be voting on. So, I'll try your minds. All those in favor of Senate A please say aye.

SENATORS:

Aye.

THE CHAIR:

Opposed? Senate A passes. [gavel] Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon again, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you. May I stand at ease for just a moment?

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease. [brief pause]

The Senate will come back to order. Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Formica's microphone. Can you please use Senator Kelly's microphone? Your microphone doesn't seem to be working. Thank you.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

We got a problem on that side of the -- I know it was tested this afternoon. The Senate will stand at ease for a moment to check the mics. [brief pause]

Senator Formica.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you to Senator Somers for letting me occupy her district for a moment. We appreciate that. [laughing] I was rising to say that the clerk is in possession of an LCO number; however, I'm waiting for the LCO number to come in.

THE CHAIR:

Let me just check with the clerk. Mr. Clerk do you have another? Yes, what LCO number do you have sir? At this point if you would like to just proceed in just discussing it and when the Amendment comes we'll then call the Amendment, okay?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Thank you, Madam President. So, as we await I thought I would take the opportunity to begin the discussion of this Amendment, which we are very proud to offer here to the state of Connecticut. There is a lot of work that has gone into this Amendment. It provides for an opportunity we believe to move Connecticut forward, and I would like to talk a little bit about what we think is a way to do that. This is a Bill that provides financially for the state of Connecticut over the biennium and it is a balanced line item approach. It does some of the following, Madam President, by increasing education funding.

Our new ECS formula was designed to fairly distribute aid to all of the state, state cities and towns by taking into account the recent court decisions and it distributes that aid based on factors regarding enrollment, poverty, and wealth as well as English language learners. It includes a counsel that will be convened to analyze and make any necessary changes to the formula in the next year because we know with any new formulas there is going to be examination. It increases education funding. Because we feel that education is the most important thing that we can invest in here in this state and across the country we propose to increase education funding by $ 33. 6 million dollars more in fiscal 2018 and $ 136. 6 million dollars more in fiscal 2019 and more over time.

We understand the challenges that are cities and towns are facing, challenges both from us and from within, so we've offered an opportunity to support municipalities by providing support from here and mandate relief. We flat fund or increase funding for all municipalities in year one. We feel that is an important opportunity because if the municipalities must have to adjust to a new economic reality then they're going to need time to operate with less money from the state to figure out how they're going to do that and to make strategic plans to regionalize or to close or to adjust their workforce. So, we propose to flat fund municipalities in year one and increase funding for some municipalities. We believe that provides stability and predictability and we do not ask towns and cities to pay any portion for teacher retirement costs. We also include significant municipal mandate relief because as a former First Selectman I undertand the needs of cities and towns throughout our state and the unfunded mandates that restrict and prohibit some growth, and we offer some significant municipal mandate relief.

Madam President, this Amendment will serve to fund the core social services because along with education we believe strongly that we must take care of those people who are unable to take care of themselves, so we restore funding for core social services and programs that benefit people most in need. We fully fund day and employment services for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. We reopen or propose to reopen care for kids and we restore funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment, which in this challenging time is something that we all share. Both sides of the aisle share the need for making sure that our young children do not suffer from the substance abuse epidemics that are happening throughout our state.

We propose to protect funding for SAGA, which is a lifeline for many Connecticut residents who are disabled and unable to work. We protect funding for school-based health clinics, community health services, family resource centers. We do not suggest to annualize holdbacks for domestic violence shelters and services for those with disabilities, employment opportunities for the blind, and for the deaf. We support seniors, Madam President, in this Amendment because we protect. We propose to protect and reopen the Connecticut home care program. We increased funding for the very important program, Meals on Wheels. We lower taxes for retirees and we restore the personal needs allowance all the while increasing funding for the non-ADA Dial-A-Ride. We know on both sides of the aisle we share the appreciation of the dedication of our great Veterans and this Amendment restores funding for Veterans' burial expenses. Transportation has been a big discussion over this past session.

I'm sorry I thought someone was speaking to me, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

No problem, sir.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

So, we propose to prioritize transportation by prioritizing the state's transportation needs and stabilizing funding and we propose to do so without new taxes or without the implementation of tolls. Our planned prioritized progress for transportation provides over $ 60-billion dollars over the next 30 years in an opportunity and in a way, that is achievable and realistically doable we believe, Madam President. This will stabilize the state's special transportation plan. Madam President, in my other life, which I used to have going to work each and every day in the private sector, I have spent most of my life in the hospitality industry and I understand how important tourism is throughout our country but specifically to our state and that tourism has a multiplying effect on our economy, both in terms of creating jobs, having an economic impact on each of the communities whether it's up and down the shoreline or whether it's inland in Hartford, some of the great museums, the beauty of the northwest corner and the northeast corner.

We know that tourism is a multiplier, so we propose to transfer 1. 5% of the current hotel occupancy tax to a new marketing culture and tourism account. We do not propose to increase the current amount, the 15% but to do as that increased number that occurred a few years ago was intended to do when it went from 12% to 15% and that was to provide opportunities to support tourism. So, we propose a 1. 5% transfer for tourism support. All current tourism appropriations made from the general fund would be eliminated and all future funding will be made from this new account and this would result in an increase of funding, we believe, over time.

Funding is also provided to maintain Connecticut's rest stops making our state more attractive to visitors. There's nothing worse than entering a new state and seeing an opportunity to pull over and say we're closed for business. We want to welcome people, and it is our belief that we should prioritize that and make sure that people have the opportunity to pull over and perhaps get some information about our great state, the state that we all live here with and love.

We, also, Madam President propose to reduce the size of government by implanting 10% reductions to certain agency accounts and we make cuts to the legislator, such as reducing legislative committees. Our structural changes, which we believe are very important and include a spending cap, a bonding cap, a municipal mandate relief, and other long-term savings. That is a basic synopsis of the spending. I guess we're still waiting for the number, Madam President. Is that correct?

THE CHAIR:

Yes, sir, we're still waiting for the LCO.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

So, perhaps it would be --

THE CHAIR:

At this time if you'd like --

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

I could yield to Senator Frantz who could talk a little bit about another portion or Senator Osten?

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz will you accept the yield?

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Do we want to stand at ease for just one moment, Madam President?

THE CHAIR:

No, I think we'll be okay.

SENATOR FORMICA (20TH):

Okay. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Unless Senator Frantz won't accept your yield.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

I will think about this for a minute, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

The minute's up.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

That's a New York minute, a Brooklyn minute.

THE CHAIR:

You're right.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

I would be happy to accept the yield through you, Madam President. Thank you and thank you Senator Formica.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, sir.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Senator Formica. The first thing I'd like to do is thank everybody whose helped work on this Amendment which is our budget and if there's one absolute hero it's Lisa Hammersley who has put in more time than I can tell you about for 4-1/2 to 5 months now on this budget which has been an evolutionary document going forward, but I'd also like to say that the folks at LCO and OFA and OLR have been wonderful to work with. They've had a lot of patience with this process and they've had a lot patience with us with all of the dynamic changes that we've had to make, which are not easy to digest every time we make a request, and so our hats are off to them for doing a great job. I also want to thank our caucus leader for providing incredible leadership through the last few years here, but in particular on this budgetary issue for the last five or six months.

