Malloy signs budget bill, but there’s this one other thing…

mark pazniokas / ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill Tuesday that makes technical budget revisions he forced through a line-item veto, but he also raised a new complaint: The legislature improperly transferred a $2.9 million children’s health program to an account funded by assessments on the insurance industry.

“Unfortunately, I am —once again — requesting that the General Assembly take action to correct a significant flaw when they next convene,” Malloy wrote in a bill-signing statement to the General Assembly.

Transferring the program from the General Fund to the special insurance account effectively is a tax on the insurance industry, and it runs counter to state laws that restrict use of the fund to covering the state’s oversight on the industry and other limited expenses, Malloy said.

In its budget, the legislature shifted funding for the program, the Children’s Health Initiative, to the insurance account, but it failed to adopt language authorizing the insurance commissioner to cover the costs of the program, Malloy said. The program pays for lead poisoning prevention and other services.

“Without the authority to assess to cover this cost, the legislature has created a current fiscal year deficit of $2,935,769 in the fund,” Malloy wrote.

The underlying bill was a response to Malloy’s claim that the compromise budget deal struck without the direct participation of the governor or his administration was flawed, jeopardizing a plan to leverage additional federal Medicaid reimbursements through a hospital provider tax.

Legislative leaders are scheduled to meet next week to discuss whether further action on the budget is required before the General Assembly convenes its regular 2018 session in February. Malloy says the budget already is running a deficit that requires adoption of a deficit mitigation plan.

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