Hidden deep inside the new state budget bill negotiated by Governor Dannel Malloy and Democratic legislative leaders, and approved last month by the Democrats in the General Assembly, was a provision that, once again, transferred the money that had been set aside to help school districts retrofit school buses with seat belts into the general fund.
As Wait, What? readers know, this is not the first time Governor Malloy and the Democrats have stolen the School Bus Seatbelt Account in order to make the state budget balance.
Since taking office, Malloy has reached into the special school seat belt fund four times, grabbing close to $10 million dollars.
Rather than use the funds for their intended use – to protect our children – Malloy and the Democrats simply grabbed the money to plug holes in the state budget.
This time, rather than adopt a fair and honest budget, the Democrats added Section 28 to Senate Bill 501 which “transferred” $2 million from the School Bus Seatbelt Account to the General Fund. The legislature also swept $2 million from the Seat Belt fund to address a small part of the $250 million Fiscal Year 2016 budget deficit.
Previous Wait, What articles on this issue can be found via the following links:
The Train Wreck of the Democrats’ State Budget. [Or for long-time Wait, What? readers file under – Not the Fricking School Bus Seat Belts again!] (6/3/2015)
The School Bus Seat Belt Account was created following the tragic January 2010 school bus accident on Route 84 in Hartford that killed a Rocky Hill student who was attending one of the CREC magnet schools. Following the accident, the Connecticut legislature kicked into action, passing Public Act 10-83.
The law created the Connecticut School Bus Seat Belt Account, “a separate non-lapsing account in the General Fund” and required that the funds be used to help school districts pay for the cost of equipping school buses with lap/shoulder (3-point) seat belts.
To pay for the program, the Legislature increased the cost associated with restoring a suspended driver’s license from $125 to $ 175, using the extra $50 per person to create a funding stream for the important program.
Now six years later, no school bus seat belts have been installed, thanks to the fact that Connecticut’s governor and legislature have stolen nearly $10 million from the fund.
When these elected officials come looking for support, ask them why they didn’t do more to stop this outrage.