As we all know, we need that kind of leadership because Connecticut has fallen further in the ranks since the last time we were together as a Senate in the circle. Bad news keeps coming through, and I don't like being the messenger here. Most of you do know this information, but it needs to be repeated in public, so that the public does understand what's going on with the state of Connecticut.

The economy is barely limping along at about a 2/10th's, maybe 3/10th's of a growth rate on an annualized basis. We lost 3,900 jobs in the month of August just this last month, a few weeks ago. We've had a lot of bad news coming from rating agencies, Hartford. The city of Hartford yesterday was just downgraded 4 notches to 6 notches below junk, bond status. That's embarrassing and it's not going to be easy to recuperate from something like that.

The rating agencies cite the fact that we do not have a budget that makes sense -- we don't have a budget period and we don't. Maybe that will change today and this evening if it goes back down to the House, but we have not had a budget since the end of our fiscal year, which was almost three months ago and since our self-imposed deadline of June 7th approximately 4-1/2 months ago, and we're slowly getting there. There's no guarantee that will be a reality. If you talk to people in the business community and in the overall community as a whole they'll tell you that Connecticut, which once used to be considered the blue-chip state certainly of the northeast, possibly of the country, sort of like the Switzerland of the United States of America has lost its blue-chip reputation and now is paying a big price in terms of it's reputation going forward. It doesn't help that we have companies leaving. Alexion, just the other day, announced that they're going to move from Connecticut, their headquarters anyway, to Boston following in the footsteps of General Electric and also Aetna moving to New York City metropolitan area. We've all talked to these executives. I'm sure all of you have or at least received communications from them, and they've told us without any equivocation that they don't like the balance sheet of the state of Connecticut $ 23. 5-billion dollars worth of bonded indebtedness $ 65 to $ 70-billion in unfunded liabilities. How are we going to manage that if we can't balance the budget today? How's that ever going to happen? They've cited other issues.

They've cited leadership issues. They've cited much, too much, influence of organized labor and units in the legislative process here and these are not my opinions. They might coincide with that, but these are words coming directly from the decision makers at these three big companies and about 16 or 17 other companies that I've spoken with over the last couple of years here.

As you know, economic development is one of my passions and I've been at it for a long time, far longer than I want to remember but well into 24-25 years even before coming here, and to see our reputation fall apart like this is a heartbreaker.

We're all here because we really care about people. We want to make the lives of people at least acceptable in this state or improve them over the course of time, and we've let them down because we've not had a budget and that's why we're introducing this Amendment here. The budget is a statement as to what your state is all about, what your leadership is all about, and ultimately, it's a harbinger of what your balance sheet is going to look like. So far, this balance sheet, on the liability end of the equation for the last 35-40 years has grown on the liability side and not so much on the asset side. If it were a private sector organization entity, corporation, whatever you want to call it, it would be deemed by the markets to be completely insolvent.

So, the majority party version of the Bill, which we'll get to later but is related to our suggested Amendment here is one that you just kind of have to put your arms up in the sky and say again? Here we are, this is most likely the third largest tax increase in the history of the United States in the history of the state of Connecticut and one of the largest in the United States of America over the last seven years for a state. It's remarkable. If this were to go through this underlying budget, the ECR budget. That would be about a 55% to 60% increase since the beginning of seven years ago and that puts it in one of the highest if not the highest states in the country.

To think about taxing cell phones; it's either 49 cents or a dollar per phone, we don't know what the latest iteration is, on family phones that parents give to their kids to remain safe. You know come pick me up after school or I'm safe after the soccer game's over and they get taxed that amount per month on a yearly basis. With a size of four or five people in the family that gets to be expensive after a while. This whole idea of taxing recreational homes, we'll get back into this in a few minutes, but that is something that is going to send shockwaves through the property market through the state market as well as people who own these as well as people that don't own them. They're going to say what is Connecticut up to here? They've tried this before, Act 60 in Vermont has been an unmitigated disaster up there where they have a two-tier tax system. It's killed the property market, and I would argue has killed the economy up there as well. Shifting the obligation of the teacher retirement plan to the cities and towns is completely unconscionable I think and so given all that, the fact that Puerto Rico was granted a very special status. They call it title three, two months ago, which stands for the same thing as chapter nine for a municipality. What's next for us if we don't get it together on the budget front here? Is it you know title four or title five whatever it is. Until we make real, genuine structure changes to this state government that we have here and budgetary structural changes we're next. There was a $ 300-million-dollar private placement done a couple of months ago, which is a huge red flag in my mind in terms of cashflow and it has to do with not having a budget, and so we really, really need it. The underlying budget is one that I think would be a job killer, an economy killer, and a reputation killer to a higher degree and that's what we're proposing in this Amendment. So, what I'll do is just very briefly sum up what our budget and what our Amendment is all about. We do not call for any new taxes. There are no new taxes in it; in fact, it reduces a few taxes. There is no increase or expansion of the sales tax. No secondary home tax. No cell phone tax. No restaurant sales tax. No increase to the hotel tax. No income tax increase. It restores funding for the state's property tax credit in it's entirety to all families and individuals. It eliminates social security, income tax, and phases out tax on pension income for middle class families. It increases education funding, municipal support mandate relief. It flat funds or increases funding for all municipalities over the two years. It funds core social services and these are programs that benefit those who are greatly in need and have been short changed here over the last three months or so. It prioritizes transportation, stabilizes funding without tolls or taxes, any new taxes at all. It supports seniors. It funds state parks and tourism. It reduces the size of government by about 10% on most agency counts, etc. , etc. It also includes structural changes that would be a spending cap, a bonding cap, municipal mandate relief and lots of other long-term savings.

It's a tough time for the state of Connecticut, a really, really tough time and it does call for really tough choices. This budget here is one that does make those tough choices but it also balances things out. It's fully vetted and it keeps towns completely even with last year's funding and in fact some towns get increases in their ECS funding. So, with that, Madam President, I would like to yield back to Senator Formica if he's here.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Frantz.

SENATOR FRANTZ (36TH):

I'd like to withdraw the yield, Madam President. I will sit down.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Senator Osten will you please use Senator Somer's microphone. Thank you.

SENATOR OSTEN (19TH):

Thank you very much, Madam President. Madam President I arise to urge my colleagues to vote against this Amendment. Many of the things that we talked about are in the underlying Bill already adopted and I would urge my colleagues to vote no and would ask for a roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

The Senate will stand at ease, please. [brief pause]

Senator Witkos. The Senate will come back to order.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. It is my pleasure to stand before the chamber to speak positive comments on Senate Amendment B as described by the co-chair of the appropriations committee and co-chair of the finance committee. Many, many hours I think from both sides of the aisle went into developing a budget as well as the countless hours of staff and our non-partisan offices to produce the work that we have before us today. It's all about choices, Madam President. Folks keep asking us why is it taking us so long to pass a budget for the state of Connecticut. In fact, I think somebody's keeping a calendar count on how many days we've gone without a state budget but when you're out in your communities and you're out talking to folks life continues but what they're afraid of is the future. That's what budgeting is all about. It's setting priorities. It's making sure that folks can rely on predictability and reliability.

