Public Policy Updates

General Assembly Convenes 2014 Session: Governor Unvevils FY 15 Midterm Budget Revisions

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, Governor Malloy unveiled his $19 billion midterm budget proposal for FY 2015, officially kicking off the start of the 2014 legislative session one day late due to a snow delay. 

The revised budget proposal is $8.1 million under the spending cap, and represents a Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2015 budget increase of 2.3 percent.  It also includes $445 million in new and increased bond authorizations.  Of this, the Governor has included an additional $30 million for the Nonprofit Grant Program (bringing the total to $50 million).

According to the Governor’s budget office, if spending is kept at 2.8 percent in 2016 and 2017, and revenues are sustained, that there will be no deficits in the out years.  This is a vast departure from the revenue and current services estimates that were presented in November and January, which predicted a $1 billion deficit in each of those years.

The budget revisions include a newfound budget “surplus” of $500+ million, derived largely from the 2013 bull stock market (causing a spike in capital gains revenue) and a successful tax amnesty program. 

The cornerstone of the Governor’s proposal calls for using the budget surplus to: 

  • pay down state debt ($100 million)
  • refill the Rainy Day fund ($272.6 million)
  • provide tax relief ($155 million)

Budget hearings will begin in the Appropriations Committee for each affected agency on February 13, 2014 and will continue through February 22, 2014

 

CCPA HIGHLIGHTS OF INTEREST

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • Reduce funding for safe homes, group homes and short term assessment and respite programs  by $3,412,728 to reflect reduced utilization and the development of alternative community based services
  • Reduce state expenditures for medically necessary residential stays in partnership with the Office of Health Care Advocate by $1,350,000
  • Reduce costs by $1,032,084 to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School by no longer supporting fuel cell technology that has reached the end of its useful life
  • Reduce overtime costs by  $858,279 by utilizing sixteen full-time equivalent Social Work Case Aides to transport clients
  • Re-estimate Caseload Driven and Other Expenditures to reflect updated expenditure projections for out-of-home care (adoption, subsidized guardianship, foster care, residential and no-nexus special education) and individualized payments; and revised cost estimates for Other Expenses and Workers' Compensation Claims, for a total adjustment of $ -8,229,513
  • Annualize Operating Costs of Pueblo Unit. A secure facility for juvenile justice involved adolescent girls, operated by the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, will open in Spring 2014. 30 full time positions, 7 part time positions and related other expenses are added to annualize its operating cost, for a total adjustment of $2,631,983
  • Ensure annual federal reimbursement of $15 million by extending maintenance payments for youth entering subsidized adoption or guardianship after age sixteen, for a total adjustment of $350,000
  • Maximize Reimbursement of Solnit Center - South Campus Operating Costs: Increase Medicaid and third party reimbursement by $5.8 million a year through validation of medical necessity of court ordered placements, for a total adjustment of $150,000

 

DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES 

  • Increase Employment Opportunities and Day Services by $1,488,349 to total $224,345,696
  • No midterm adjustments to Community Residential Services
  • Autism Services: Transfer Early Childhood Autism Waiver from DSS to DDS, $1,000,000; Provide funding for Autism Waiver in Voluntary Services account, $342,436
  • Reduced Family Reunion Program by $39,400 to total allocation of 82,349 

 

DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES 

  • No midterm adjustments to Grants for Mental Health and Substance Use Services
  • Provide $3,100,000 in funding for Governor's Mental Health Initiative. $4.25 million in FY 2015, annualized at $7.25 million in FY 2016 to improve mental health services for underserved populations. This includes:
    • $250,000 dedicated to an anti-stigma campaign,
    • $1.1 million recommended under the Department of Housing for RAP vouchers, together with $1.1 million for services in DMHAS to fund 110 dedicated units of supportive housing for the DMHAS population
    • $1.75 for residential and transitional services for high risk populations, including young adults
    • $50,000 is also provided to POST for the municipal police training academy to support this training
    • Adjust caseload funding to several accounts  to reflect updated caseload estimates for the Young Adult Services, TBI Community Services and Home and Community Based Services accounts, for a total adjustment of $ -2,350,000

