Connecticut lawmakers continue budget discussions [WFSB]

June 2, 2015

WFSB 3 Connecticut
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A vote was expected Monday on a state budget agreement reached over the weekend, but there was some opposition.

The two-year agreement for $40 billion between the governor and Democrats includes a number of new taxes and would also legalize keno gambling.

However, Republicans aren’t on board.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Senate Democrats said the budget raises corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy.

They also said the budget will add billions of dollars for a historic investment in the state’s infrastructure.

“Of the 4,006 bridges and structures maintained by the state, 334 are in ‘poor’ condition. Nearly a third of state maintained bridges were built prior to 1950, and just 21 percent were built since 1980. A majority of existing bridges were built with a 50-year structural design life, while those built today have a 75-year structural design life,” a press release said.

Critics said it will hurt job growth and is nothing more than a broken promise.

“It will be the final nail in the coffin for this state and for someone who has lived in this state my whole life, it is a sad day,” Connecticut Sen. Len Fasano, Republican minority leader, said. “We are on the brink of passing a disastrous, and I mean a disastrous budget.”

Not all Democrats are on board with agreement. Some are hearing from their constituents that there should not be any more new taxes.

“I am hearing from my constituents that they are worried, that they are having a tough time trying to retire here,” said State Rep. David Alexander (D-Enfield).

In the proposed budget, cities and towns will get a portion of the state sales tax for property tax relief.

“When you go door-to-door, people complain about property taxes, it’s regressive, it hits middle-class families,” said Democratic state Sen. Beth Bye.

But what it gives, it takes away and last minute details show families will lose $100 in property tax credits.

“We are talking about a budget that’s horrible, the second largest increase in Connecticut’s history,” Fasano said.

State Democrats and the governor called the plan balanced and responsible, and is one that restores cuts to some social services, but Republicans said it is a hit on everybody with $2 billion in tax hikes.

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association said it would rather see the plan thrown out than pass.

The proposed budget keeps the state sales tax flat, restores cuts to some social services programs, and gives some property tax relief.

Malloy had no appearances on Monday and Eyewitness News was told by his staff, he was not available.

However, in a press release he said “The bottom line is clear. This budget makes historic investments in transportation. We need to tackle the issue like never before, because for too long, we weren’t transforming our infrastructure – at all. This budget is good for businesses, good for our economy, and good for our quality of life. Connecticut residents deserve no less than the best statewide transportation system in America, and that’s what we plan to give them.”

On Monday night, three insurance companies spoke out and said $700 million in business taxes over two years could make them reconsider staying in Connecticut.

While a vote was expected Monday night, it appeared that taxes were such an issue that Democratic leaders weren’t bringing the budget proposal to the floor because there weren’t enough votes to pass it.

“Our overall goal is to get as close to a unanimous vote as we can – especially on our side of the aisle. We will keep doing that until we put it up on the board – if folks feel they have to vote no – they need to understand what district stands for and that’s their districts vote,” said Democratic Majority Leader State Rep. Joe Aresimowicz.

General Electric said in a statement that this budget deal would “make businesses, including our own, and citizens seriously consider whether it makes sense to continue to be located in this state.”
Aetna said the deal will “undermine the competitiveness of Connecticut-based business and will lead to an exodus of jobs and business.”

The budget agreement reached over the weekend between the governor and Senate Democrats was a redo, as the first plan included a number of taxes on services but those have been taken out.

Some have said they believe Malloy has already broken his campaign promise to not raise taxes.

This year’s legislative session adjourns at midnight Wednesday.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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