Unfortunately, those have been absent from the last few budgets that have been adopted in previous biennium cycles and I'm not even counting the five or six budgets that were done during the last year because we've heard things like well the revenue estimates didn't meet the expectations that we thought would happen when we passed that increase. I get it. But, at some point, people can't rely on the facts that we're delivering to them.

We shouldn't be relying on those facts to some degree because they don't meet their expectations, so every single time you try to build something off a projection when you're increasing something that doesn't meet there you're going to be in the same shoes. So, I think the Republicans took a different measure this time, Madam President. As outlined by my colleagues we're proposing a budget with no tax increase, and we find efficiencies within state government. We reduce the size of state government.

I applaud Governor Malloy when he speaks of the size of the state government that he's been able to reduce it during his 10 years and your 10 years in office, Madam President, but we'll take that another step further and we'll actually reduce the size of the legislative branch of government. We believe that's the right thing to do. How can we set an example and be leaders in the state of Connecticut if we are afraid to reduce our own branch of government? So, we do that in our budget. When the speaker revealed his budget at a press conference a couple of days ago my inbox was inundated with emails from First Selectmen, mayors, town council members, all very upset at the proposed budget that was going to be debated before the General Assembly. They were most concerned initially about the cost of the teacher's pension being shifted to the municipalities. While I can appreciate the fact that the other side of the aisle came back and said well we won't pay the outstanding obligations under Senate Amendment A we're just going to pay the current costs of the teacher pension plans. Under the guise that the state has no control over the benefits offered to the teachers or the salaries offered to the teachers because that's not at the local level. But this system has been in place for decades and it's due to our own fault, our own inability to plan and budget for the cost of the teacher pension plan that got us into this situation. So, we don't shift that responsibility onto the towns and the towns have said if you're going to make us do something give us a seat at the table. Doesn't that sound like a common-themed argument in this building, especially when it comes around budget time? Give us a seat at the table.

While Republicans negotiated with Democrats over the course of the summer. It got down to the point where there were separate conversations and I knew you talked about dual tracts that we would negotiate with the Governor's office, as well as negotiating with our own party, as well as negotiating with the Republicans, but at the end of the day we're all in this together folks because every single one of us will have to cast a vote. A yay or a nay and every single one of our constituents will have to deal with the fact with whatever we pass.

Last night when Senate Amendment A was delivered to us we heard the highlights. Usually I don't post anything politically on my personal Facebook page, but I highlighted some of the things that would be voted on today in the Democrat proposed budget because I was beside myself of the things that we were going to ask folks to additionally pay for. Haven't they paid enough?

And, I will share with you I got over I don't know how many likes on my page, but several comments of folks saying enough is enough. Not one positive comment. I'd share with you if I got a positive comment. We spoke about the vacation homes. We spoke about the ride share tax. We spoke about the wireless cell phone tax. We spoke about the cost of the teacher's pension plan shift to the municipalities and the average citizen just doesn't get it. Oh, they get it. I should say maybe the legislature just doesn't get it, that people feel that they've been taxed enough and folks will say to the Republicans if you're not going to raise taxes how do you meet a balanced budget. How do you do it?

I'd like to see the runs for the municipalities. I'd like to see how you're going to fund education. It's right here in black and white. Just pick it up and take a look at it. You'll see how your towns fare. Your Boards of Education will see how they fare. Yes, some communities will see cuts over the duration of time, but they have enough time built into our plan to prepare for it, and that's all they've ever asked for. Give us the ability to prepare for it because we know that we have to be part of the equation as municipal leaders. We understand that, but don't give us something of mandate after we've already adopted our budgets, after we've already sent out our tax bills. That's not every community in the state of Connecticut because there's some communities that are still waiting for the legislature to pass a budget before they adopt something at the town level. That was on the headline news last night. Some towns are talking about going insolvent if we don't pass a budget soon. Hartford's claiming they're on the brink of bankruptcy. They will run out of cash in two months' time if we don't have a budget passed. So, people are depending on us to do our job and to do it right and do well by them.

Madam President, I'll say to you that I believe there's only one budget that's going to be presented to us today that does that for our municipalities and for the citizens of the state of Connecticut and that's the budget, Senate Amendment B that we're talking about right now. I think it's important because we provide additional dollars for education for our towns. We always talked about special education costs. If you talked to a superintendent of schools they'll tell you that the biggest issue they have is special education because you can never determine how much you're going to be spending that year because if a family moves in and they have a special needs child it could blow their budget out of the water. This budget addresses special education at dollar number one based on the previous year's expenses; something that the towns have never received before. This is a budget that we believe under education cost sharing addresses the lawsuits which got us into this situation, Horton vs. Meskill and the C Jeff lawsuit that is on current appeal by the Attorney General's office. We addressed those things.

We supply and maintain our municipal aid to our communities. We talk about infrastructure and how we need to rebuild our roads and our bridges. Well our towns are under the same auspices. They have the same mandates by their towns. I don't get a phone call or an email about a pothole in my road but guess what my first selectman does, my mayors do, they hear about it and they haven't received their Town Aid Road assistance. That comes from us. We maintain Town Aid Road in our budget so our towns can do the type of infrastructure needs they do to enhance their transportation needs. In fact, as part of our transportation strategy it's fully funded in this budget. We're able to do the long-term projects that we talk about year after year after year. Well the time for talk is over and the time for action is now. All you need to do is push that green button.

When you go back to your communities this evening and people ask you how did you vote on the budget you should be proud to say I voted for a budget that doesn't raise taxes. I voted for a budget that pays for transportation, pays for infrastructure, maintains predictability, reliability from municipalities, increases education dollars. That's the budget that we're going to be voting on in a few minutes. I'd ask each and every one of you to think long and hard when you cast your vote on this budget.

We also have very many Senators who have state parks in their district. In fact, on a bipartisan basis we created a tourism fund if you will and this provides a mechanism for those monies to go in to be able to maintain the parks and the great tourism because we live in a great state. As we witness disasters all across our country from mudslides to hurricanes to tornadoes to earthquakes. Well in Connecticut we may get a nor'easter but guess what our DPW crews do a hell of a job and the roads are cleared up in 24 hours and we go about our business and our daily lives. If that's the most we have to worry about is a snowstorm, we got it all here in Connecticut, Madam President. I applaud the Governor with his steeled revolution because this is a great state to fight for. We've got the mountains, we've got the ski slopes, we've got the ocean, and we've got the beaches and everything in between in the state parks and the camping. We have historic villages. We have a beautiful science museum which if you haven't had a chance to go see the technology and the future that's shown in that showcase is amazing. These are things that we can all be proud of. These are things that our budget supports.

