Friday, October 27, 2017

Sen. Linares Votes for Bipartisan Budget that Restores Education Funding and Caps State Spending

Early yestrday morning, State Senator Art Linares (R-33) voted to approve a bipartisan state budget bills that restores funding for municipalities and education cut by the Governor’s punitive executive order. The bill passed both the Senate and House of Representatives with veto-proof margins.

“I grew up in the 33rd Senate District and attended public schools here. I love this community and make it my home today,” Sen. Linares said. “The Governor’s executive made tens of millions of dollars in targeted cuts in local education funding for our schools. If allowed to continue, this would have forced drastic property tax increases and potential insolvency in our small towns.

“Thankfully, today Republicans and Democrats came together with a two-year state budget that is veto proof. Our local towns will receive funding necessary to operate and continue to educate our students without the need for drastic property tax increases.

Sen. Linares said the budget approved Thursday was the result of hours of intensive negotiations between Republican and Democrat leaders in the House and Senate. While neither party got everything it wanted, the budget does contain some long-sought Republican victories.

“For the first time in our state’s history, this budget cemented a constitutional spending cap and a constitutional bonding cap. Our budget cut taxes on social security for senior citizens and fought off harmful income and sales tax increases. Our small towns will also see unfunded mandate relief and the flexibility to take control of their own destiny with reduced red tape and regulations,” Sen. Linares said.

“I didn’t get everything I wanted in this budget, and there were things I did not like and don’t support. My colleagues in the Senate can attest to the fact that I am not one to compromise easily. However, my constituents elected me to put their needs first, to put Connecticut First and to do what was best for all of us, our neighbors, and friends, families and local communities. This compromise did just that.”

Sen. Linares said additional features of the approved budget include:

  • A hiring freeze
  • Phasing out the tax on social security income and pension income
  • Restores millions of dollars in local education funding and municipal aid
  • Municipal mandate relief to help towns and cities reduce costs and benefit local property taxpayers
  • Does not shift teacher pension costs onto towns and cities
  • No increase to the sales tax or income tax
  • No cell phone tax
  • No second home tax
  • Protects funding for day services and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities
  • Protects funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment to fight the opioid epidemic
  • Protects funding for child care for low income families
  • Protects services for seniors including the CT Home Care Program, Meals on Wheels and non ADA dial a ride
“I believe this budget will help move our state in a positive direction,” Sen. Linares said. “Connecticut didn’t develop its problems over night and it will take time to fix them. I am committed doing the hard work necessary to help create a better future.”
Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

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