Rep. Fishbein Votes Against Increasing State Budget Deficit
State Representative Craig Fishbein (R-90) today voted against legislation which restored funds for the state Medicare Savings Plan for half of the budget cycle, pointing out that it failed to address the program’s future, unbalances the present budget and creates an additional $17.8 million deficit for 2019.
The Medicare Savings Plan (MSP), a state program to help seniors and the disabled pay for Medicare coinsurance, deductibles and premiums, was reduced with passage of the bipartisan budget late last year. The program is administered to qualified individuals based on income eligibility limits. In the meantime, Governor Malloy delayed implementation of the cuts until the beginning of the next fiscal year in July.
“I am supportive of this program and its recipients but voted against this temporary fix because it increases our already ballooning state deficit and became irrelevant once Governor Malloy suspended the cuts through the end of the current fiscal year,” Rep. Fishbein said. “Adding to the state deficit without making substantial changes to offset those costs is the definition of kicking the can down the road and is not how the legislature should treat the people of our state, or manage the budget. We’re currently facing another projected $224 million deficit, and with the governor’s six month delay it made little sense to take today’s action especially considering we’ll be debating this very issue in the coming months as we wrestle with our current deficit, and projected future deficits.”
The current budget banks $17.8 million from the FY18 and carries that
money forward into FY19. By the action of the legislature today, this
carryforward was repealed.
“Eliminating the carryover alone would create at least another $17.8 million hole in our state budget,” Rep. Fishbein said. “Moving forward, I am hopeful we will be able to better anticipate such expenses and create a truly balanced budget that provides for continuation of important services while also being fiscally viable.”