I dare you to go and find something in our budget that smells because there's nothing in there. Find something in here that says this isn't good. We talk about structural changes. We address those structural changes in our budget because we know if we don't put structural changes in place now for the future it's a never-ending cycle. You know what happens when we see never-ending cycles? Everybody calls it a Groundhog Day moment. I'm getting tired of seeing Groundhog Day moments in the state of Connecticut. It's time to move our state forward, Madam President. This is but the first step of a long journey, but it's a step that is necessary to move us in that direction. I ask each and every one of you to please support Senate Amendment B with a yes vote. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, first and foremost Democrats and Republicans and the House and the Senate have worked extraordinarily hard on reaching one budget resolution bipartisanly and number two have pushed staff of LCO, OFA, and OLR to the limits. I will tell you, I think in my years in this building I never saw a staff work any harder than I have seen the staff work over the last week. They have been here at all of our, both sides of the aisle, both chambers whenever we asked. A small change by us is a huge change in their world. They don't gripe. They don't complain. They just do it. On behalf of this chamber I know we all thank them for their extraordinary work and dedication to our business. They're the people behind the scenes that when we come out and use numbers they generate the numbers. They're the ones we call upon to make our language look clean, sharp, and make us look good. I just know that everybody in this chamber thanks them for their strong and dedicated work to our chamber and I just wanted to make sure that I did not miss saying those remarks to our bipartisan non-partisan staff.

Madam President, this state, I honestly believe has one chance for a change, one and only chance. This is it. This is it. We have seen a downturn in our economy like we have never seen before. It is consistent, it is telling, and it is sad, and we have a choice. Either we're going to continue to ignore those indicators our there, and this isn't doom and gloom, this is just facts. And if you turn your head to the facts, you end up where you are. We have to change who we are as a state. We have to change our philosophy. Look, when the first budgets went out, we raised the taxes. I get it. It was after an old administration. There was a view, whether I agreed with it or not we all went for the ride. It just didn't pan out. You double down on it, it didn't pan out. Sooner or later you got to say maybe that's not the way. Sooner or later you've got to stop and say we have to think differently in this building. We got to think differently in this circle. Forget about who's right or wrong, that's an irrelevancy. What's relevant is a choice.

Are you going to continue down the path or are you going to say let's just see what happens if we change? Let's just see if we make a shift in a different direction. We've gone one way and we've seen the results. What if, hypothetically, we go the other way? What's wrong with that? What is wrong with that? But to say that we're going to tax cell phones, cell phones! Every parent now gives their kid a cell phone. Why? You want to know where your child is. If your child doesn't get on a bus. If your child's at sports and needs a ride home. If there's an emergency. That's why they have it and we're gonna tax it? Everybody whose got one of these, which is everybody has one of these and we're going to tax them? We're going to say for 49 cents every month, 50 cents, whatever that number is. We're going to tax them? For businesses, I know my business, I think I got like 25 or something like that that I give to my staff so that they're able to communicate with the office. This smart phone, we all know as we sit around this circle is the lifeblood of our existence. We email, we text, we communicate, we move business, we talk to constituents, we move documents. It is a function of business. You're taxing a property of business. I gotta tell you, someone had to search long and hard to come up with the tax on a phone as a methodology to raise revenue.

Madam President, we talked about tolls. I will try not to go into my toll dissertation, but when you get an NTA type of structure where you're going to say we're going to give to a quasi agency the absolute right to tax, the absolute right to assess feeds, the absolute right to raise revenue, the absolute right to come up with the transportation plan, the absolute right to control those funds with no legislative oversight what possibly could go wrong there? What possibly could go wrong there? Have we just forgotten about the lottery commission or the person retired at the housing department with $ 250,000 dollars? Have we forgotten about that? That money that could've gone to housing. The lottery commission was an absolute fiasco. How'd we find out about it? We found out about it because we set up a quasi and what we do in this state, rightfully, wrong, Republicans and Democrats are to blame. We say there you go. We trust you with all good intent. With all good intent, we think people have the same frame of mind we will that they're going to do their job and not abuse their power. What we saw in the lottery was an absolute abuse of power but for a whistleblower who had the courage to stand up and say it doesn't affect me, but you can't see what the heck is happening in the lottery commission?

Do you see the salaries we're giving to the lottery commission? Do you see the abuse of the lottery commission, and we did a bipartisan investigation and I gotta tell you it was truly bipartisan and those who were involved, I thank, came out and you had resignations, two and a change? Yes, we're going down the same path but on steroids. We're going to give this committee to raise all this money. Oh, by the way, they had to stick in the bill tolls, had to. It had to be to push my button. That's the only reason I can think. There was no evidence that tolls raised revenue. The DOT commissioner will tell you that. We cannot put tolls at our borders because we made a deal in 84, and if we put tolls at our borders, we must pay every dollar back since 1984. We can put congestion tolls. The paper that was done, two white papers that are called that were done in 2015 the time the Governor set up his transportation committee. Neither one of them proofed out. Neither one of them proofed out that tolls work, neither one of them. It wasn't done for that, and the commissioner will tell you, I didn't do it to prove that tolls were working, I wanted to see if we can put these tolls for congestion.

He actually has a pretty good plan to take the traffic out of Fairfield. I think Commissioner Redicker is a very smart man, but he never stood up and said tolls a revenue driver. This Governor has never stood up and said that tolls are a revenue driver because he knows. Governor Malloy knows. He's not looking at that revenue. But we lost that control. You're going to tell me a quasi agency that's backed by our faith and credit that we're going to put a line item in who's going to be able to collect money, pay salaries, is not going to say well let's put up tolls and see what happens, we reap the benefits, and we all in the circle can think of a number of quasi agencies that we've seen around the state that have run amuck and probably are still running amuck. We just haven't caught up to them yet, ad we don't have all that much time to do it. We're part-time legislature, we're catching up with this, we're catching up with that. It is very difficult to get ahead of the game.

Madam President, tax on fantasy sports. Madam President, George Jepsen came out with an opinion that was a request of Senator Looney and Senator Duff; I think it was a year or two ago, please forgive me I don't recall the exact date. I know it was April, but I remember it was 2016, I believe where the question was posed because someone wanted to tax fantasy sports and George Jepsen said you cannot, you'll open up a compact. You'll be subject to litigation by the tribes and others. As I stand here today, I know of no other fact that would change the relevance of that opinion letter. Now, that matter I wrote to the AG and asked him do you care to make a change in that letter? He wrote back to me, I asked him by six o'clock. I think he was a little upset that I asked him by six o'clock, but he said I basically know no facts that will change that opinion. So, that's a question. That's a question.

Madam President, there's an increase on cigarette and tobacco, same pot that we go to all the time. There's a tax on non-prescription drugs. How much more regressive tax can you have than non-prescription drugs? It hurts all levels. I would argue more to those who are elderly and maybe low income who want to go to the store to get the medicine they need. They're going to get taxed, another tax. Is that really good policy to tax non-prescription drugs. Does that really make a lot of sense? Is that what we're going to stand for in the state of Connecticut? Is that what we're going to do? Madam President, it also shifts the pension on, parts of the pension, normal cost onto the backs of municipalities, onto the backs of municipalities. I don't think there is a senator in this circle who has not heard from their mayor, first selectman, town manager, town counsel that enough is enough with the property taxes. Enough is enough with the property taxes. These normal costs are going to go on the back of municipalities and are going to raise property taxes. That's number one. Number two, anybody in this circle does not believe that once you puncture that or get through that door, I should say, of putting normal costs on the back of municipalities have got to know the next time we have a deficit it's going to be, well it's normal cost and we're only going to add 1% of the arrearage cost. And then three years after that we're only going to add 4% of the arrears cost. That is going to be a cash cow for many legislators to come. We need to stop it. We need to say no. There's another way.

