Senate passes budget fix, may soon need another

The Connecticut Senate approved changes to fix the state budget in a unanimous vote Tuesday (WTNH / Mark Davis)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The State Senate took just a few minutes to pass the fixes to the state budget on a unanimous vote, and the House is expected to follow Wednesday.

It’s a fix that should comply with federal rules on Medicaid reimbursement rates for the hospitals and other health care providers. The hospital association issuing a statement saying it will benefit everyone. The state gets the bulk of the increased federal money, because the Hospital Tax goes up from 6 to 8 percent.

“This will provide both an additional revenue stream for the state but also for the hospitals,” said Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) the Democratic Senate President Pro tem. Of course, if the federal government doesn’t approve the new Medicaid rates, the whole thing falls apart; and the legislature will have to revisit the issue again.

There is also corrected language for seniors like Linda Heston and her neighbors in Derby who are still waiting for their Renters Rebate Checks which are now about a month late.

“The Governor’s office will send those checks out. Municipalities will pay about half of that cost,  we have the other half in our budget,” said Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven), the Republican Senate President Pro tem.

“Supporting programs that serve our older and disabled citizens in Connecticut, like this renters rebate initiative, has always been and continues to be a priority for me,” Senator Tim Larson (D-East Hartford) said. “I’m pleased the Senate was able to handle this quickly so this program can continue helping thousands of citizens stay in their communities.”

It’s just two weeks since the Governor signed the budget, and his office says it is already in the red projecting a $178 million deficit for the current year.  Both the Sales Tax and the Income Tax are bringing
in less than expected.

Revenue from slot machines at the casinos is also projected to decline, as receipts from the the new, higher cigarette tax.  Added Fasano, “If you have some red ink now and you don’t tackle the issue you’re spending at a rate that cannot be supported by the budget, so you need to come back and pull in some of the reigns so you don’t amplify the deficit.”

Translation;  they may have to come back and make corrections again possibly even before the next legislative session starts in February.

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