The Connecticut State Senate voted Tuesday on an overwhelming and bipartisan basis to financially help the estimated 1,500 federal employees who live and work in Connecticut but who have been furloughed without pay due to the ongoing federal government shutdown.
The Senate voted 32-1 in favor of House Bill 5765, “AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE FEDERAL SHUTDOWN AFFECTED EMPLOYEES LOAN PROGRAM AND PROVIDING ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.”
This bill was sponsored by all six legislative leaders from both the Democratic and Republican caucuses, and was crafted with the input and endorsement of Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Bankers Association.
“I want to thank Governor Lamont and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the legislature for their support of this legislation. This is an excellent example of the public-private partnerships that can be used to solve some of Connecticut’s most pressing issues,” said Senator Bergstein, who is the Senate Chair of the Banking Committee who brought the bill out on the floor of the Senate for debate. “As Banking Committee chairman, I applaud the civic spirit of the Connecticut banks who are providing 90% of the financial aid offered in this bill. This legislation allows federal employees to make their mortgage payments and feed their families during this time of uncertainty.”
The bill – which becomes effective immediately upon Gov. Lamont’s signature – impacts approximately 1,500 federal furloughed employees, non-furloughed employees, and furloughed employees who have been called back to work.
The new program calls for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) to guarantees loans to eligible employees from private banks. The loans are equal to $5,000 or the regular monthly take-home pay of an employee (whichever is lower), minus any unemployment the employee may be receiving.
Eligible employees may receive up to three loans, one for each 30 day period of the shutdown. Loans are interest-free for 270 days after the shutdown, and the loans must be repaid within 270 days of the end of the federal shutdown in three to six installment payments. The State of Connecticut is guaranteeing just 10% of the aggregate amount loaned.
The bill also allows (but does not require) municipalities and/or special taxing districts to offer local tax deferment programs and/or water/sewer payment deferments to federal employees affected by the shutdown.