Madam President, the reason why I bring these issues out is to talk about why the approach of the Republicans are different. The House and Senate Republicans have thought of something that says we need to look at life differently and the way we need to look at life is to say to people we're not going to raise taxes. We're not going to do that. We say we are going to understand that people are moving out of this state and we need them to stay in this state. We are going to say we respect the elderly. We are going to say we recognize the elderly, so what do we do? What do we do? I believe the democratic proposal, we both agree we shouldn't tax social security; common ground. We go a little further. We don't want to tax pensions for single filer under $ 74,000 because we believe that you can go to other states and not be taxed on that money. We want you to stay here. We want you to stay here. Oh, by the way, even if you own a vacation home, we want you to stay in Connecticut. We want you to think of Connecticut and love Connecticut. We don't want to force you out. We don't tax pensions, joint filers under 100,000. Why? Because we want them to stay here too.

Why do you think Florida doesn't? You know if we don't attract young kids and we don't attract people to the state we lose that base. Perfect example, when Governor Scott came up and Governor Scott said the reason why I want to get businesses and young kids to work in Florida is because grandparents move to that state to be with their grandkids. It's a pretty simple idea.

Madam President, we've talked for infinitum about educational funding, and as Senator Witkos said, there are a couple of cases out there about education and we come up with the formula that is real. We come up with a formula that takes into account poverty, takes into account value of the real estate, takes into account English learners. We take that into account. We do a true formula, a formula that makes sense. It's been out there for I was going to say six weeks because I'm losing track of time. It's been out there since April, and we know in this building if someone hates something they go after it. They may disagree with the formula, but I haven't seen anybody come up and say this is really bad. This is a real formula.

Every town's going to be able to sit and say this is how much I'm getting. If I don't have a class of X, I'm not getting that. If I do have a class, this is what I'm getting. Bring certainty. We also recognize that there's a shift in population, right? There's some towns that are losing some kids and some towns that are gaining kids and nobody likes to take money away from kids or education. We recognize that shift, and we put in a plan over 10 years, so that towns can plan for that shift in education and we put education where it's supposed to be. It's a new way of thinking. Prioritize progress. It goes back. You don't need tolls. We got a plan that says if you want to do transportation, make a commitment, put it in general obligation funds and say you're going to do it. Sixty-five or six-eight billion dollars in 30 years. That's a lot of money. It's not $ 100-billion as someone pointed out, but we don't have $ 100-billion plan out there. Nobody does at this point. Sixty-eight billion is a lot of money. You could only do one project between New Haven and New London and New Haven and Greenwich; that's it. You try two you shut down that portion of the state.

Using Hartford as a middle point, you can only do one project between Hartford and Mass and Hartford and New Haven or you shut down the state. That's the way life is. It took, the Q Bridge was 27 years, 27 years. How many, like $ 1. 2 billion, I believe it was $ 1. 2 billion. It was $ 2. 1 billion, but the point is it took 27 years and a lot of money. You couldn't do two of those projects, it would take too long. Madam President, prioritize project says we need to do this. Madam President, we lower taxes for retirees, we fund Meals on Wheels, we make sure that the elderly can keep their personal needs allowances. We add to the Dial-A-Ride. We make sure that we have Connecticut home care so the elderly can age at home, something they want to do, and if you have an elderly parent that's something that you want. It's more expensive to put them in a home than it is to have them at home, and if you can swing it this allows that to happen. That is good policy. That is good policy.

Madam President, we reduce the size of government. We have structural changes like bonding, an issuance in allocations, and a spending cap. Madam President, before I conclude, officially I see on the clerk's desk that you cannot miss, LCO I believe it is 10072. I'd like to officially call the Amendment and request position to summarize and move the Amendment.

THE CHAIR:

Mr. Clerk.

CLERK:

Senate Amendment Schedule B LCO No. 10072 as offered by Senators Fasano, Witkos, et al.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Fasano.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Madam President, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Madam President, with the Amendment now officially out on the floor.

THE CHAIR:

Can you move the Amendment sir?

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I did, but I will again.

THE CHAIR:

Please.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I move the Amendment and request permission to summarize.

THE CHAIR:

Please.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

I've already summarized the Amendment, so I don't have to go back through it. I think Senator Formica, Senator Frantz, and Senator Witkos have all talked about this Amendment. Here's the bottom line. We all love this state, all of us. All of us love this state. The question is what are we going to do to save it? Are we going to go forward with a different plan, with a different methodology? Are we going to go forward with the same recipe that we've had for a number of years, going way back? I'm not going to say just this administration because that would be inaccurate. Going way back. Are we going to change? Are we going to change? The budget that we'll talk about, perhaps later, has a lot of earmarks. We've got to stop it. We have to get control of what we're doing. If not us, who? If not us, who? Now's the time to act. Now's the time to act. I fear that in January and February the numbers that we're going to get are going to be very scary. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so. Anybody in business around this circle, actively in business, feet on the ground, will tell you what is going on. Madam President, I would ask for a roll call vote when the matter is called. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Roll call vote will be had. Will you remark further? Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you, Madam President, and for the record could you -- we're on Senate B?

THE CHAIR:

Yes sir.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

But it's not on the board. Can I?

THE CHAIR:

Thank you, Senator. Mr. Clerk. We are on Senate B. [pause]

Senator Doyle.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

I apologize, but I think you probably want to get the board properly set.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you very much, sir.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

As the president of the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

I appreciate it.

SENATOR DOYLE (9TH):

Thank you. I would first like to just thank the many people that have worked on the budget process here. We have the full appropriations committee, the finance committee, our leaders, my party, the Democrats, Republican leadership, OPM, OFA, LCO, OLR, and the staff. Many people have worked long hours to get here today. It hasn't been easy for anyone, including myself. I certainly did not work a hard as many of the other people, the leadership of the committee. I certainly didn't work a hard as them, but I for myself have put in a lot of time learning about the budget process this year and where we're going. Whatever happens today, I just think it's important that we all have respect for each and everyone. Today certainly is an important day in the history of the state of Connecticut.

We, all, I mean the members of the Senate and the members of the House, vote our consciences. We vote what our gut and our heart thinks is right. We all vote what we think's best for our constituents and what's best for the state of Connecticut. Talking about our Senate circle, we all come from different places, different backgrounds, and different philosophies. Again, we vote what we think is right. I have to talk about myself because I am speaking and am going to contemplate this difficult vote. I am and I've said it before, I'm an Irish Catholic Democrat. I was raised by my father that way, probably some would say I wasn't given a choice, but that's what I am. In my life I've had two inspirations, John F. Kennedy, Democratic president and Governor William O'Neill. I had the privilege of working for Governor William O'Neill when I was a youngster at OPM right in this building. I met him a few times. I certainly didn't know him well, but I appreciate his hard work. Both of these men were certainly different. They certainly came from different places, different backgrounds, but at least both of these men came for us and focused on the fiscal health of our country and our state, respectively.

