Cross posted from Pelto’s Point at New Haven Advocate
As the details of Governor Malloy’s proposed budget are better understood; the positive and negative elements of the budget plan will continue to surface.
Overall, Malloy’s General Fund budget only increases the level of state spending by 1.8 percent, an extraordinary achievement considering the many pressures and challenges that face the state. The budget also includes some major transportation initiatives that mean when the Transportation Fund portion of the budget is added in to the total the overall state budget is proposed to grow by 2.4 percent.
Malloy resolves the $3.4 billion dollar hole in next year’s budget with about $1.9 billion in new net revenue (including additional federal aid), $420 million in net budget cuts and $1 billion in state employee concessions.
Putting aside the very real problems associated with trying to cut $1 billion from what the state spends on its employees (without massive layoffs), some portions of the proposed budget are increased while others face relatively minor to major cuts.
Over the coming weeks more of these increases and decreases will be highlighted but here are a few of the more interesting additions and cuts.
Although most municipal aid is preserved at present levels, the budget cuts $48 million by eliminating the Payment –in-Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment. This funding was provided to towns to reimburse them for a portion of the taxes they lose since businesses don’t have to pay property tax on certain machinery and equipment. It is a relatively small hit but does shift the cost of subsidizing the investment in manufacturing from the state to the local property tax payers in those towns with manufacturing companies.
At the same time, the budget adds $15 million for Tourism marketing for the state.
Among the cuts is $6 million due to the anticipated consolidation of campus settings at Southbury Training School and the closure of 5 public group homes for the developmentally disabled.
One cut that is likely to generate a lot of agitation is a proposal to cut $2 million from the monthly personal needs allowance for Medicaid residents of nursing homes, chronic disease hospitals and long term care facilities. As the law now applies, all social security payments and pension payments must be turned over to pay for their care except for $69 a month so that they can buy necessary items. The Malloy budget would change the law so that residents and patients can keep no more than $60.
Eliminating non-emergency dental services and reducing vision care services for poor adults (those who receive Medicaid) would save another $12 million
While Public Higher Education gets cut for about $70 million dollars in cuts, funding for primary and secondary education expands including $3 million more to expand enrollment at charter schools and $42 million to expand enrollment at magnet schools.
A number of changes are also made to the prison system including what appears to be the closure of another prison and an interesting $10 million reduction that the Governor’s budget describes as resulting from an “unspecified schedule change for Correction Officers and Correctional Lieutenants.”
A good detailed budget summary can be found at the Office of Fiscal Analysis – Malloy Budget Proposal.
In addition, for an alternative view of budget issues, check out a new blog by Heath Fahle at The Wonk Blog.
If you have specific questions about the budget plan, please send them along or post them in the comment section.