One, Mr. Lamont in the interview refers to this year’s bipartisan budget as a ‘lousy’ plan. A ‘lousy’ budget? This budget helped protect vulnerable seniors by restoring funding to the Medicare Savings Program. I guess he thinks that’s ‘lousy’? This budget maintained municipal aid to protect students and taxpayers. Apparently, that’s ‘lousy’ too? This budget increased funding for Connecticut veterans’ medical care. ‘Lousy’, according to Mr. Lamont. The budget reserve fund will receive a $940 million deposit, and this current fiscal year is projected to end in a surplus to the tune of $100 million. And oh, by the way, this budget, thanks to Republican input, did not increase taxes. Perhaps, to Mr. Lamont, the lack of tax hikes is the ‘lousy’ part of it?
Two, Mr. Lamont says Connecticut should use its purchasing power like New Jersey has done with pharmacy benefits managers. Mr. Lamont may be unaware that Connecticut currently has a pharmacy benefits manager where we put out a competitive bid for the lowest cost possible. Our pharmacy program is already extremely lean. The Health Containment Cost Committee has reduced our pharmacy cost growth in line with national trends by managing this program competitively.
Three, Mr. Lamont states that money can be saved by helping keep more seniors out of nursing homes. He may be uninformed that over the past two years, Republicans have shielded “Aging in Place” programs from reductions that have been recommended or unilaterally enacted by our current governor.
Four, Mr. Lamont cites ‘pensions and the structural deficit’ as his areas of focus. What is he even talking about? He has already sided with the state employee unions, therefore there will be no improvement to state union employee pension contributions. Some state employees only pay 1.5% of their salary to their pension, state employees only contribute 3% for 3 years to get retiree healthcare for them and their spouse for life. These are just two among many egregious examples -- is he going to fight to change any of that?
Five, Mr. Lamont wants to use Connecticut State Lottery money to reduce our pension fund liabilities. Does he know that the lottery contributes over $350 million annually to the state’s General Fund, and does he know that this money supports expenditures like Education Cost Savings grants? Is he proposing to eliminate that income stream from our General Fund?
Six, Mr. Lamont would tax tractor-trailer trucks coming in and out of the state by electronic tolling, which he says “would bring in $100 million.” Where did the $100 million figure come from? In Rhode Island, they are anticipating net revenue of $121.8 million, but that is over a 5-year period. That results in $24.36 million in revenue a year. Lamont’s pie-in-the-sky $100 million number is pure fiction.