Personally, I've been up here a long time, as I said at the CBAC vote, many people may think I've been here too long. But, I've voted on many budgets in the past. Some good budgets, some bad budgets I voted for and against. As a matter of fact, in 2011, I voted for the state budget. I voted for the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Connecticut. Am I proud of that fact? I don't know, but I certainly voted for it. The problem with that 2011 budget and subsequent budgets is we've raised taxes and the revenues certainly have not come in. That is without dispute. For whatever reason, and I'm not going to get into a dispute why, it's complicated and I think fingers could be pointed in each direction.

The state of Connecticut is certainly in a bad place today. That is without dispute. I don't want to get into the reasons, but in my great Hartford area, I think with Aetna and the recent Alexion there are certainly corporate decisions here, and I think internal corporate decisions were major drivers in those decisions. Individuals want to move maybe to live in New York City, and they maybe use that to disparage the state of Connecticut. The problem is, as a country, those two decisions did disparage the state of Connecticut and I'm not saying those results were directly attributable to us in this chamber and our policies, but there the facts and currently today the state of Connecticut is in a bad place. I believe and maybe many of you disagree with me; I believe our state is living beyond it's means. Our future budget picture is very bleak. Several of you were at a meeting. We had a presentation by these outside New York City financial wizards that are much, much brighter than me. They came in and looked at our books and basically said this year you're $ 5-billion dollars. Out-years your $ 2-billion dollars as far as they can see, as far as they could project. So, whatever happens today and whatever happens this year we are in terrible financial situation. Unfortunately, it's not “m”, it's billions. We need to try to improve our economy for the state of Connecticut. How do we get there? It's my opinion we get there with a bipartisan budget.

In 1991, many of you are aware that was the last crisis of the state of Connecticut to the magnitude we are today, and I've spoken to many people. I've been around. As I said, I'm an old timer and people think -- the Veterans of 1991 say it's much worse today than it was back then. Back then they had a solution, they had an income tax and they just fought and fought and eventually got it. Whether you supported the income tax or not, the income tax solved it. How did it get there? It was a bipartisan vote.

Now the state of California, we're aware it's the size of a country basically, but over the past several years they've had significant budget crises, they've had massive legacy deficits, and as we know the problems of the state of Connecticut really are our legacy deficits. But, unfortunately, similar to California today, Connecticut we both have significantly over-bonded. California was in a significant budget crisis.

The state of Virginia was recently in a significant financial crisis. They had similar problems to the state of Connecticut today. How did those two states, the bluest state and Virginia is, I'm not sure it's red but it's certainly 50/50. Both of those states, how did they solve their problems? Today, Virginia has a surplus. How did they solve the problem? Terry McAuliffe, we're political junkies. We followed him when he worked for Bill Clinton. How did they do it? They came together and did a bipartisan budget.

We're here today and I've heard from sources from the executive branch of our government and sources from our legislative branch that today is it. Today is the only day. If we don't get a budget today it's over, we're going home, that's it. I even heard if we don't do it today, we'll talk in February of '19. That's certainly not acceptable. I would say that's an advocation of our responsibility as legislators.

We all took an oath to the constitution. We all have to work hard. We all owe it to our constituents in the state of Connecticut. I just spoke to one of my good friends and former colleague and you guys have to get it done. You're an embarrassment to the country. Well, I certainly am not -- it's not we all don't want to have to be here, but I believe we all have to get the proper solution. I know that any bipartisan budget, whether today or next week will not be easy. Senate A tonight or this afternoon I should say has some good, but I'm not going to get into all the lines and the exact content, but from my humble opinion it has too much spending, too many taxes, and I'm just learning today from different sources it has all sorts of pieces of legislation that were put in there were raised by different committees, defeated in a bipartisan fashion by the committees but they're back in the budget today. That is what it is. It's a frustrating process, and I certainly don't know. There's a lot of pieces of legislation in there.

The Senate B, what's before us today, certainly is not perfect, but I do believe it lowers the level of spending and it has lower taxes. Today, we are at a point in our history I believe that we cannot do our typical budgeting and unfortunately Senate A is a typical budgeting that I've seen many years, this is probably my 22nd budget, and there's been good and bad. I'll say with speaker Tom Ritter I always say as bad as it is today, years ago, many of you weren't here. We had so much that we had a surplus that out of the surplus we paid cash for Rentschler Stadium. That was the good old days. There long gone now.

Now me standing up here making this speech could certainly have consequences for me. This is not traditional. This is not usual. Yes, I may be risking my political career. My party may not be happy with me, but to be honest, frankly I don't care. There's a point where I, I've been elected and maybe I'm as they say Mr. Smith, doing what I think is right. I've been up here for many years. I've tried to stick to my word. I believe I've always been a man of my word. I voted my convictions. Today, to me, is a turning point. I have to vote what my conscious tells me. Sometimes we need to risk it all. I'm prepared to risk it all. I have a life outside of the capitol. I know one person in the state of Connecticut, if this is it, if I'm out of office, she'd be the happiest person in the world. Sometimes you have to utilize extreme measures to fight what you believe is right for the future of the state of Connecticut. I'm going to vote for Senate B. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark? Senator Slossberg.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. I too rise for comments on the Amendment before us.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed.

SENATOR SLOSSBERG (14TH):

Thank you, Madam President. This has been a long and difficult process for everyone here, everyone in this building. I, too, want to acknowledge the efforts of everyone who has participated in this budget, and I believe in my heart that everyone here does what they believe with good will, good intentions, hard work, and trying to make the right things happen, but I've been saying for a long time now I'm worried about the future. I'm worried about what that looks like. You know Connecticut's been in multi-billion-dollar deficits for so many years now, and if we don't do something to turn the curve right now, right now, we're going to be looking at multi-billion-dollar deficits not for this year, not for next year, but for every single year for the next 30 years. That should scare everybody because I'm going to tell you something, it scares me. It scares me for the future of our state, and anybody whose heard me speak before has heard me say this before. We have to turn the curve. We have to make those hard choices and today is one of those days.

My constituents ask me all the time, Gayle, how did we get here? How did we end up in this place? It's actually pretty simple. Here's how I explain it to them. Our budgets made up of two sides, basically. We have those fixed costs and then we have non-fixed costs. Our fixed costs are sort of like our household budget. Those are the things you don't have a lot of control over. In our state budget, our fixed costs are our pension and our health benefits, our entitlements, which is our Medicaid, our debt service, and our adjudicated plans which doesn't really account for a big amount of it. And, as I said, our fixed costs, we don't have a lot of control over, but we do have some. That's all in one bucket. On the other side of this bucket is everything else we do in state government. It's everything else. It's education. It's supporting our non-profit providers. It's support for our seniors. It's support for our families with members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It's economic development. It's money that goes to our towns to help keep property taxes down, it's programs for Veterans, for workforce training, environmental programs, energy efficiency, our justice system, our vo-tech schools, UConn, CSU; basically, everything else is in this bucket. So, on the one hand I've got pension, payments, retiree healthcare costs, Medicaid debt service on one side and then I have everything else.

