House Passes State Budget

 State Representatives Phil Young (D-120th) and Joseph Gresko (D-121st) are thrilled that the budget has passed and anticipate that it will have a positive impact in Stratford.

The Connecticut House of Representatives has approved the state budget for the next two years.

“This comprehensive budget heavily invests in Stratford as well as other towns and cities around the state,” said Rep. Young. “The agreed upon budget was able to provide much needed funds to institutions without raising taxes or dipping into the rainy-day fund. It was an excellent achievement that focuses on the present while simultaneously prepping for the future.”

“This fiscally responsible budget pays down long-term debt and keeps our robust rainy-day fund while providing middle class tax relief in the form of an increased Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Rep. Gresko. “The investment in Stratford’s Education Cost Sharing formula and increase in town aid means our community will continue to receive the funds it needs to thrive.”

The $46.4 billion budget, an agreement worked out between Governor Lamont and the Democratic majority, will increase funding for municipalities, nonprofit organizations and working families. The budget also contains additional funding for institutions impacted by the pandemic, such as hospitals, local health departments, and tourist destinations.

Below is a breakdown of some of the provisions included in the budget:

Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses
Certain businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and bars are permitted to keep 13.6% of the 7.35% sales tax they collect on sales of meals and beverages for Fiscal Year 2022. This tax relief will be beneficial to local businesses that suffered during the pandemic.

Through the budget, financial relief will be provided to culture-based institutions, such as museums, art centers, and tourist hotspots. Similarly, the admissions tax has been eliminated for entertainment venues.

The budget also increases the state’s earned income tax credit to 30.5% of the federal credit. This will provide tax credit for qualifying low-income working families with children.

Finally, the budget expands state income tax exemptions for seniors on social security and pension.

No Tax Increases
The budget does not include any new taxes or tax increases on increases on gasoline, insurance policies, or large Connecticut households.

Support for Our Communities
Hospitals, local health departments and nonprofits were allocated additional funding to ensure that they have resources necessary to combat any public health emergency in the future.

Additionally, state agencies will be given the tools to reopen safely, allowing them to serve Connecticut’s residents to the best of their ability.

Finally, because of an expansion, 40,000 residents now have access to affordable healthcare.

Financial Stability in the State’s Future
Connecticut did not have to utilize any of the $3.5 billion in the Rainy-Day Fund. The state is able to maintain one of the largest Rainy-Day funds per capita in the country. The balance of the fund has allowed the state to keep interest rates low on debt service and allows for the growth continued growth to our state bond cap. These factors have led to Connecticut’s first credit upgrade in nearly two decades.

Jumpstarting the Economy
There is a great amount of investment that aims to resurrect the Connecticut economy– the budget includes funding for debt free college and workforce training programs. Funds will also be allocated to the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) and to minority-owned businesses around the state. These provisions were included to bolster the state’s economy while promoting equitable business practices.

The 2021 Legislative Session ended June 9.

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