By SUSAN HAIGH
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC and AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to veto a newly passed bill that restored funding for a program that helps more than 100,000 seniors pay for Medicare-related expenses.
The Democrat had originally warned the General Assembly not to pass the legislation, arguing it would worsen Connecticut’s budget woes.
“This isn’t a long bill, and yet it embodies all of the bad practices that have imperiled Connecticut’s state budget for decades,” Malloy said, claiming, among other things, it double-counts savings already assumed in the state teachers’ retirement system.
Malloy was expected to receive the bill in the coming days.
State legislative leaders had originally cut $54 million from the Medicare Savings Plan to help balance the new, bipartisan $41.3 billion state budget. But that move prompted calls to lawmakers and the Department of Social Services from concerned seniors and people with disabilities who rely on the program to help pay for things such as Medicare premiums.
The Department of Social Services originally agreed to delay the planned cut temporarily. Malloy further extended it until July 1 to give legislators more time to “explore sustainable changes to the program” while ensuring that benefits would not be interrupted this fiscal year. But lawmakers pressed ahead with a vote Monday, arguing they needed to assure recipients the funding would be restored.
It’s unclear what will happen if Malloy does nix the bill. The General Assembly could try to override his veto, considering the legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 130-3 and the Senate, 32-1.
“If Gov. Malloy wants to veto it, just like he threatened with the bipartisan budget, he can have at it,” said Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, of North Haven, who denied Malloy’s claim that legislators double-counted savings. “But lawmakers have the power to override his veto and do what is right for thousands of seniors who need lawmakers to take action.”
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