In 2006, those fixed costs were 37% and that meant we had 63 cents on every dollar to pay for everything else. Today, those fixed costs are 53% and they are rising dramatically every single year. Just this year it's a 9. 6% increase and what that means is as those fixed costs rise, we don't have the money to pay for everything else, and what does that mean? That means that every single year we're back here doing the same thing. We're cutting, we're cutting social services, we're cutting the programs for the people that we want to be paying for, and then we raise taxes. This is not a problem of our making, it's something that has taken many, many years to get to. We've tried all sorts of things to try to pay that ever-rising bill. We've bonded more but we can't go that route anymore because again that's debt service. That increases our fixed costs. We've taken money from the budget reserve fund and there's nothing really left in them. We've invested in infrastructure but we know that we don't even have the funds now in the next three years to actually make those payments as we go. And, yes, we've raised taxes, several times, and yet here we are again, and again, and again. In 2011, the state raised $ 1. 5 billion dollars of taxes and that was supposed to have solve the problem. I remember the conversation. We talked about it for a long time and that tax increase was supposed to solve the problem, but it didn't. What was worse is that every quarter after that we were in deficit, after deficit, after deficit and that's been the road we've been on and then we increased taxes again in 2015, a budget that I voted for because I thought you know what, let's try this. Let's go in that direction, and yet here we are again looking down the same path.

The reality is our revenue stream is flat. It is not growing and it does not seem to be catching up to that very quickly rising bill, and it's time for us to address this. I believe that if we don't make substantial changes today that slow down that growth rate, we will continue to see multi-billion-dollar deficits not just for the next biennium but as I've said for the net 30 years. I worry about our cashflow and whether we'll run out of cash before then requiring yet another round of short-term borrowing. I worry about what's happening at the federal government and what happens next if our Medicaid funds get cut or if federal aid doesn't come through. Where do we go from there? I've been fighting for a budget that turns the curve, and what do I mean by turn the curve? I mean we have to slow down that growth rate, and we have to do it now, so that eventually we get out of permanent fiscal crisis and we are not in this constant cycle of cuts and tax increases that are simply raising the cost of living for all of our constituents and everyone in this state. Our cost of living right now is 31% over the national average. It's expensive to live here and there's a lot of reasons for that. There are a lot of good things that we pay for with that, but this balance is out of whack.

On July 31st, I stood here with two of my colleagues and we presented some systemic reforms that we believed would help address those fixed costs and get us on the path to turning that curve. They related to pension and health costs, and they related to debt service. I'm not going to go through all of them here today because I believe with everyone, and I agree with everyone who says we need a budget now. Today, I've been given two choices and as the previous speaker said, it's now or never. We have to make a choice and neither of my choices in front of me are perfect. I have one document, the underlying document that raises significant taxes, cuts significant spending, but also adds new spending and does a variety of other things; some of which I agree with, some of which I don't agree with and some of which I don't know enough about and it contains some of the systemic reforms that I spoke about but not the ones that I believe will help us turn the curve today. We simply cannot afford to do the same thing we've been doing before. The Amendment before us has lower spending, lower taxes, and contains a long list of systemic reforms that happen now. Given those two imperfect choices and this very difficult vote, I will be voting for the Amendment before us.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Hartley.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Good afternoon, Madam President. I seek leave to comment on Senate B that is before us.

THE CHAIR:

Please proceed, ma'am.

SENATOR HARTLEY (15TH):

Thank you, Madam President. First of all, I would like to recognize collectively the work of everyone in this chamber, quite frankly everyone in these buildings. We have several documents before us, one that is 915 pages, another that is probably equally as long and I would say if just to measure those pages are a mere fraction of the time that has been invested to bring us to this point today, and so it is with great respect and thanks that I would like to recognize all of those on all sides who have worked so diligently to bring us to where we are today.

It's been very clearly articulated thus far in the chamber today that every vote, every budget vote is a very difficult vote. I've been here and gone through my share of very trying, difficult budget votes. Today, however, in my experience this is the most pivotal and probably the most difficult. We faced, going into this biennium, the challenge of crafting a sound budget, a sustainable budget, trying to recognize a $ 5-billion-dollar hole but at the same time trying to find equilibrium and balance to deal with the exponential fiscal tsunami that is facing us down the road that some have described as permanent fiscal crisis. It is clearly a very difficult balancing act and to just deal with the here and now, the biennium and this deficit is a navigation of duty. It is all encompassing that we try to deal with the root causes as well as the existing deficit. The root causes of the exponential growth of our fixed costs, I think we're probably all referring to the same chart and recognizing these very, very frightening numbers that in 2006,37 cents out of every dollar the state spent went into our fixed costs. That gave us 63 cents to establish our goals, our priorities to continue to keep this state, the quality of life that we are recognized for, the quality of life that we have come to enjoy.

Those projections show us just next year, 2018, that in 2018 the numbers flip and we're looking at 53 cents of every dollar the state spends in fixed costs. What does that give us to keep our roads and bridges, to educate our children, to continue to keep us the elite state we are in terms of skilled workers, highly educated workforce, elite institutions? That leaves us 47 cents to do those things. We've talked a long time about the crowding out effect. I think those charts vividly demonstrate the crowding out effect. We just have to get it together. We have to abandon the process of new spending, and this is not to say that those initiatives and even the ones that were launched very recently, I myself coming from an urban center was faced with the choice of initiating something which would deal with the property tax in my town. It's a very important issue for me, but at that time I felt that we could not sustain that program and when folks came up to me and said Joan I'm thinking about buying a new car what do I do? Far be it for me to tell a family that no you really shouldn't replace that automobile or enjoy another model or whatever. I could just simply say I'm very, very concerned that we will not be able to sustain the program upon which this is built.

The practice of incorporating legislation that failed to pass legislative approval incorporating it into a master document upon which there is one vote is more than problematic.

Madam President, I would like to reference my remarks on this floor on July 31st of this year when in fact before us was Senate Resolution 51. At that time, I very clearly articulated the fact that there was a package of systemic reforms that, in fact, was enumerated on the floor and is reflected in the transcript of that day, which identified long-term structural reforms, systemic reforms that I believe are essential in addressing the trajectory of this state. I'll just reference one. It was a pretty comprehensive package. I want to thank the LCL staff that labored with us over really every syllable there and that was one of the principals that I have for a long time been working on otherwise known as the ability to pay. It's very simple. One of my colleagues referenced the fact that we are spending beyond our needs.

Why does that happen? Well, in many instances, because we have not defined the ability of pay. As it exists in statute presently, it is a subjective clause. There is no metric attached to it. It is not formulated. It does not equate to anything but the clause, what is the ability to pay? Well, of course the ability to pay then means you are the state of Connecticut, you can tax. The proposal that was referenced that day and that I'm pleased to see is incorporated in Senate B, puts very specific definition of what equates to the ability to pay. Common sense things, the balance in the budget reserve fund, the short-term and long-term liabilities of the state recognizing minimum funding requirements, court orders, contracts. A look at the initial budgeted revenue, anticipated revenue for the past five years as compared to actual revenue that is coming in, projections for fiscal years in the proposed collective bargaining agreement that is under consideration at that time and then the economic outlook of the state. The state's access to capital markets, its financial capability.

It's also delineated it should not be determined by the state's ability to tax. I just would like to, Madam President, reiterate my words or paraphrase them if I might regarding that proposal as well as the other nine and there were two additional ones as well that I said my support of any budget would be tantamount to the acceptance and passage of those proposals. You know, when we started this biennium process, we were admonished not to lead with taxes. I took those words very seriously. We were continually, in fact, admonished that we should not be leading with taxes, particularly in view of the more recent past budgets. I simply will reference the fact that the number that has been reported and truth be known I have not had the time to go through these 119, no excuse me, 915 pages.

