HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Republican lawmakers are calling on Connecticut's Democratic governor to reveal the details of his state budget's savings.
Sen. Len Fasano, Senate Republican leader, and Sen. Kevin Witkos, Senate deputy Republican president pro tempore, raised concerns on Thursday about Gov. Ned Lamont's $450,000,000 in state employee savings.
The senators said alleged pension and health care savings in the state budget bill has not been officially agreed to yet by state union leadership.
“Show us the money, Gov. Lamont,” Fasano said. “Show us the $450,000,000. We have repeatedly asked for details on exactly how this nearly half a billion dollars is saved. We have heard crickets in response. Gov. Lamont promised that the budget numbers would add up. He is bound by the Connecticut Constitution to have a budget that balances. To us, it is looking pretty clear that this one doesn’t. Not even close. How is that an ‘honest’ budget? How is that being truthful and transparent with the people of Connecticut?”
Witkos said he just wants Lamont to live up to his word.
“It’s a simple question: Do the numbers in this budget bill add up?" he asked. "If so, where is the evidence? If not, then this budget is out of balance by hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Both senators referenced Lamont's Jan. 9 speech in which he said "no more funny math or budgetary gamesmanship."
Fasano said the money represents a budget hole based on an assumption that Republicans and Democrats will agree to a change in a pension funding proposal.
In response, Gov. Lamont highlighted the savings in this budget, saying “we have $365 million in savings in the first year.”
He went on to say they’ve taken care of the teacher’s pension fund which was severely at risk.
Lamont said he will make sure the teachers’ pension and state employee pension “is solvent for the long term, without further burdening taxpayers.”
Another part of savings he highlighted was the healthcare cost savings with state employees, saying “we’ve already achieved $50 million in state employee healthcare savings.”
Next year, Lamont said he will begin conversations with state employees and hospitals, “and will be able to achieve $90 to $100 million in savings in healthcare.”
He said the reforms represent real and significant savings for taxpayers.
“We are going to be able to get this done,” Lamont said.
More on the state budget can be read here.