 

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

  • Expanded Katie Beckett Waiver for 100 additional children with severe disabilities to total just over 300 slots, $750,000 
  • Expanded CT Home Care Program for Adults with Disabilities Pilot Program to serve 50 additional adults to total 100 slot,  $600,000 
  • Reduced TANF by $4.6M to $107,458,614 
  • Reduced Husky B by $2.3M to $28,240,000 

 

OFFICE OF THE HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE

  • Add $3,212,275 in funding for the State Innovation Model (SIM). Funding is provided for 9 permanent full-time and 1.5 durational positions as well as other expenses in order to develop and implement SIM
  • Add One Position of $112,510 to act as a Mobile Utilization Coordinator in Partnership with the Department of Children and Families Technical Adjustments

 

ADDITIONAL BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

REVENUE ADJUSTMENTS

  • Providing a one-year gas and sales tax refund (derived from the newfound budget “surplus” of $500+ million)
  • Exempting clothing $50 or less from sales tax ($160 million/ 2years)
  • Exempting 50 percent of teachers’ pensions from the state income tax ($46.8 million/2 years)
  • Exempting non-prescription drugs from sales ($33.7 million/2 years)
  • Exempting municipal health care plans from the Insurance Premium Tax ($17.7 million/2 years)
  • Extending Angel Investor Tax Credit for two years (6 million/2 years)

 

BONDING

The Governor’s  FY 2015 midterm budget revisions include $445 million in new and increased bond authorizations:   

  • An additional $30 million for the Nonprofit Grant Program (bringing the total to $50 million.)
  • $10 million to finance additional school safety measures
  • $50 million additional for Urban Act grants
  • $100 million additional for Manufacturing Assistance Act
  • $60 million for capital investments by the Board of Regents for Higher Education, as detailed in the section on education
  • An additional $30 million for capital improvements for nonprofit human service providers to address unmet demand
  • $25 million for an Advanced Manufacturing fund.
  • $17.6 million for bus and rail facilities and equipment
  • $6.7 million for environmental compliance and remediation on DOT properties
  • $20 million for deep water ports

 

SPENDING

  • Provide funding to DMHAS for Governor’s Mental Health Initiative: $4.25 million in FY 2015, annualized at $7.25 million in FY 2016
  • $6.5 million to reopen the tax relief program for Elderly Renters program
  • $10 million for Department of Labor Step Up job training program
  • Expands early childhood education to the tune of $11.5 million to serve 4,000 more children by 2018
  • Add $3.2 million to fund positions to implement the State Innovation Model (SIM), for healthcare system reform under the Office of Healthcare Advocates
  • $1.1 million for 110 Rental Assistance Program certificates in the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

 

MUNICIPAL INITIATIVES

  • 2 year delay for revaluation
  • Increase the College/Hospital PILOT by $8 million
  • End the state charge to municipalities for the DMV program to block car registration by delinquent tax payers
  • $10 million for the Local Bridge Program

 

NEW INITIATIVES

Finally, the Governor has called for:

  • Increasing the minimum wage incrementally to $10.10 an hour by 2017
  • Creation of an Office of Early Childhood
  • Delaying controversial teacher evaluation and forming a task force to study the rollout of Common Core curriculum

 

To view the Governor's FY 2015 Midterm Budget Adjustments, click here.

  

If you have any questions about the abovementioned topics, please contact:

Morna Murray, President and CEO

Connecticut Community Providers Association

mmurray@ccpa-inc.org or 860-257-7909

 

CCPA Public Policy Document Archive:

CCPA 2013 Legislative Agenda

CCPA / CT Nonprofits 2012 Joint Survey results- Impact of 5 years of No Cost of Service Increases

CCPA COLA Chart:  CCPA Analysis:  Compounded COLA vs Compounded CPI vs Compounded Medical CPI  FY1987 – 2013

Descriptions of Indices Used by CCPA