- 2011 Connecticut State Legislative Update
- July 20, 2011 | Author: David A. Rose
- Law Firm: Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - Stamford Office
State of the Budget
In February, Governor Malloy introduced his first biennial budget proposal, which called for $1.5 billion in various tax increases, $1.76 billion in spending reductions and approximately $1 billion in public employee concessions. The State Budget enacted into law in May was largely reflective of the Governor’s original proposal, with $1.4 billion in tax increases (the largest in state history), about $800 million in cuts and a projected $1.6 billion in union concessions on pay and benefits over the next two years, with no layoffs. However, rank and file state employee union members rejected the concession plan. Consequently, the General Assembly was called into Special Session on June 30, 2011, to enact legislation giving the Governor temporary authority to make deeper-than-normal rescissions in appropriations in order to compensate for union concessions savings that have not materialized.
Governor’s “First Five” Program Bill Aims to Stimulate Connecticut Job Growth
The Governor’s First Five Program legislation (Public Act Number 11-86) creates significant incentives for businesses to create jobs in Connecticut. The program incentives will go to the first five businesses that each create 200 jobs in two years (fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) or invest $25 million and create 200 jobs over five years. The bill provides that the Department of Economic and Community Development may assist in securing financing for these projects. Existing tax credits are increased, with the state committing as much as $750 million in tax credits over the life of the program. Projects located in the state’s 17 target investment communities can qualify for up to 90 percent funding for their projects, while those in other municipalities may receive up to 50 percent funding. This program is available to businesses new to the state as well as those with established operations in Connecticut, so long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
Medical Liability Tort Reform Buoyed by Defeat of Bill in State Senate
Legislation that would have significantly weakened important tort reforms associated with medical liability cases (HB 6487) was defeated in the State Senate. Current Connecticut law requires that experts used in medical liability cases must be sufficiently qualified. Claims must be filed in good faith, and to ensure this, parties must file a good faith certificate from an expert with a background similar to the defendant’s that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence. HB 6487 would have expanded the types of experts permitted to provide a prelitigation opinion letter concerning evidence of medical negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit or apportionment complaint. While this bill was defeated this year due to successful last-minute lobbying, it will likely be introduced again during the 2012 session.