However, I do understand that the bottom line is $ 1. 53 billion dollars. I would say, someone tell me if I'm wrong, that's leading with taxes. Then I just asked my colleagues in this circle what do we do when once again those revenue projections, the assumptions upon which those numbers are built fall flat. I'd say that's going in circles. I'd say that is not how we are turning the curve, changing the trajectory. Madam President, now more than ever the people of the state of Connecticut, the state that we love, that we have all raised our hand to serve on qualifiedly expect bold initiatives and bold action. We have all witnessed the hyper-partisanship that has created gridlock in Washington. Don't go there. The people of the state of Connecticut have, by the historic representation in this chamber, 1818, told us in an unqualified way get the job done this is no time for partisan politics. I have to say that I am pleased to see that the reform and reform package that I referenced is incorporated in Senate B and I say that for my entire tenure in the House and in the Senate, I have always strove to not have any of my work, my decisions, or my positions about politics but only about policy. You know that old character, just the facts madam but keeping to the facts and trying to once again be true to the people who have sent me here to the best of my ability. So, this session, there have been some very difficult votes, and I have tried to predicate my positions on them only on the facts, nothing more. Thank you, Madam President, and I rise to support the Amendment that's before us. Thank you.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President, good afternoon.

THE CHAIR:

Good afternoon, sir.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Madam President, despite the fact that the prospects of this Amendment have seemed to have become enhanced since the debate began, I rise in opposition to Senate B. First of all, Madam President, I believe that the adoption of this Amendment will only prolong our budget crisis. It means that we are likely to go over the cliff on October 1st with the governor's executive order going into effect. He has clearly stated that the only budget that he will sign that is extant so far is the one presented and negotiated in Senate A previously adopted. I want to commend the Governor for pointing the path to a resolution by offering his revised budget at the end of last week to replace his executive order. He made clear at that time that was pretty much as far as he would go on changes but negotiated additional ones over the weekend beginning and everyday since last Friday in negotiations with Senate and House Democrats leading to the conclusion of those negotiations and the content included in Senate A, which I believe is the best choice for the people of Connecticut and reflects a balance between moderate revenues and meeting the essential needs of our state.

I'm afraid that what will happen now if this Amendment becomes a Bill and passes that it will be rejected by the House of Representatives, and if not, that will certainly be vetoed by the Governor and we will be continuing in this stalemate, which is not good for the people of the state of Connecticut. Just a few points in the budget. Obviously, not able to speak about this in detail because we did not receive the actual Amendment until almost nearly the end of the Republican presentation of it, but just a few things that it takes out more than at least as reported takes almost a hundred-billion dollar more out of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which I think is an appalling policy targeted at low-income working people. It cuts hundreds of millions of dollars in state support for UConn and requires UConn professors to teach more and more classes. People may think that is sort of an innocuous good government practical savings but it reveals a misunderstanding about what a major research university does, and it's ironic that proposal comes at a time when UConn has just reached its highest ever level of national rankings of 18th nationally.

What this means is that if this passes and ever becomes law, that ranking of 18 will soon become a distant memory as UConn plummets downward as the quality of its research will no longer be at that level because faculty with additional teaching requirements will be able to do less and less research and frankly a universities' national reputation is based on the quality of its research, the publication of its faculty. UConn will take a huge hit and will not longer be as attractive to out of state students and also becoming the first choice, as it has been in the last 15 years, of so many outstanding Connecticut students including so many valedictorians and high school salutatorians as well.

So, while that might just seem just kind of another savings, it has consequences far beyond in terms of the nature of an academic institution. Basically, it adopts the policy that a public university in Connecticut should not be a major research university, that it should be a secondary university and that only private universities should have the preeminence of being major research institutions. That should not be true in Connecticut, just as it is not true in states that have as their great pride other major public universities, University of Virgina, the University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, the University of California at Berkley, University of California at Los Angeles; those wonderful flagship state universities around the country which UConn is coming closer and closer to that level of preeminence will be forever cut off if the provision of this budget should ever become law.

So, there are so many other reasons, I think that the underlying budget contained in Senate A is much more preferable, respectful of the public policy, needs of the state, reasonable about revenues so I would urge rejection of Senate B. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk will you call for a roll call vote and the machine will be opened.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate on Senate Amendment Schedule B. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally?

THE CLERK:

On Senate Amendment Schedule B:

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 21

Those voting Nay 15

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Amendment passes. [gavel] Senator Fasano. Senator Fasano please.

SENATOR FASANO (34TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I would move the Bill as amended to be voted roll call vote.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Looney.

SENATOR LOONEY (11TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Before moving to a roll call vote on the Bill as amended just a couple of final additional comments. Again, I wanted to just renew my remarks that I believe that the adoption of Senate B as the final amendment for this Bill will prolong this process, which is so damaging to the state of Connecticut in terms of not having a budget in place. It will not drag on even longer to the great detriment of the state of Connecticut. But, apart from that, I do want to thank some people who have worked extraordinarily hard in a way that I think deserves particular recognition here today; the chairs of Appropriations and Finance Committees. Senator Cathy Osten has bee hard at work in this whole process since we convened in January and no one could have put in more time, more effort, more energy, developed more mastery in so many policy areas in dealing with a budget and trying to shepherd to a consensus conclusion and Senator John Fonfara our Finance Committee Chair who has continually come up with creative ideas and approaches.

I especially want to thank him for his great leadership in terms of the negotiations with the hospital association which finely are reflect in what I think is an extraordinarily good resolution both for the hospitals and the state of Connecticut included in Senate Amendment A largely through his work in convening meeting groups of hospital leaders as well as legislators and finally with administration officials where reluctance to engage in talk had been such a problem before. So, again, with that, Madam President, I would urge the defeat of the Bill as Amendment so that the process does not continue in the destructive way that we have seen now for so many months. Thank you, Madam President.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. Will you remark further? Will you remark further? If not, Mr. Clerk will you call for a roll call vote? The machine will be open on the Bill.

CLERK:

Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate. Immediate roll call has been ordered in the Senate.

THE CHAIR:

All members have voted. All members have voted. The machine will be closed. Mr. Clerk, will you please call the tally?

THE CLERK:

On House Bill 7501 as amended by Senate A and B.

Total number voting 36

Necessary for Adoption 19

Those voting Yea 21

Those voting Nay 15

Those absent and not voting 0

THE CHAIR:

The Bill passes. [gavel] Senator Duff.

SENATOR DUFF (25TH):

Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I believe that concludes our business for today. I would move that we adjourn subject to the call of the chair, and there will be an immediate Democratic caucus.

THE CHAIR:

Senator Witkos. Senator Witkos please.

SENATOR WITKOS (8TH):

Thank you, Madam President. There will also be an immediate Senate Republican caucus.

THE CHAIR:

Thank you. The Senate will stand adjourned.

(On motion of Senator Duff of the 25th, the Senate at 4: 47 p. m. adjourned subject to the call of the chair. )

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