Lamont Proposes Changes to Sales Tax, Pensions, Benefits

The day before delivering his budget address, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said his budget plan would include changes to the state sales tax, health benefits for state workers and retirement benefits for teachers.

Lamont presented his two-year budget plan on Wednesday to the state legislature and his office posted the governor's budget online here.

A fact sheet on the budget is posted here. 

The office has also put together a question and answer document on the budget here.

The Democrat on Tuesday outlined what he says will be structural reforms to help close a $3.7 billion budget deficit projected over the next two years.

The proposal is laid out as four key points: modernizing the sales tax base, shoring up the Teachers’ Retirement System and stabilizing annual required contribution, Streamlining the State Employees’ Retirement System, and controlling the rising cost of healthcare.

The plan will include broadening the sales tax to include streaming and other digital services and eliminating tax exemptions for things such as horse boarding, boat storage or the rental of a campsite.

His plan also would require towns or local board of educations to assume responsibility for 25 percent of teacher pensions. The governor says he also will negotiate better health care prices for state workers.

For full details, click here.

The State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) issued a statement in response to the proposal.

"State budgets now and into the future include nearly $2 billion a year in savings provided by state employee union members through three savings agreements negotiated over the past decade. By agreeing to hard wage freezes, reduced pension and healthcare benefits, higher employee contributions and higher premium share costs, our members have done far more than their fair share to improve Connecticut’s fiscal health," it read in part.

SEBAC leaders went on to say that while they will work with the Lamont administration on possible solutions, they don't want to see more put on the shoulders of state workers.

“To be clear; we will not be part of asking for still more sacrifices from state employees, who have already given so much for the people they serve.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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